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Global Open Innovation Contest 9.0 in Pune: win-win for NTT Data and startups

For the Indian leg, NTT Data tied up with TiE Pune to look out for startups who would qualify for the global contest.

pune Updated: Jan 12, 2019 17:13 IST
Namita Shibad
Namita Shibad
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Global Open Innovation Contest 9.0,NTT Data
Nitin Gupta, founder, Flyt Base,winner of TiE Pune NTT Data Open Innovation Contest 9.0 with Kotaro Zamma, head, open innovation and business incubation, NTT Data .(HT PHOTO )

Startups have never had it so good. NTT Data, a global systems services company organises an Open Innovation Contest (OiC) for startups to offer the winner the opportunity to access its worldwide network and grow. For the Indian leg, NTT Data tied up with TiE Pune to look out for startups who would qualify for the global contest.

Kiran Deshpande, president TiE Pune said, “Globally 18 countries have participated in the OiC 9.0 and 401 startups registered. Out of these 91 were from India itself. Out of the 91, only 11 startups were shortlisted for the regional finale.” After a gruelling pitch session before the jury members that comprised of NTT Data’s Head of Open Innovation and Business Incubation Kotaro Zamma, Senior expert Kaz Okada and TiE Pune mentors, Ajay Bhagwat of Renu Electronics, Satish Dhupdale of AlgoAnalytics, Revant Bhate of K Start Capital, the winner was announced. Flyt Base a startup from Bangalore that provides a platform for drone applications emerged victorious. Said Nitin Gupta, founder FlytBase “This win is really big for me. It will give us an opportunity to work with a colossal giant like NTT Data. They have clients across the globe whom we can access. This otherwise would not have been possible for a small company like mine. Large companies in renewable business like wind power, oil and gas are their customers and I can through NTT Data offer them my solutions. These companies can opt for drone inspection of their assets with our services. ”

All the 11 shortlisted companies get to benefit. Says Vijay Gabale of Infilect that has built an artificial intelligence based product for the retail industry, “The primary reason I participated in the competition is because I want to access the Japanese retail markets. Even though you don’t win, NTT offers you access to their network and I am happy for that.”

Animesh Samuel of NLP Bots, a startup that helps automate enterprise conversations using artificial intelligence feels that global access is the primary reason for start-ups to participate.

Will the relationship be equal given the disparity in size and scale? “The relationship that NTT will get into with the startups will be pretty equal. This is because we have a niche technology that their customers are asking, ” said Animesh

For Ashwini Donigond of Manorama Infosolutions that provides Hospital Information Management Systems, Electronic Medical Records and Insurance services, NTT offers the infrastructure it needs to expand to other markets.

“We are in Africa and India currently and if we are to get into Japan and Asia Pacific, we will have to start from scratch since most of our solutions are cloud based. With NTT that offers cloud services to its clients our job will be easy and they have a large client base,” said Donigond. So what’s in it for NTT Data? Says Zamma, “For us, these startups offer us their creative and innovative skills. We have large existing platforms, but these young companies can come up with newer and more efficient ways to use it. In the past four and a half years that we have organised OiCs, we have invested from tens of thousands of dollars to millions in the startups that we have come in contact with. These companies show a great deal of promise that can help us be more innovative and help them grow. It’s a win-win situation.”

A view Deshpande agrees. “Startups bring in focus, speed and innovation in their offering that often misses an established business. But NTT Data has proven that an established global corporation can create a win-win partnership with Startups. TiE Pune is very happy to help both NTT Data and startups from India foster such partnerships.” Says Okada, “Open Innovation is all about combining different strengths, and this contest is an ideal facility to meet companies whose strength is synergistic with that of NTT Data. I am grateful for TiE’s powerful support.”

First Published: Jan 12, 2019 17:13 IST