GeekSynergy 101

Category: GeekSynergy

IFDIC Journey

Intel & DST – Innovate for Digital India Challenge

Expedition of GeekSynergy’s AiRpaper towards making India Digital

Information to Everyone

Information plays a key role in the development of country. About 70% of the Indians live their life in rural areas. In order for India to develop, sharing of information through a well connected network is essential. But since, only 15% of the Indian population is connected to the Internet, sharing of information is seldom done for the rest. A huge investment have to be made for the development of rural areas and the use of existing infrastructure while still stretching out information to the even most remote places in the country will not only make enormous difference to the development country but equally makes it advantageous.

[link : About 70 per cent Indians live in rural areas: Census report]

Start of GeekSynergy Expedition:

At GeekSynergy, we believe that innovation with existing infrastructure will revolutionize the country. With that in mind, we started to do research on India’s powerful network “Radio”. Over the course of the research we figured out that, Radio covers 99% of the Indian population. Something that sparked in our minds was, why can’t we use Radio to transmit Digital Newspapers to citizens of the country. Especially to the rural parts of the country where the reach of news is seldom done.

Process of Developing a Product:

After we made ourselves to the Top 50 Innovate For Digital India Challenge, we were invited to the India’s prestigious management institution IIM, Ahmedabad. We had to pitch our idea to the jury in order for us to make it to the accelerator phase of the Digital India program. After the 3 days of mentoring and making changes to our business model we successfully got into the Top 20 of IFDIC.

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[Mentoring sessions at IIM, Ahmedabad]

Over the course of next two months we had to develop a working prototype of our product. At the start we had a very little idea about our business model. We had a lot confusions about customer segments. But during the three days of BootCamp leaded by André Marquis Executive Director, Lester Center for Entrepreneurship UC, Berkeley and hosted by CIIE at the College of Engineering, Pune we were able to figure out who are our customers. Throughout the three months both André Marquis and Mark Searle, Senior Fellow at UC, Berkeley mentored us on customer acquisition, Business development, product design and development. While one part of our team started to develop the prototype, other part of the team started to make customer interviews which led to an valuable pivot in our customer segment.

team members

[Team AiRpaper in CIIE, Pune(from left) – Anil Kumar M, Gowrav L, AB Sachin Anchan]

We were also mentored by Industry players Satyajit Suri (Unitus Seed Fund), Hasit Kaji (Vice President of TCS), Niranjan Deshpande (Kisan Forum), Kiran Karnik (Nasscom), Vikas Jain (Micromax Informatics). Team from Globant and Elephant design gave us a valuable design feedback regarding Application development of AiRpaper. We also had an opportunity to publicize AiRpaper through media such as NDTV.
Intel, a technology giant in collaboration with Department of Science and Technology provided equipments required by every team to develop a prototype. Also provided technical feedback through team TCS who helped us throughout the course of accelerator phase.

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[Photo : Set up of AiRpaper during the Prototype Day]

We were at the final stage of accelerator phase. Team AiRpaper was super excited as we had a chance to showcase our products to the industry giants. We had a great opportunity to explain in detail through our demos. All of them really got excited about our product.

Potential Impact:

AiRpaper is a Digital Information distribution platform that leverages the usage of unused spectrum in Radio Frequency. Radio is the old and emotional technology that citizens of India ever undergone. At Present, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is using All India Radio as a tool to reach his emotional words and development programs to all the citizens of the country. Since it is the powerful network than any other in India.

AiRpaper as a platform can be utilized in wide variety of Applications. Such as

  • Disaster management Systems:
    • All India Radio was the only source for the people to access vital information regarding weather and flood in the ongoing Chennai disaster---Mail-Today--December-04--2015-page-5 (1)
  • Digital Signage Systems – Each and      every signage boards can be updated in real time
  • Farmer’s pocket guide – Information about crops and latest agricultural techniques to the farmers
  • Educational tool – to the students and institution and so on

[Image courtesy : mail today]

Top 10 Felicitation:

Accelerator phase helped us building our prototype. For the past three months we worked hard towards development of customer segment. After all the hard work we made it to the Top 10 of IFDIC. It was a delightful moment for GeekSynergy as we were invited to the Delhi for the felicitation.

