Goa – From Deserted Beaches to Crowded Meeting Rooms

I spent 9 days in Goa helping run the first of our three Village Capital workshops. Most people go to Goa to relax, eat good food, and get away from work; so pretty much the exact opposite of my experience. The day I did have off, I explored a deserted beach area that was pretty much closed for monsoon season. Although everything was covered in tarp, there was no one around – not a common occurrence in India.

The workshop itself consisted of 12 startups that are focusing on energy, health, agriculture and distributions challenged for underserved areas. After a long application and evaluation process (you can read a little more about that here) we are now in the midst of 3 workshops to support the companies and help them grow. This first workshop, the teams worked on things like communicating their value proposition, fine-tuning their BMC, building financial models to determine their profitability and funding gap, and collaboratively discussed strengths and concerns of each business.We also ran a mentor session where they met with anywhere from 7-12 mentors. It was a busy 5 days to say the least, but also extremely exciting and rewarding to get to work with such innovative startups! Now I’m back in Ahmedabad, planning for the next workshop in July, and struggling to not melt to death. 

Instead of the normal “Indian Fact” which was going to be about Goans being devoutly Catholic due to Portuguese colonization and how they put giant Jesus signs on their houses/buses/fences, here are the 12 companies in the cohort, with a sentence about what they do!

1. Bodhi Health Education leverages low cost mobile technology coupled with eLearning to create scalable, high quality training solution for the bottom of pyramid health workers.

2. Edustbin works to channel e-waste using an innovative and economically viable collection model, followed by environment friendly recycling.

3. Karabi Software simplifies critical process of rural data, capturing from the field in real time and thus enabling organizations to make informed decisions.

4. Krishi Star works to lift small farmers out of poverty by creating a food brand that represents them and setting up farmer-owned food manufacturing capacity to supply this brand.

5. MicroX Labs develops lab-on-a-chip based miniaturized point-of-care medical diagnostic devices, currently focusing on Complete Blood Count (CBC) chips, in order to provide affordable, accessible and quality diagnostic solutions.

6. Parvata Foods is building a value chain of organic produce from Sikkim with an aim to elevate the living standard of the farmers.

7. Pulse Savings is a mobile-based commitment savings tool that enables the poor to save money when and where they shop.

8. Rural Spark Energy India is growing the next energy network, smartly distributed, viable and sustainable, by facilitating and empowering people and local systems to emerge.

9. Sickle Innovations develops smart farming solutions for small farmers. Currently they have made a low cost, handhel, cotton harvesting machine.

10. Suma Agro works toward revitalizing the physical, chemical, and biological processes which is essential for sustainable agriculture production.

11. Uber Diagnostics provides affordable healthcare diagnostics through a mobile application and data analytics.

12. Urjas Energy Solutions is a cleantech company focused on biomass to energy and solar applications.

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