Published: 26th February 2020
These three engineers' platform can help the specially-abled and LGBTQ community get employment
The trio emerged as the grand prize winner of the Launchpad Global Start-up Business Plan Competition 'Ground Reality' held at BITS Pilani in Hyderabad. Around 300 start-ups had participated
A team of three members from different backgrounds came together and have emerged as the grand prize winner of the Launchpad Global Start-up Business Plan Competition 'Ground Reality' held at BITS Pilani, Hyderabad. The team consisting Swati Hegde, 8th Sem, Electrical and Electronics Engineering Student of Vidya Vikas Institute of Engineering and Technology, Mysuru; Nihal Konan, Data Analyst COE at Accenture; and Shridhar Hegde, 8th Sem, Computer Engineering student of MS Ramaiah University, Bengaluru are the one who have won the grand prize winner badge with Rs 1 lakh cash prize and round trip tickets to Singapore.
They have also received unlimited working space in Bangalore from IKEVA.The trio have started a unique start-up DIA. AI, (Digitally Integrated Applied Artificial Intelligence), an HR recruitment platform for diversity hiring. The startup helps to cater services to the LGBTQ community, blind, and visually impaired people. They have developed hearing aid devices for recruitment of deaf and dumb candidates and also had developed India's first braille keyboard for blind to learn programming.
Explaining about their start-up, Swati Hegde said, "DIA AI is a unique HR Recruitment platform of robust comprehensive automated conversational virtual AI Agents specifically catered for the blind, deaf/dumb, physically /mentally disabled and the LGBTQ community for diversity hiring in corporate companies. I used to work as a scribe for a blind school and had experienced the difficulty they face to get employment as well as their love towards education and excellence. I felt sad about their plight after graduation."
She further adds, "Kaveesh Gowda, Secretary of our institute once told me that If I feel something genuine about social issues, then we must do something. This inspired me to think out of the box and undertake this startup along with two other people. In future, we would be looking forward to hiring many people and make sure that our services and devices reach many deprived people who have lost hopes of building their career."
Swati who was happy about participating in the competition, said, "This competition has boosted up my confidence as I got time interact with top investors, CEO s and entrepreneurs of the country. The competition was very challenging since we had to compete with the top five best start-ups."
Nihal Konan who shared his experience said, " It feels amazing for winning the first place amongst many startups from different parts of the world. We also received a lot of positive feedback and investment opportunities from top investors in India. Overall it was a dream come true feeling for us."
Over 300 startups across the globe participated in the event. Top 10 start-ups were shortlisted among 300+ startups and 6 stepped towards grand finale held on February 16. Top 6 finalists were DIA.AI, Sporty India, Search Lives, DIME, Green Space Mobility and Indibots. The entire competition was judged based on product's, innovation, feasibility, impact and the teamwork. The event was judged by 20 top investors and entrepreneurs in India such as the very famous Angel Investor Dr Anirudha Malpani, Malpani Ventures, Almond House Ventures, Pankaj Dubey, MD and Country Head, Polaris India, Dr Nandita Sethi, Chairwoman, Telangana, Indian Women Network were few among the panel.