Loktra, a fintech startup which provides cloud-based solutions for the banking industry, has emerged as the winner of the ‘Startup Challenge’ organised by data solutions provider Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Communications-Netmagic Solutions (NTT Com-Netmagic).
More than 300 startups were in the fray for the NTT Com-Netmagic Startup Challenge 2019, with 15 finalists pitching their ideas and business models to a jury. As the winner, Loktra took home a cash prize of $15,000.
Loktra has put together a banking operating system which integrates workflows and facilitates interoperability of business processes by streamlining tasks across departments. The cloud platform’s clientele includes Airtel Payments Bank and it has previously raised $500,000 from investors associated with consulting giant McKinsey & Company.
Inceptor Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which operates visual aid solutions provider Innovision, was declared the runner-up in the contest. Its flagship product Braille Me is a device which harnesses technology to aid the visually-challenged.
DronaHQ, run by Mumbai-based Deltecs Infotech Pvt Ltd, received the second runner-up award. The startup launched its mobile engagement and learning platform DronaHQ two years after it was founded in 2007. It counts Wipro, Larsen & Toubro Infotech (LTI) and Kotak Securities among its customers.
The winners and runners-up will get the opportunity to engage with the Tokyo-based NTT group.
Sharad Sanghi, managing director and chief executive officer of NTT Com-Netmagic, told TechCircle that the firm will assist the startups with research and taking them to markets where demand for its offerings can be tapped.
“If the startups’ offerings fulfil a gap in the market, we are open to helping startups with research, taking their product to the market and we might even co-create something with the startup,” said Sanghi, who founded Netmagic in 1998.
The 12 other finalists included AI-robot platform Invento Robotics, clean-tech robotics platform Aubotz, augmented reality (AR)-driven ed-tech startup Avidia Labs, internet-of-things (IoT) platform Faclon Labs, and AI-driven analytics startup G-Square.
Ed-tech platforms EduBuk and Kidaura Innovation, AR platform Ghost Vision, AI-driven startups Phulkian Technologies and Tardid Technologies, cash-flow solutions provider KredX and AI-powered analytics platform Galactica.ai also participated in the final round.
NTT Venture Capital, the California-based venture capital arm of NTT Communications, announced in November that it had secured $500 million for its new fund. The investment was led by US-based venture capital firm Norwest Venture Partners. Sanghi told TechCircle that Vab Goel, partner at Norwest Venture Partners, will be heading the fund.
He also told TechCircle that NTT was conducting research in Japan and Silicon Valley in the areas of quantum science and computing, cryptography and health informatics. “I am very bullish on medical and health informatics in India,” said Sanghi.
Last November, NTT Data, an arm of NTT Corporation, picked up a majority stake in payment services company Atom Technologies from its holding company 63 Moons Technologies Ltd.