Search underway for India’s Most Innovative Assistive Tech Startups in 2021 with Prosus (SICA)

Chennai, August 30, 2021: This year’s search for India’s most innovative assistive technology start-ups is underway with the launch of ProsusSICA2021.

Created last year by Prosus – in partnership with Invest IndiaSocial Alpha and the World Health Organization– the initiative invites Indian startupswith the most promising solutions in the assistive technology space to compete for an annual grantand access to the Prosus SICA mentorship programme.

With more than 70 million Indians estimated to livewith some form of disability* the societal impact ofimproving lives and empowering people through assistive technology can be immense. Prosus SICA was recognised earlier this month as “CSR Initiative of the Year” by the AssisTech Foundation.

Prosus has committed INR16,500,000 to the initiative over three years, and each year awardsgrants to three successful startups.Partners including InvestIndia and Social Alpha provide additional mentoring and financing opportunities, while WHO supports the programme with technical assistance. 

In its inaugural edition in 2020, Prosus SICA received over 200 applications from 25 states and seven union territories across India. The top three startups recognised for their ingenuity and impact across a range of assistive technologieswere Sohum Innovation Lab (Bengaluru), NeoMotion(Chennai) and Stamuri (New Delhi). 

In addition to the top startups, two other finalists were enrolled into the SICA mentorship programmeto benefit from Prosus’s experience in supporting entrepreneurs and helping them to succeed:Cogniable (Delhi) and ThinkerbellSolutions (Delhi). 

For Prosus SICA 2021, an expert panel of judges will assemble to identify innovative startups with the most potential to positively impact the lives of personswith disabilities. (Information on the 2020 panel here). Eligible startups can submit their applicationsfrom now until 19th October.The top startups will be announced in Decemberto mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. 

Commenting, Sehraj SinghIndia Managing DirectorProsus, said: “Enabling entrepreneurs across the world to improve people’s daily lives is our mission at ProsusHere in India, the needs of 7million personsliving with some form of disability have remained under-served despite a vibrant startup ecosystem. We believe that there can be a thriving market for assistive technologies and last year’s excellent response to our inaugural ProsusSICA initiative validated this belief. We are so proud to continue the journey this year and encourage all entrepreneurs in the assistive technology space to join our mission by entering Prosus SICA 2021.

Impact of ProsusSICA 2020

How last year’s winners have fared

Sohum Innovation Lab manufactures a device to detect hearing impairment in infants. It used the grant money of Rs 25 lakhs ($35,000) to expand beyond Indiato African markets. It has partnered with state governments, private hospitals and NGOs, and has now sold over 200 devices across India, Tanzania, Uganda, and Guatemala. 

NeoMotion creates bespoke wheelchairs with a motor-powered clip-on to convert it into a safe, roadworthy vehicle. It used the Rs 18 lakhs ($25,000) grant money for marketing to enhance awareness and reach, increasing sales by 3X. 

Stamurai, a mobile app to address speech disabilities through automated speech therapy, utilised its Rs 12 lakhs ($15,000) grant money  to make app enhancements that have driven up monthly installs by 2X and revenue by 60%. Deepak Bagla, MD & CEO, Invest India, said:“The excellence of Indian ingenuity has been at the forefront. The ability of our entrepreneurs to pivot and develop impactful frugal solutions is India’s strength. This challenge will lead the way in transforming assistive technologies in the country and propel India to become a world leader in the field.”

Chapal Khasnabis, Head (a.i) Access to Assistive Technology and Medical Devices, WHO, Genevasaid “Entrepreneurs across the country are attempting to innovate in a cost-effective and scalable manner to solve for the unique needs and requirements in healthcare aided through assistive technology.Prosus SICA is a unique programme that brings together industry expertise, financing and executional capabilities. We are proud to support the programme to transform India’s healthcare landscape aided by Made-In-India assistive technology for her own population and beyond.”

Manoj Kumar, Founder and CEO, Social Alpha, saidAssistive technologies is a 25 billion dollar market globally but affordability and user experience issues hinder the market development in India, despite having a large population that needs access to high quality assistive solutions. Over the last few years, Social Alpha has been actively developing the sector through innovation curation, venture development, and financial innovation to facilitate market access and customer adoption. I am optimistic that ProsusSICA 2021 will unlock more opportunities and resources for innovators and help them go to market as they create world class solutions.”

Interested startups can learn more about ProsusSICA 2021 and the application process on

The top threestartups will be awarded grants of: 1. First prize: INR 25 Lakhs2. Second prize: INR 18 Lakhs3. Third prize:  INR 12 Lakhs

In addition to the grant award, eligible startupsreceive an opportunity to work with Social Alpha, an incubator that promotes innovation and entrepreneurshipacross India. As incubation partner, Social Alpha can alsoprovide upto $40,000 in equity to the top startups. 

The top five finalists are also inducted into the Prosus SICA mentorship programme where they will benefit from Prosus’s experience in supporting entrepreneurs and helping them to succeed.

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