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Build for Bharat initiative by ONDC, Startup India and partners concludes successfully with breakthrough ideas

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The Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), in collaboration with Startup India, Google Cloud India, Antler in India, Protean and Paytm, has successfully concluded its nationwide ‘Build for Bharat’ initiative. The initiative marked a significant milestone in crowdsourcing  innovative solutions to complex business problems in the e-commerce landscape and fostering an inclusive digital commerce ecosystem in India.

Launched on December 4, 2023, on a national scale across 50+ cities with top experts, leaders, Venture Capitalists, and incubators onboard, the hackathon concluded on May 28, 2024 with winners emerging in each category. The ‘Build for Bharat’ initiative set out to harness India’s technological and entrepreneurial prowess by attracting 27K+ participants representing startups, companies, and colleges from across the country. 

The initiative was structured around three distinct categories, each designed to address specific challenges and nurture innovative solutions.

‘NextGen Ventures’ nurturing entrepreneurial excellence: The ‘NextGen Ventures’ category aimed at accelerating venture creation on the ONDC Network specifically for early-stage and aspiring founders. Six teams — Shopeg, OmniFlo, Zepic, Upaz, DPI corp and Zceppa — emerged as winners, securing non-equity grants of up to $40,000 USD for each winning team.  Furthermore, eligible teams will receive Google Cloud credits along with an opportunity to be inducted into the Antler India Residency Program, with an equity funding of up to $250K USD. 

‘Scalable Solutions’ addressing industry challenges: The ‘Scalable Solutions’ category invited organisations and individuals to tackle friction points faced by Network Participants.  Four teams — Progmatic, Cyborg, Cydra Tech and oof, won the first prize of $7500 each, while Harentortoise and Indexvoyagers won the second prize of $3500 each. Furthermore, eligible teams will also receive Google Cloud credits. 

‘Foundation Solutions’ igniting student innovation: The ‘Foundation Solutions’ category exclusively invited college students aged 18 years and above. The winning teams demonstrated remarkable ingenuity and problem-solving skills, laying the foundation for the next generation of digital commerce innovators. Five teams — Checkfirst, Faszen Tech, Pokleaniket927248, Phoenix, and The Sentient Squad received $3000 (each winning team), while three teams — Morin, Pinpoint and Decap received second prize of $1000 (each winning team). Furthermore, eligible teams shall also receive Google Cloud credits. 

Throughout the initiative, participants had access to a wealth of resources, including mentorship from industry stalwarts, webinars, expert-led sessions, and virtual community channels facilitated by Google Cloud India. These resources were pivotal in guiding and supporting participants as they navigated the challenges and explored innovative solutions. The ‘Build for Bharat’ initiative not only fostered collaboration and ideation but also celebrated exceptional performances.

T Koshy, MD and CEO at ONDC, said, “It is incredibly heartening to witness the innovative spirit and entrepreneurial drive unleashed through the ‘Build for Bharat’ initiative. The diverse array of solutions developed by participants from across the country showcases India’s immense potential to revolutionise the growing digital commerce ecosystem. By building an environment that nurtures ideas and empowers talent, we pave the way for a more inclusive and accessible digital future for all.”

Anil Bhansali, VP Engineering & Head of India Development Centre at Google Cloud, said, “The ‘Build for Bharat’ initiative has been a resounding success, serving as a testament to the power of collaboration and the collective genius of the Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem. We are proud to have contributed our expertise and resources to this initiative, and we look forward to witnessing the transformative impact of the solutions developed during this initiative.”

Susmit Patodia, Associate Partner and Lead of Digital Public Infrastructure initiatives at Antler in India said “We are very excited to see the teams solve some of the most complex challenges on ONDC and truly supercharging the ecosystem. As one of the first VCs to go deep into ONDC, we continue to be bullish on its game-changing potential to drive e-commerce growth in India.”

Suresh Sethi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Protean eGov Technologies said “Build for Bharat hackathon has truly helped unlock Bharat’s technological and entrepreneurial capabilities. The solutions hold potential to bridge the digital divide and empower local businesses. Protean is thrilled to have played a vital part in this initiative and we look forward to supporting the change makers who have emerged from this initiative.”

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