India’s bio-entrepreneurship platform, NBEC 2020 crowns 14 winners after 4 month long competition

Winning startups will take home a cumulative of over 7 Cr INR in cash prizes and investment opportunities while student-led teams stand to receive 10 lakhs in cash prizes

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New Delhi: The National Bio Entrepreneurship Competition, a nationwide platform to showcase India’s most promising bio-innovations with high impact potential in the Life Sciences and biotech domain, wrapped up recently in the Grand Finale ceremony conducted virtually. Grand Jury Chair of the Start-up Panel, Mr Nitin Deshmukh, Founding Member and Advisor, Kotak Investment Advisors and Grand Jury Chair of the Student Panel, Dr Anand Deshpande, Founder, Chairman and Managing Director, Persistent Systems, announced 11 bio entrepreneurs and 3 student-led teams as winners of NBEC 2020, the fourth edition of this prestigious competition.
Winning startups will take home a cumulative of over INR 7 crore in cash prizes and investment opportunities while student-led teams stand to receive 10 lakhs in cash prizes. The competition will also provide access to industry mentorship in tie-up with key industry leaders to all winners.
Among the winning startups is Dr Sugandhi Gopal, Carditek Medical Devices who received the Aurigene cash prize of INR 5 lakhs in the healthcare domain. Niranjan, Cyclops Medtech has won the Biocon cash prize of INR 5 lakhs in healthcare. Ravi Adgulwar, Avisa received the L’Oreal sponsored cash prize of INR 5 lakhs in personal care domain. Nikhil Das, Agdhi Tech swooped up the Ankur Seeds cash prize of INR 5 lakhs in agritech domain. Dilip Shankar, Accord Innovations won the Pfizer cash prize of INR 3.5 lakhs in healthcare. Geethanjali Radhakrishnan of Adiuvo Diagnostics won both the Anthem Biosciences and IQVIA sponsored cash prizes of INR 3 lakhs each. Dr Prerana Tomke, Nanopearl received both Novozymes and Win Foundation sponsored cash prizes worth INR 3 lakhs each, in Sustainability, Cleantech and Water & Sanitation domain. Dr Subhash Narayanan, Sascan Meditech won the Win Foundation cash prize of INR 3 lakhs in the crucial domain of maternal and child health.
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 India 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 $100,000 USD.
Additionally, Cyclops and Adiuvo were also selected for the surprise investment opportunity prize from Kotak.
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.
The winners in the student-team innovation category were Tanish T. Sridhar who won the Persistent Systems sponsored cash prize of 5 lakhs INR, Chandan Kumar Jha who won the BIRAC cash prize of INR 3 lakhs, and Abduljabbar Khan who won INR 2 lakhs in a pooled prize by K&S partners, Bioneeds and Ideaspring Capital.
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. Over the years, it has emerged as the largest and most exciting event in the Indian bio startup calendar, generating a tremendous response from India’s vibrant innovation community and an enviable geographical footprint. The trajectory of NBEC’s growth is nowhere more apparent than in industry participation. This year it chalked up 29 national and international partners with some of the biggest names in the biotech industry, from India, USA, and France.
Even though severely restricted by prevalent challenging conditions of COVID-19 pandemic, NBEC has truly set an example in its cross-country geographical reach. 3100+ registrations across 33 States/UTs including metros, Tier II and Tier III cities/towns were received for NBEC 2020. Moreover, submitted business ideas represented all sub-domains of Life Sciences, including healthcare, medical devices, drug discovery, digital health, agri-biotech, animal health, water and sanitation, renewable energy and cleantech, industrial biotech and personal care. In a year that has underlined the need for greater indigenous technologies, a platform like NBEC has assumed crucial significance in unlocking India’s vastly untapped bio entrepreneurial talent towards the common goal of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat.
Dr Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Govt of India and Chairperson, BIRAC, in a deeply inspirational message to all NBEC 2020 finalists said “The ecosystem wants you to grow bigger and become global leaders. That’s how we’ll realize our ambition of a self-reliant Aatma Nirbhar Bharat, not just for India but for greater world as well.”
NBEC’s signature Boot Camp and Mentoring Sessions that have nurtured many a rising star in India’s startup ecosystem, had a cohort of 54 startups and 19 student teams with mentorship support from scientific, investment, regulatory and legal experts. Of these 18 startups and 10 student teams were selected by the Pre-Finals Jury to pitch at the Grand Finale. The Grand Jury at the Finale consisted of eminent experts representing entire spectrum of biotech industry and investment sector.
Asking NBEC 2020 finalists to keep the biotech flag flying higher than ever before, Guest of Honour Dr Kiran Mazumdar Shaw in her Special Address said “COVID-19 has opened up a world of opportunities for the biotech world. The pandemic has in fact, seen biotech leapfrogging into the most sought-after sector by venture capitalists looking to invest. NBEC is an exciting platform to capitalize on this.”
Dr Taslimarif Saiyed, CEO & Director, C-CAMP said “For an innovation-led, knowledge-based society, efforts like NBEC are crucial because they connect academia, entrepreneurs and industry to build together a strong and dynamic ecosystem. COVID-19 has underlined how critical such an ecosystem would be for India & beyond.”