C-CAMP’s mega startup push: Know the 14 winners of NBEC 2020 & their innovations

11 startups and 3 students have won upto INR 7.2 crore and investment opportunities in the national competition, NBEC 2020. All have now joined the C-CAMP Bengaluru's portfolio

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New Delhi: The 14 winners of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP) organized National Bio Entrepreneurship Competition (NBEC 2020) have bagged a collective INR 7.2 crore in cash prizes and investment opportunities from renowned biotech investors in India like Indian Angel Network, Kotak Private Equity, Social Alpha, 91 Springboard, Enzia Ventures and Molecular Connections. The innovations are in 8 diverse categories – healthcare, agritech, water and sanitation, sustainability, maternal and child health, medtech, personal care, and digital health.
C-CAMP, India’s premier bio innovation hub that is currently fostering 200+ bio startups across India has added these 14 to its growing portfolio of socially impactful, early-stage bio ventures for further funding, incubation and mentorship support towards accelerating development and time-to-market.
Welcoming the startups, Dr Taslimarif Saiyed, C-CAMP CEO and Director said – “Translation of exciting lab discoveries to industry-ready, comercializeable technologies will be key to advancing India’s current healthcare, agriculture and environment systems. Our innovation community is ready for it with ideas that are globally competitive. All we need now is ecosystem support and we are delighted to welcome them to the C-CAMP ecosystem.”
Dr Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Govt of India and Chairperson, BIRAC, said in her address at the Grand Finale held on Saturday, 19th December emphasized on the need for quality, not quantity. She said, “Startups must work towards getting better. Our effort is not just scaling up the ecosystem, but sustaining it. This would only happen if we have all stakeholders working together. Strength is not just in large numbers, which we have now achieved, but the quality of innovation.”
Underlining the huge field of opportunity that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown open to biotech entrepreneurs globally, Guest of Honour, Dr. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw in her Special Address said “This year has seen a surge in biotech and medtech companies due to the pandemic. Biotech has become the most sought-after sector by venture capitalists looking to invest. NBEC is an exciting platform (to attract investor attention)”.
Grand Jury Chair of the Start-up Panel and Founding Member and Advisor, Kotak Investment Advisors, Nitin Deshmukh said, “The final innovations were all top class which made deciding on winners a tough task for the Jury. But the sheer quality of ideas has kindled much enthusiasm among investors. I am happy to announce an investment opportunity with Kotak Private Equity.”
Know the winner startups and their novel products
Among the winning startups is Dr. Sugandhi Gopal, Carditek Medical Devices whose innovation is a wearable, compact, 12 lead ECG system with reusable sensors, and in-built High frequency ECG for augmenting accuracy and early detection of cardiac disease. She received the Aurigene cash prize of 5 lakhs INR in healthcare domain. Carditek was also selected for investment opportunities from Molecular Connections and Indian Angel Network.
Niranjan Subbarao, Cyclops Medtech has developed an eye-tracking based early-stage diagnosis and therapy for neuro vestibular disorders like vertigo, migraine, epilepsy, concussion, ADHD etc. He won the Biocon cash prize of 5 lakhs INR in healthcare besides being selected for investment opportunities from Enzia Ventures, Indian Angel Network and Molecular Connections. Cyclops has also won the surprise investment opportunity of an undisclosed amount from Kotak Private Equity.
Ravi Adgulwar, Avisa’s technology is a microbe-derived, organic alternative to harmful and toxic metalloid UV blockers and nano-minerals in sunscreen. He has developed the production of natural melanin from a fungal strain of Gliocephalotrichum simplex to replace artificial metallic and nano-mineral additives. He won the L’Oreal cash prize of 5 lakhs INR in personal care domain.
Nikhil Das, Agdhi Tech has developed a digitally powered Seed Classifier and Quality Analyzer. He won big at NBEC swooping up the Ankur Seeds cash prize of 5 lakhs INR in agritech domain. He was also selected for investment opportunities from Sangam Ventures and 91 Springboard and Syndicate Committee.
Dilip Shankar, Accord Innovations won the Pfizer cash prize of 3.5 lakhs INR in healthcare for “AKICare” a device to monitor kidney function on real-time, preventing avoidable hospital acquired kidney injury & deaths in ICU.
