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Embarking on a transformative journey through six chapters, we traverse India's landscape, exploring pioneering startups and their revolutionary...

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#BestOf2023: 8 Startups That Ruled the Year With Their Innovations & Impact

From JioVio Healthcare to Goodfellows, The Better India's 'Startups of the Year' are characterised by transformative missions, ingenious innovation and inspiring impact.

#BestOf2023: 8 Startups That Ruled the Year With Their Innovations & Impact

In 2023, a wave of visionary startups emerged, driven by a powerful mission — to safeguard our planet, uplift rural communities, and pioneer breakthroughs in healthcare. They sparked a new era of hope and progress, where innovation became a beacon of positive change for a brighter future.

The Better India brings to you a list of impactful startups that owned the year!

1. JioVio Healthcare

Madhurai-based Senthil was an electronics and communications engineer who has worked with companies like Samsung and Qualcomm for almost a decade. However, when his sister got pregnant, he realised that there existed a huge healthcare gap for pregnant women in rural India.

In rural areas, about 54 percent of mothers attend the recommended visits, compared to 68.1 per cent in urban areas. To address this gap, he started JioVio Healthcare, an IoT-based maternal healthcare startup that provides early risk monitoring services at home.

Since 2019, the startup has catered to more than 30 lakh mothers from 14,328 villages in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Kerala. Through their 1,000-day programme, he has helped more than 7,000 high-risk pregnancies so far.

JioVio healthcare has helped more than 30 lakh mothers

2. Dharaksha Ecosolutions

While thermocol is a known guest at birthday parties, school exhibitions and craft classes, not many know the harmful effects it has on the environment. Arpit Dhupar, a 30-year-old IIT graduate and engineer from Delhi is attempting to change this reality with a new biodegradable material.

With his startup Dharaksha Ecosolutions, he innovated biodegradable packaging material out of crop stubble waste. Each piece of the material produced, says Dhupar, “prevents 250 tonnes of thermocol from going into landfills”.

He has procured over 250 tonnes of paddy stubble from 100 acres of farms in Punjab and Haryana, wherein the farmers are paid Rs 2,500 per acre.

Daraksha Ecosytems have procured 250 tonnes of paddy stubble

3. Banyan Nation

Plastic waste has been a mounting problem for many growing nations. While many startups in India have been bringing innovative alternatives to plastic, there is a Hyderabad-based startup that converts produce premium-quality recycled polyolefin plastics (PE and PP). This can be used in quality packaging applications such as shampoo, detergent and lotion bottles.

Co-founded by Mani Vajipey and Raj Madangopal, it was at Columbia Business School, where Mani, who was pursuing an MBA, came up with the idea for Banyan Nation. He found that except for water bottles, he knew that most plastic waste in India was downcycled.

The startup has produced over 300 million FMCG bottles from recycled plastic in the past year for major clients like Hindustan Unilever, Shell, HPCL and Reckitt. They also recycle 1,000-1,200 tonnes of plastic waste per month at its recycling facility in Hyderabad.

The startup has produced over 300 million FMCG bottles from recycled plastic in the past year.

4. AgriVijay

Vimal realised that while there are innovations available, there is no space for farmers to understand how the technology works and buy them. To bridge this gap, the idea of AgriVijay was born.

Additionally, he wanted to increase the income of farms and farmers by cutting down dependency on expensive fossil fuel products and preventing climate change. Based out of Pune, the startup is the first marketplace of renewable energy products for farmers and rural households.

AgriVijay offers more than 200 types of green energy types of equipment — including solar water pumps solar inverters, biogas digesters, solar water heaters, solar cold storage, and solar dryers.

AgriVijay offers more than 200 types of green energy types of equipment.

5. Karya

Specialised AI, such as Chat GPT, primarily uses English due to the abundance of text and audio data available. However, there is a growing need for databases containing languages spoken in India other than English.

Tapping this need, Manu Chopra started ‘Karya’ which collects and sells such data in different languages to its clients. The approach to the collection of data is what sets the startup apart. After covering its costs, the profits from these sales are channelled directly into the accounts of the workers, Manu informs.

These workers are from rural India and the startup is giving them a chance to earn a second income by working from their homes. With only three years in business, the company has made a substantial impact. So far, they have worked with 32,000 people from rural Indian in 22 states such as Maharastra, Karnataka, and Gujarat.

So far, they have worked with 32,000 people from rural Indian in 22 states.

6. Gud Mom

Sharmila Jain’s list of achievements encompasses years of dedicated efforts to bring nutrition to rural India, establishing a non-profit organisation, and creating her millet-based brand ‘Gud Mom’.

The catalyst behind all these endeavours was a pivotal NCRB report that forever altered her perspective. The report, released in 2006, revealed a distressing statistic — 17,060 farmers in the country died by suicide, with 1,427 cases reported in Maharashtra alone.

This revelation profoundly affected Sharmila, a successful lawyer in Canada. Motivated by a desire to make a positive impact on the lives of farmers, she decided to return home and contribute to their well-being.

Through her NGO and startup, Sharmila has positively impacted over 1.5 lakh farmers across five states, helping them generate a consistent income. She imparts knowledge on various avenues for making and saving money — including cultivating exotic vegetables like zucchini and practising water conservation through the cultivation of millets such as ragi, jowar, and proso millet.

 Sharmila has positively impacted over 1.5 lakh farmers across five states

7. The Goodfellows

Backed by Ratan Tata and founded by Shantanu Naidu along with Niki Thakur and Gargi Sandu, the startup serves as a safe haven for senior citizens. The trio, inspired by their love for spending time with their grandparents, aimed to create something special for seniors, affectionately referring to them as ‘Grandpals’.

Established in 2021, the company’s primary goal is to offer companionship and various forms of support to senior citizens. The young team members, who act as companions, are affectionately called Goodfellows.

With over 65 Goodfellows between the ages of 18 and 24 as part of the team, and impacting the lives of over 400 Grandpals, the trio envisions a future filled with hope.

With over 65 Goodfellows between the ages of 18 and 24 as part of the team, and impacting the lives of over 400 Grandpals, the trio envisions a future filled with hope.

8. Bihart

When Sumati Jalan left her home in Bihar, she faced the typical stereotypes that people from the state often encounter. She frequently heard comments suggesting that she didn’t ‘look’ Bihari in a complimentary way.

Motivated by a desire to challenge these stereotypes and contribute positively to her home state, Sumati returned and founded ‘Bihart’. Currently, she collaborates with 15 full-time employees, along with a network of 18 artisans and 12 weavers.

Together, they create a range of products including kurtis, crop tops, tote bags featuring applique figurines, handmade Sujani dolls, and extra weft cushions.

Bihart has achieved a monthly sales revenue of Rs 1.5 lakh, and the brand has established its presence in stores located in Goa, Bengaluru, Delhi, Udaipur, and Rishikesh. The majority of sales are concentrated in cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Goa.

 ‘Bihart’ collaborates with 15 full-time employees, along with a network of 18 artisans and 12 weavers.

(Edited by Pranita Bhat)

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