Cisco and NASSCOM Foundation Felicitate Top 10 Most Enterprising Start-Up Ideas under Cisco thingQbator Programme


Bengaluru, December 17, 2021: Cisco thingQbator, a CSR initiative by Cisco in partnership with NASSCOM Foundation, felicitated the ten winning start-ups of its 4th Cohort. Launched in 2018, Cisco & NASSCOM Foundation are partnered with 18 universities to accelerate student entrepreneurship and build digital skills under the Cisco thingQbator programme. “Cisco thingQbator” is a virtual makerspace programme run in these partner universities where students can learn about digital technologies in a hands-on environment, turn their ideas into working prototypes, and in the process, come up with local solutions to local problems. The name “thingQbator” (a combination of ‘Internet of Things’ and ‘Incubator’) was started as an internal incubator to identify and fund IoT ideas originating in Cisco’s engineer community.

The unique programme, which successfully completed its third year, hosted a virtual felicitation ceremony, celebrating ten of the most promising and successful start-up ideas as part of the 4th Cohort. The top ten start-ups were chosen after a rigorous shortlisting process, from amongst the 150 ideas presented to various panels, some comprising senior executives from Cisco, and invitees from the industry. Students and faculties from numerous universities, mentoring experts from the technology space, and start-up specialists will be attending this event hosted by NASSCOM Foundation. Post the event there will be break-out rooms created for teams to interact on a one-to-one basis with anyone interested in their ideas.

Amongst the many dignitaries attending were Shri Rajesh Aggarwal, Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, and Dr Chintan Vaishnav, Mission Director for Atal Innovation Mission (AIM). From Cisco, leaders like Anil Nair, Vice President, Engineering, Cisco Systems India Vish Iyer, Vice President, Cisco Architectures, APJC, and Harish Krishnan Managing Director & Chief Policy Officer Cisco Systems, India & SAARC, were present to celebrate and cheer the accomplishments of the winning start-ups.

More than 10,000 students have already been skilled and trained under the Cisco thingQbator programme, with the ultimate aim to transform students’ mindsets into being employment generators rather than employment seekers. Post the 1000+ hours of mentoring that has been done through the programme over the past three years, 170 prototypes have been built and 16 teams are already registered or incubated in a start-up accelerator/incubation centre. The core spirit of the initiative lies in fostering students to produce innovative solutions to resolve real-world business problems. Apart from encouraging design thinking among students to solve local community problems, the initiative also sharpened their go-to-market skills.

The top 10 teams with the best solutions felicitated at the ceremony included:

  1. Sapientury
  2. Enable – Your Green Window
  3. Sublit – Making Submissions Lit
  4. SocieTree
  5. Remote Health Monitor
  6. Serenity
  7. Keto – Let Exercise be a Game
  8. Leegum
  9. Multiplayer Yoga Gameplay (MPYG)
  10. Automated Exercising System for Paralyzed Patients

On the occasion, Sri Rajesh Agarwal, Secretary, Ministry of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship, Govt. of India, said: “India is well known for innovation and well on its way to becoming one of the world’s fastest-growing start up centres. To further accelerate this movement it is important that student entrepreneurs and Indian universities are given a more robust platform to grow and evolve, which means renewed focus on state-of-the-art incubation centres, mentorship from industry experts and eye on skilling. It is heartening to note that Cisco thingQbator offers a great mix of these elements. I would urge the youth today to come together and form the heart of this entrepreneurship movement.”

Harish Krishnan, MD & CPO, Cisco India, said: “Considering how critical India’s startup ecosystem is proving to be in solving some of the most daunting issues we face today, it’s important to encourage and nurture innovation at an early stage. Cisco has always championed making entrepreneurship a part of the student DNA early in the learning lifecycle. The Cisco thingQbator platform gives us a chance to build on some important values, entrepreneurship and mentoring, access to digital skills, and local localities skilling to the fore.”

Nidhi Bhasin, CEO, NASSCOM Foundation, added, “The Cisco thingQbator programme has been successful in nurturing the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in young minds. Technology helps to create a wider and deeper impact when applied to real-world challenges. We’re glad that through this platform supported by Cisco, 10 winners out of 150 teams with innovative ideas receives INR 5 Lakh each. I believe that this is an opportunity to skill and build a digitally equipped generation of young change-makers who look at value creation and social impact from the lens of an entrepreneur.”