Geethanjali Radhakrishnan, Adiuvo Diagnostics has developed a rapid, label-free microbiome detection device for complex wounds combining multispectral imaging and machine learning. Her product, called IlluminateTM holds tremendous potential for wound healing in patients with non-communicable diseases like diabetes. She won both the Anthem Biosciences and IQVIA sponsored cash prizes of 3 lakhs INR each and a surprise investment opportunity of an undisclosed amount from Kotak.
Dr Prerana Tomke, Nanopearl received both Novozymes and Win Foundation sponsored cash prizes worth 3 lakhs INR each, in Sustainability, Clean technology and Water & Sanitation domain. Her product is a water purification solution to provide safe water by an eco-friendly-technology based on nano-engineered material with metallic nano-particles in crystal form to remove microbes and heavy metals. She was also selected for investment opportunities from Enzia Ventures and Sangam Ventures.
Dr Subhash Narayanan, Sascan Meditech won the Win Foundation cash prize of 3 lakhs INR in the crucial domain of maternal and child health for Cerviscan – a clinically applicable medtech device for early detection of cervical cancers and biopsy guidance.
Kalyani Shinde, Godaam Innovations was selected for investment opportunities from Social Alpha and 91 Springboard and Syndicate Committee. She works to prevent wild fluctuations in onion prices by converting traditional onion warehouses to smart warehouses that reduce post-harvest wastage and helps farmers make informed decisions.
Srishti Batra, Qzense Labs was selected for investment opportunity by Indian Angel Network and 91 Springboard and Syndicate Committee for transforming fresh food supply chain with data analytics that help detect food spoilage and optimizes shelf lives for better economics.
Sanjiv Sambandan won the Health Venture Digital Health Boot Camp participation award and also took home the surprise C-CAMP special prize as a cutting-edge, emergent technology for his edible nano-electronic pills for Diagnostics of the Gastro-Intestinal Tract. His solution could be where endoscopy is headed in the future.
A look at the student innovators 
The winners in the student-team innovation category were Tanish T. Sridhar, CMRIT, Bengaluru who won the Persistent Systems sponsored cash prize of 5 lakhs INR, Chandan Kumar Jha, IIT Gandhinagar, who won the BIRAC cash prize of 3 lakhs INR, and Abduljabbar Khan, KLS Gogte Institute of Technology, Belagavi, Karnataka who won 2 lakhs INR in a pooled prize by K&S partners, Bioneeds and Ideaspring Capital.
Tanish’s technology is a modular sewage treatment plant for villages and apartments. Chandan is developing an intelligent, virtual hand rehabilitation and assessment system for recovering stroke patients. Abdul’s innovation is a compact electromechanical device to curtail residual ridge resorption in cases of gum-related dental issues.
Agdhi Tech and Nanopearl were selected for the Sangam Ventures investment opportunity of $300,000 USD. Cyclops and Nanopearl were selected for the Enzia Ventures investment opportunity of $100,000 USD. Qzense, Cyclops and Carditek were selected for the Indian Angel Network investment opportunity of $100,000 USD. Cyclops and Carditek were selected for the Molecular Connections investment opportunity of $100,000 USD. Godaam Innovations was selected for the Social Alpha investment opportunity of $100,000 USD. Qzense, Agdhi Tech and Godaam Innovations were also selected for the 91 Springboard and Syndicate Committee investment opportunity of an undisclosed amount. Additionally, Cyclops and Adiuvo were selected for the surprise investment opportunity prize from Kotak.
NBEC, a nationwide platform to showcase India’s most promising bio innovations in the Life Sciences and biotech domain, wrapped up in the Grand Finale ceremony conducted virtually on 19th December. Grand Jury Chair of the Start-up Panel, Mr. Nitin Deshmukh, and Grand Jury Chair of the Student Panel, Dr. Anand Deshpande, Founder, Chairman and Managing Director, Persistent Systems, adjudged 11 bio entrepreneurs and 3 student-led teams as winners of NBEC 2020, the fourth edition of this prestigious competition. 3100+ business ideas were received for NBEC #4 from 33 States & Union Territories.
NBEC is organized every year by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms under the BIRAC Regional Entrepreneurship Centre (BREC), a C-CAMP –BIRAC joint initiative, to attract, identify and nurture year game-changing deep science driven ideas with business potential.