At Oberoi Hotel, we were eagerly waiting for more excitement. During the day, we pitched our idea to Greg Pearson, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing group. Later we were felicitated by Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister. It was a great moment for all of us in our lives being represented as Top 10 Innovators of the Country.

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[Team AiRpaper felicitated by Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister]

Pitching in front of Honourable President:

After the felicitation at Oberoi Hotel, we headed towards the Rashtrapati Bhavan. While we are on the way to meet President Pranab Mukherjee, we thought ourselves that this is one of the proudest moment of all our lives. We finally arrived at Rashtrapati Bhavan. We made ourselves seated at the hall waiting for his presence. The moment he showed up, everyone greeted him with ‘Namashkar’. Greg Pearson, Intel’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing group presented ‘Intel’s Coffee Booklet’ to the President. Now each team were called to present our ideas to the President. Our Heart beats started increase once the team names were called up. Not because we were frightened, it’s because we were given an opportunity to pitch our idea within a minute standing right next to the most respected person in India. After each team presented their ideas we were asked for a group photo. It is one of the Proudest moment any human being can experience in their lives.

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[Photo Courtesy : Intel & DST]

Overall it was a great learning experience through IFDIC. GeekSynergy would like to thank everyone who supported us in learning Entrepreneurship.

The Prime day…

We started the Innovate for Digital India Challenge accelerator phase with the anticipation of day when we could meet two minds who are largely responsible to put forward this bold step of making Innovate for digital India initiative, and it came at last on 30th of September 2015.

The day went as follows,

Walk through of projects:

Mrs. Debjani Ghosh, Managing Director, South Asia was here to meet the top20, all the teams exhibited their MVP to Mrs. Ghosh and her team from Intel, she was genuinely excited about the problems that are being solved by the startups. Mrs. Ghosh is a fun loving and passionate person which could be seen during her interaction with the top 20.

Even on the busy schedule they had to keep, she insisted and heard all that we had to say on how each product and idea can be a key towards a better India.

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It was a proud moment for us personally to present our product and business idea to such a passionate and energetic leader that she is.

Mentor Session:

Mr. Gaurav Dwivedi, CEO, MyGov (mygov.in) and Prof. Rajat Moona, CDAC, joined Mrs Gosh on the dais and us later in the day at College of Engineering Pune (COEP), where the conference was held. The agenda of the conference was to discuss about the Indian innovations and their impact on the country, which was webcasted live.

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The session concluded with questionnaire from the teams and from people on the social network, watching live on the webcast.

Trip to Intel:

After this session we moved to Intel, Pune office and participated in a Video Conference (VC) with Mr.Robby Swinnen, Vice President, Sales & Marketing Group- Asia Pacific and Japan.

Mr. Swinnen elaborated the approach of Intel is planning to take to help MyGov and Digital India initiative to reach the nook and corner of the country. It was quite refreshing to hear from the person who had worked in more than 6 countries across Germany, US, Singapore and so on.. how India is looked upon from the outer’s perspective.

1:1 Session:

Three teams (including our’s)  were given an opportunity for 1:1 session with Mr. Gaurav Dwivedi after the VC, the session was short and Mr. Dwivedi gave his insight about the challenges in the adoption and implementation of our project by the Government.

Mr Dwivedi and Mrs Gosh fared us good luck as they had to rush to the airport to get back to their respective corporate worlds and our day started to drift as we took a ride back to Shivaji Nagar in a Uber while the rest of the teams had a head start in the coach arranged by Intel.

It all started not with an idea but with the long friendship that existed between us..

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