The Government on Monday launched Amrit Mahotsav App Innovation Challenge, which is the latest avtar of last year’s Aatmanirbhar App Innovation Challenge.
Last year, the government had 8 categories and chose 24 winners. This has been increased this year to 16 categories and 48 winners will be chosen. The project aims to spur the development of new Indian apps and promote growth of existing apps. The prize money has also been increased to a total of Rs. 40 lakh across each category.
Last year’s event was announced on July 4, shortly after a ban was imposed on 59 popular Chinese apps, including short video app TikTok. Amongst the winners of last year’s challenge were homegrown short video app Chingari and Twitter alternative Koo, both of which have amassed millions of users since then. Chingari, today, said they have 75 million monthly active users, while Koo said it has over 10 million downloads.
The categories in this year’s challenge include Culture & Heritage, Health, Education, Social Media, Emerging Tech, Skills, News, Games, Entertainment, Office, Fitness & Nutrition, Agriculture, Business & Retail, Fintech, Navigation and Others. Only Indian entrepreneurs and students are allowed to participate.
Evaluation will be done in two stages, including a screening stage and a demo stage which involves a jury. Teams placing first in each category will get Rs. 25 lakh, while the second and third-placed teams will get Rs. 15 lakh and Rs. 10 lakh, respectively. Entries are open till September 30th.
Keerti Singh, co-founder and VP of Growth at Hitwicket Superstars, one of the winners in last year’s challenge, said that the money is only a part of the reason to apply for the challenge. “It’s always a challenge to attract talent in gaming. The technology is cutting edge, but the industry is still not considered as a viable career option. This helped us show that gaming is as serious a career option (as any other) and you can build a serious business,” she said.
Further, winners also said that participating in the challenge helps growing businesses raise funds. The team from MyGov helps entrepreneurs connect with investors and secure funding when required. Bharath Bevinahally, founder of the Kutuki app, which won in the education category last year, said winning the challenge helped the company expand to a much wider audience than it had before. He also said that it played a role in securing the app’s seed funding round, which took place in February this year. Kutuki raised $2.2 million in a round led by Omidyar Network India.