Three Hubballi based companies incubated at the Sandbox Startups receive DST-NIDHI funding


Bengaluru, April 17, 2018: The Sandbox Startups, a Central Government-recognized technology startups incubator, has made investments in three of its incubated companies under NIDHI-SSS funding provided by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.

The funding will help the startups incubated in the Sandbox Startups facility to graduate to the next level in terms of technology development and put them in a better position to raise funds from investors and financial institutions to further scale and grow.

The startups that received funding under the NIDHI-SSS are Freshboxx Services Pvt. Ltd., fresh produce supply chain e-commerce startup; WideMobility Mechatronics Pvt. Ltd., offering end-to-end machine vision and inspection solutions tailored for various industries; and Microchip Payments Pvt. Ltd., another Hubli-based startup that offers reliable digital payment solutions.

NIDHI-SSS (National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations-Seed Support System) is an umbrella program under the DST (Department of Science & Technology)of Government of India, for nurturing knowledge-based and technology-driven ideas and innovations into successful startups.

NIDHI-SSS provides financial assistance to startups whose products and services offer promise, and are designed to address novel problems.The funding will enable these companies to scale and advance to a position where they will be able to raise funds from angel or venture capitalists or any financial institutions. The fund will support innovative ideas to move from incubation to execution.

CEO of Sandbox Startups C M Patil said, “Most entrepreneurs struggle hard to raise the angel or seed funding during the early stages and this fund from NIDHI-SSS is like a boon for the entrepreneurs in the ecosystem.We at the Sandbox Startups are building an entrepreneurial ecosystem in non-metros. Because of our geographical location, it is more difficult for entrepreneurs here to raise funds. We are thankful to the DST for this fund allocation which would help organizations like our Sandbox Startups, a central government-recognized technology business incubator, to invest against equity and build a self-sustainable model wherein we can co-create entrepreneurial culture in our ecosystem. With this funding mechanism in place, it allows us to invite the investment firms to co-invest in the startups associated with us, which in turn will help more mission-driven entrepreneurs.”

About the companies

FreshboxxServices Pvt. Ltd.

FreshboxxServices Pvt. Ltd. caters to customers in tier II cities and operates in both B2B and B2Csegments. The company has a network of over 10,000 farmers and have experienced an exponential growth rate since it got incubated three years ago (in 2015) at the Sandbox Startups, an umbrella organization of the Deshpande Foundation.

According to Rohan Kulkarni, CEO of Freshboxx, the company’s next goal is to understand customer requirements with the help of technology. He said, “We want to enable a unified supply chain from farms to stores and our next focus will be to leverage machine learning, Artificial Intelligence and data analytics for improved decision making in understanding the needs of our customers. We are in talks with potential institutional investors to raise funds.”

Wide Mobility Mechatronics Pvt. Ltd.

Incubated in 2016 by Sandbox Startups, Wide Mobility Mechatronics provides digital scanning services to various industries like food, electronics, and automobiles. The organization provides internal inspection of products using non-destructive methods, like X-Rays, cameras and digital radiography.

ShekharBasavanna, CEO, while discussing their journey so far, talked about having strong ideas but limited understanding of customer base and business approach. “Sandbox, I would say, has first of all brought in an understanding of looking into all aspects of growing a start-up, making us realize that making a product/materializing a concept is just a part of the work done.”

Microchip Payments Pvt. Ltd.

Microchip payments Pvt. Ltd has successfully developed and patented the mobile-based payment application and point of sale device, PayEasy Mobile Payments, which enables users to make payments even without internet connectivity.This solution helps rural regions, low internet penetration areas and the MENA Region to access digital payments where internet connectivity often fails. This product gained appreciation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, DCB Bank, and others.The company is also working on Blockchain-based technologies to build authentic financial systems, NFC-based payments and ticketing systems.

Speaking about his startup journey, CEO & CTO M.FarhanuddinFiraq said, “Post demonetization, we saw that one of the major problems that people faced in making online payments was poor internet connections. We started working on this idea and were supported and incubated at Sandbox startups.” Adding further, he says, “Today, we are proud to say that we are the world’s first company to build a completely non-internet powered digital transaction mobile application and a point of sale device.”

Deshpande Foundation’s Sandbox Startups is a global incubator and accelerator that supports mission-driven for-profit ideas and provides a robust ecosystem for entrepreneurs to test their ideas and models without the fear of failure. The Sandbox Startups, located in Hubballi, Karnataka, supports impactful entrepreneurs from tier II and tier III cities with seed funding, co-working space, mentoring, network support, tech assistance, and go-to-market strategies. Sandbox Startups has incubated more than 70 startups and has supported close to 300 aspiring entrepreneurs. It entered into collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India in the year 2015–2016. Its partnership with 136 social organizations has positively impacted 1.5 million lives.

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