Tech startups to build cities of the future

PUNE, known for its manufacturing and automobile industry has emerged as a prominent hub for tech startups in India. Palava Accelerator, launched by Lodha Group, and Zone Startups, the accelerator operated by Toronto-based Ryerson Futures Inc, is inviting startups in Pune in a bid to promote the tech-entrepreneurship spirit of the city. The accelerator programme will be conducted on August 3 at the Venture Centre, 100 NCL Innovation Park Pashan Road from 3 to 5 pm.

Palava Accelerator, launched in November 2017, is an initiative to identify new age technology companies ranging across smart city solutions, real estate tech, hyperlocal commerce, sustainable development and analytics and provide them a platform to test their products/services at scale. The test bed is the Palava City, India’s No.1 Liveable City ranked by JLL, spread across 4500 acres. Startups accepted into the Palava Accelerator programme receive support and services including co-working office space, free residential options, business development support, an opportunity to pilot their products at Palava City, access to high-quality investor networks, mentorship programmes and networking events. The programme provides early-stage companies with a test bed and launch pad for their businesses.

Since the launch, the accelerator programme has mentored 8 startups at various stages. The startups are from varied technology domains such as CleanTech, Governance, Ed-tech, and Fintech to name a few.

Lodha Group is envisioning to develop Palava into a “pedestrian first” smart city, designed to have all basic necessities within walking distance to enhance the quality of life and to solve the problem of inadequate public transportation. Palava is positioned as a “model of urbanization” in an emerging economy such as India that is focused on developing new cities due to urban migration.

Utopia, an outdoor light automation platform, is one of the notable examples of a successful pilot at Palava. The company provides a cost-effective and smart way to automate street lights as per time of day, and track faults if any. The solution was piloted at Palava and later at other locations such as ISB Hyderabad and IIT Bombay. Lodha Group has also become a corporate customer to the company.

Another startup helping Palava to achieve its goal is FingPay, which is enabling Aadhar-based payments across all retailers in Palava and provides residents with a cashless transaction experience.

The programme will help selected startups to do a proof of concept (POCs) in Palava, as well as help with extended connects in the larger Mumbai startup ecosystem.

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