NBEC 2019 evolution as a maturing ecosystem: Unlocking bio-entrepreneurship talent across India

NBEC 2019 evolution as a maturing ecosystem: Unlocking bio-entrepreneurship talent across India

The National Bio Entrepreneurship Competition (NBEC), a nationwide platform for bio-entrepreneurs across India to showcase their high impact, deep tech business ideas in the Life Sciences & biotech domain culminated on 14 Dec 2019 with the announcement of winners after four months of intense competition. NBEC 2019, the third in its series, has been conducted by the Centre for Cellular And Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP) under the BIRAC Regional Entrepreneurship Centre (BREC), a joint initiative of C-CAMP and BIRAC. Eleven bio entrepreneurs in categories as diverse as water & sanitation and maternal & child health to digital health, medical devices, and agri-biotechnology were declared winners in the presence of esteemed Chief Guest and Grand Jury member, Dr Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, CMD, Biocon, and investment pundit, Mr Nitin Deshmukh, CEO and Founding Member, Kotak Investment Advisors as Chair of Grand Jury. A cumulative INR 3 crore in cash prizes and investment opportunities, as well as an exclusive scope for mentorship from key industry leaders, have been awarded at the glittering ceremony in Bengaluru.

Divanshu, Alcheme, was awarded the WIN Foundation cash prize of INR 7.5 Lakhs as well as their investment opportunity of INR 30 Lakhs in the water & sanitation category. Mayur Shetty, Blackfrog Technologies Pvt. Ltd. received the WIN Foundation cash prize of INR 7.5 Lakhs and also the WIN Foundation investment opportunity of INR 30 Lakhs in the maternal & child health category. Blackfrog also swooped up the Social Alpha investment opportunity of USD 100,000, for their astounding potential for social impact. Ragul Paramasivam, Chimertech Innovations LLP, won the Ankur Seeds award of INR 5 Lakhs in the agri-biotechnology category as well as the ID capital investment opportunity of USD 100,000 as the top agri-biotechnology, food & nutraceuticals entrepreneur. Shomeshwar Singh, 4S Medical Research Pvt. Ltd., was awarded the Digital Health cash prize of INR 5 lakhs sponsored by HealthVenture, USA. Prakhar Jain, MicroX Labs won the Applied Materials India award of INR 5 Lakhs in medtech innovation category. Rajesh Nandipati, Oncosimis Biotech Pvt. Ltd., received the INR 5 Lakhs Excellence Prize sponsored by Biocon. Asawari Kane, PadCare Labs, was awarded the Novozymes Excellence Prize of INR 3 Lakhs. The Pfizer Entrepreneurship Award of INR 3.5 Lakhs went to Arindam Ghatak, Biomoneta. Halagappa Eswarappa Shashidhar, Cultiva AgriTech received the Mahyco cash prize of INR 1 Lakh in Agri-Biotechnology. An investment opportunity of $75,000 from HealthVenture, USA, in Digital Health was announced for Rohit Hiwale, Morphle Technologies Private Limited. And, a special prize from C-CAMP’s end was awarded to Shilpa Malik, Bioscan Research.

Dr. Renu Swarup, Secretary DBT, Government of India, and Chairperson, BIRAC in a congratulatory message for the winners as well as the larger 65 strong CCAMP NBEC 2019 portfolio, said,  “The purpose of this competition is to attract innovators, potential entrepreneurs who have in them a risk-taking appetite to try and convert an innovative idea to an impactful entrepreneurship venture. NBEC 2019 has witnessed 3000 applications, a number rising every year, clearly indicative of a maturing ecosystem. The fact that applications have been received from places like Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Daman & Diu show that we have been able to enthuse young researchers and innovators across India to come forward with their entrepreneurship ideas, thanks to programs such as this initiated by C-CAMP. Together let us aim for India to be recognised as the number one bio startup nation in the world.”

Chief Guest and Grand Jury member, Dr Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, in her message, exhorted entrepreneurs to see their innovation from idea through product stage. “I have deep gratitude to C-CAMP for having brought a platform as unique as NBEC to the Indian bio entrepreneurship arena. NBEC is about celebrating new ideas and the potential impact these ideas can make to society. But entrepreneurship is about how you monetise an idea and take it to market. So don’t wait for the perfect idea. Wait for that one good idea. Shape its commercialisation journey and scale it up. Because impact and true recognition lie only in scaling.”

A cohort of 65 startups gleaned from ~3000 registrations across 33 States/UTs in India participated in a two day Boot Camp and Mentoring Sessions with mentors from CIIE - IIM Ahmedabad before the finals. Eighteen of these were selected by a Jury on December 13th to pitch at the Grand Finale. The Grand Jury at the Finale consisted of eminent experts representing the entire spectrum of the biotech industry and investment sector. Apart from the Chief Guest, the dignitaries present included Mr Paresh Vora, Director - India operations, WIN Foundation; Dr Bhuvaneswari Sridhar, Head, API Technology Group, Pfizer; Dr Bharat Char, Chief Science Officer, Mahyco Seeds; Mr Srikanth Prabhu, Portfolio and Innovation, Social Alpha; Mr Nitin Deshmukh, CEO and Founding Member, Kotak Investment Advisors; Mr Vipul Patel, Vice President Investments, CIIE, CO; Mr Abhinav Mehra, Vice President, ID Capital; Dr Ashwin Kashikar, General Manager, R&D, Ankur Seeds; Dr Sonjoy Mukherjee, General Manager - HyClone & Scientific initiatives, GE South Asia, GE; Ms Sowmya Shresth, OD Partner & PO Manager India, Novozymes; Dr Arvind Ranganathan, HealthVenture; and Dr Taslimarif Saiyed, CEO and Director, C-CAMP.

The competition [https://www.nationalbioentrepreneurship.in/events/nbec2019], in its third edition, had 17 industry partners including international partners from the USA, France and Singapore on board, namely WIN Foundation, Ankur Seeds, Applied Materials India, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Biocon, CIIE – IIM Ahmedabad, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), CNBC-TV18 Young Turks, GE, HealthVenture - USA, Hello Tomorrow, ID Capital, Kotak Private Equity, Mahyco, Novozymes, Pfizer, and Social Alpha.

Dr. Taslimarif Saiyed, CEO & Director, C-CAMP said on occasion, “CCAMP believes that through fostering deep science innovations, we have an opportunity to make a major impact in India’s growth. CCAMP is dedicated to play this vital role and looks forward to working together with you towards building tomorrow’s innovations from India.”