Habitat for Humanity, CIIE celebrate culmination of first housing-focused accelerator program in India
Jul 17, 2019

NEW DELHI, July 18, 2019 --( ASIA TODAY )-- Eight startups mark a milestone in their entrepreneurial journey at the close of the ShelterTech Accelerator, an initiative organized by Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter, in collaboration with the Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE). They will celebrate the close of the inaugural run of India’s first affordable housing accelerator at the India Housing Forum.

Naeem Razwani, Director for Asia-Pacific of the Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter said, “We have seen the tremendous growth of startups over the past year as they underwent the ShelterTech Accelerator program. We are particularly pleased to announce that two entrepreneurs--Tvasta Manufacturing and XLSYS Technologies—received financial support from the Terwilliger Center to assist them in testing out their products’ potential for scaling up and impacting low-income households.”

XLSYS Technologies’ Qwikspec was also recognized as the Mobile App of the Year by PropTech Realty, while Oceo Water was invited to be part of the Open Innovation Platform – HelloScience Live Lab. Business Today featured EcoSTP as its Coolest Startup 2019; the startup also debuted at Circularity119 as part of a Biomimicry Launchpad. Three startups participated in the Global Housing Technology Challenge in New Delhi, with two bagging the opportunity to pitch their solution to Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi.

“The Accelerator helped us to fine tune the whole business model—the margins and cash flows, and also how to raise the funds and how to propel the business and to scale it,” said Shreeram R, the CEO of Modulus Housing, which was among the selected startups.

To mark the successful first year of the program, Habitat for Humanity is hosting a recognition dinner to recognize the entrepreneurs, donors and partners who supported the ShelterTech Accelerator in its first year. Meanwhile, CIIE is organizing a closed-door opportunity for eight startups to showcase their innovations to the sector investors and other experts. A firm will be selected to pitch to other investors in Bangkok, Thailand during the seventh Asia-Pacific Housing Forum on September 17 organized by Habitat for Humanity.

“When properly supported, startups can be game-changers in creating surprising yet effective solutions to societal challenges. Through the ShelterTech Accelerator and our partnership with Habitat for Humanity, we have the proud opportunity of being part of the first affordable housing accelerator in India,” said Tapish Bhatt, Vice President for Seed and Acceleration, CIIE.

“We identified, mentored and supported brave, creative India-based entrepreneurs and their products to allow them to grow their solutions, reach their target markets, prepare for and mitigate risks, and connect to investors and other opportunities. We are excited for the very real impact that the startups can make on the enormous need for decent, affordable housing in the country and beyond,” Bhatt added.

The program in India selected entrepreneurs out of 140 startups that signified interest. The sector focus of the cohort startups were categorized as either construction materials and technologies or water and sanitation. The startups benefitted from a boot camp that included workshops, business exercises and laboratories, and mentorship from sector experts that helped them develop their solutions and products to better address the market challenges in low-income housing segments. Aside from providing acceleration and business support to participating startups, the program also connected the startups to various network support and funding opportunities from government agencies, potential customers, suppliers and investors.

The Terwilliger Center and CIIE, part of the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, jointly launched the ShelterTech Accelerator in September 2018. It ran parallel to an Accelerator in Kenya, supported by BDO. Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center of Innovation in Shelter implemented the Accelerator in both India and Kenya to build off the early success of a 2017 Accelerator which took place in Mexico, in partnership with Village Capital.

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Aaron Aspi +63 920 956 9181