Prosus SICA nationwide search for India’s most innovative assistive tech startups reaches final stage

Prosus SICA nationwide search for India’s most innovative assistive tech startups reaches final stage

  • Jury for Prosus Social Impact Challenge for Accessibility (SICA) assesses top ten startups to identify winners in the final round
  • Top three startups to share a grant of INR 5,500,000 with two more to receive mentorship
  • Top startups to be announced on 2 December 2021 on the eve of International Day of Persons with Disabilities

New Delhi, November 26, 2021: This year’s nationwide search for India’s most innovative startups advancing assistive technology (AT) to improve the lives of persons with disabilities has reached the final stage, with ten shortlisted startups competing in the final round of the Prosus SICA initiative this week.

Created last year, Prosus SICA sets a high bar for entry with startups needing to have developed a prototype and completed user testing of their innovation. This year’s expert jury - comprised of technical experts and clinicians, disability NGOs, policy experts and investors - reviewed more than 170 applications from startups across India in order to identify the final ten.

The startups were evaluated on criteria of product readiness, market need, financial sustainability, business scalability, and future roadmap. In their deliberations the jury paid special attention to user-friendliness of the products outside of controlled therapy and rehabilitation sessions. In addition to applications from startups concentrating on areas like mobility, access and medical screening, the jury observed the emergence of Geriatric AT and Robotics as upcoming key trends in India’s AT ecosystem with significant representation in SICA 2021.

Following the final round, the jury will now select the top three startups, with the top startup to receive INR 2,500,000, and the first and second runners-up to receive INR 1,800,000 and INR 1,200,000, respectively. The grants are intended to help the startups to scale and expand their businesses so more persons with disabilities can benefit and to help develop the AT ecosystem.

The top five startups – which will be revealed on 2 December 2021 on the eve of International Day of Persons with Disabilities - will also be inducted into the Prosus SICA mentorship programme. This facilitates their access to global strategic advisors from Prosus, technical advisors from WHO, AT sector experts from Social Alpha, and knowledge and partnerships specialists from Startup India, Invest India. Additionally, eligible startups may get follow-on funding and an opportunity to incubate with Social Alpha.

Sehraj Singh, India Managing Director, Prosus, spoke about the trends in the AT ecosystem: “We are pleased to support innovation in India’s AT ecosystem with the SICA programme and to help create societal impact by improving lives and empowering persons with disabilities. AT is not only for the differently abled, but also for all of us as we age – it has been heartening to see the diversity of the use-cases demonstrated at the final jury round of SICA 2021.”

Pulkit Aggarwal from Social Alpha, said: “Social Alpha has a rich history of engaging with social impact initiatives across all ends of the spectrum – founders, investors and industry. It is just the second year of SICA but we are surprised and excited to see solutions and business ideas that are completely new and unprecedented. Indian AT sector is clearly at an inflection point and we are encouraged to see that SICA is attracting diverse talent from across the country.”

Jury member Vidya Chandy, Vice President, Impact, at Chiratae Ventures India Advisors added: “Prosus SICA is amplifying the fundamental premise of promoting assistive technology for better lives. The platform and visibility that Prosus SICA provides for assistive technology is commendable and will draw in further investments into this historically underserved sector.”

Jury members for final round of SICA 2021:

(Returning members)

  1. Mr Arman Ali, Executive Director, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People
  2. Dr MV Ashok, Head, Centre for Advanced Research and Excellence in Autism and Development Disorders, St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Bengaluru
  3. Mr Dipesh Sutaria, Co-Founder and CEO, EnAble India
  4. Dr Pooja Mukul, Director, Jaipur Foot Rehabilitation Center and Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahatiya Samiti
  5. Dr P.V. Madhusudhan Rao, Head of the Department of Design and Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering at IIT Delhi

(New members)

  1. Dr Satheesh Kumar, Director, Centre for Assistive Technology and Innovation at the National Institute of Speech and Hearing
  2. Mr Rajagopal G, Co-Founder & CEO, KITES
  3. Dr Padmaja Kankipati, Technical Officer - Assistive Technology, World Health Organization South-East Asia Region
  4. Ms Vidya Chandy, Vice President, Impact, Chiratae Ventures India Advisors
  5. Mr. Chella Krishna, Advisor to Large Family Offices

Prosus SICA, in partnership with Invest India, Social Alpha and the World Health Organization, was launched in 2020. Prosus has committed INR 1,65,00,000 over three years to this initiative.


For media enquiries contact:

Sarah Ryan, International Media Relations Director, Prosus

+31 6 297 21038

[email protected]

Poonam Thakur, Head of Communications – India & SEA, Prosus Ventures

+91 9818130538

[email protected]

Diya Nair, Director, Brunswick Group

+91 9820164351

[email protected]

About Invest India

Invest India, set up in 2009, is a non-profit venture under the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.

 As the national investment promotion and facilitation agency, Invest India focuses on sector-specific investor targeting and development of new partnerships to enable sustainable investments in India. In addition to a core team that focuses on sustainable investments, Invest India also partners with substantial investment promotion agencies and multilateral organisations. Invest India also actively works with several Indian states to build capacity as well as bring in global best practices in investment targeting, promotion and facilitation areas.

LinkedIn: InvestIndia

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About Social Alpha 

Social Alpha is a multistage innovation curation and venture development platform for science and technology start-ups that address the most critical social, economic and environmental challenges through the power of entrepreneurship and market-creating innovations. Since its inception in 2016, Social Alpha has supported more 150+ start-ups including 50+ seed investments. For more information, please visit www.socialalpha.org.

LinkedInSocial Alpha

Twitter: @Social AlphaIN

Facebook: @Social AlphaIN

Instagram: socialalpha_in

About World Health Organization

The World Health Organization provides global leadership in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with 194 Member States across six regions, to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. Its goal for 2019-2023 is to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage, to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and well-being.


About Prosus:

Prosus is a global consumer internet group and one of the largest technology investors in the world. Operating and investing globally in markets with long-term growth potential, Prosus builds leading consumer internet companies that empower people and enrich communities.

The group is focused on building meaningful businesses in the online classifieds, food delivery, payments and fintech, and education technology sectors in markets including India and Brazil. Through its ventures team, Prosus invests in areas including health, logistics, blockchain, and social commerce. Prosus actively seeks new opportunities to partner with exceptional entrepreneurs who are using technology to improve people’s everyday lives.

Every day, billions of customers use the products and services of companies that Prosus has invested in, acquired or built, including 99minutos,  Airmeet, Aruna, AutoTrader, Autovit.ro, Azos, BandLab, Bibit, Bilt, Biome Makers, Borneo, Brainly, BUX, BYJU'S, Bykea, Captain Fresh, Codecademy, Collective Benefits, Creditas, DappRadar, DeHaat, Detect Technologies, dott, EduMe, ElasticRun, eMAG, Endowus, Eruditus, EVERY, Facily, Flink, Foodics, Good Glamm Group, GoodHabitz, GoStudent, Honor, iFood, Imovirtual, IndiGG, Klar, Kovi, LazyPay, letgo, Luno, Mensa Brands, Meesho, merXu, Movile, Oda, OLX, Otodom, OTOMOTO, Oxford Ionics, PaySense, PayU, Pharmeasy, Platzi, Property24, Quick Ride, Red Dot Payment, Republic, Sharebite, Shipper, ShopUp, SoloLearn, SpotDraft, Stack Overflow, Standvirtual, Spendflow, Superside, Swiggy, Thndr, Tonik, Ula, Urban Company, Vegrow, Virgio, watchTowr, and Wayflyer.

Hundreds of millions of people have made the platforms of Prosus’s associates a part of their daily lives. For listed companies where we have an interest, please see: Tencent, Delivery Hero, Remitly, Trip.com, Udemy, Skillsoft, and SimilarWeb.

Today, Prosus companies and associates help improve the lives of more than two billion people around the world.

Prosus has a primary listing on Euronext Amsterdam (AEX:PRX) and secondary listings on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (XJSE:PRX) and a2X Markets (PRX.AJ). Prosus is majority-owned by Naspers.

For more information, please visit www.prosus.com.

About Prosus

Prosus is a global consumer internet group and one of the largest technology investors in the world. Operating and investing globally in markets with long-term growth potential, Prosus builds leading consumer internet companies that empower people and enrich communities.

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