Karnataka funds eight tourism startups under Idea2POC scheme
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The Karnataka government has selected eight startups in the tourism space for grants ranging between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 50 lakh as part of its multi-sectoral startup policy.

The government will disburse the funds under its Idea to Proof of Concept (Idea2POC) Grant Scheme, which is part of the broader Karnataka Startup Policy 2015-20, it said in a release.

The startups, which were handpicked following a pitching contest organised by the Karnataka Startup Cell and Department of Tourism, received their first instalment from chief minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday. The curation and shortlisting of applicants was overseen by Karnataka Biotechnology and Information Technology Services (KBITS), which is part of the state government’s startup cell.

“The objective is to encourage innovators who may need early-stage funding to stimulate commercialisation of their inventions and to help in validating proof of concept,” said Priyank Kharge, minister of state for IT, BT & Tourism, government of Karnataka.

The fund corpus under Idea2PoC is dedicated to startups in the field of technology, agriculture and tourism. Funds will be given in the form of grant-in-aid, but limited to a one-time grant of Rs 50 lakh. The funding is released in tranches based on the lifecycle of the business plan, the release said.

Earlier this month, the Karnataka government had announced a $1.5-million (Rs 10 crore) Idea2POC fund on International Women’s Day.

In July last year, it launched initiatives to mobilise up to Rs 2,000 crore ($333 million) by 2020 to invest in startups across sectors, from technology to social impact. The government aims to help and nurture 20,000 startups by 2020, of which it envisages 6,000 to be product-based firms.

Some of the other startup investment vehicles of the Karnataka government include KITVEN Fund (Karnataka Information Technology Venture Capital Fund), AVGC (animation, visual effects, gaming and comics) fund and a social impact initiative called ‘Channelising Innovation for Social Impact.

Here is the list of the eight startups selected under Idea2PoC.

AAO Hostels (Rs 40 lakh): It provides an online platform for backpackers to find quality hostels across India. It also helps other aspiring entrepreneurs wanting to start up backpacking hostels.

Highway Delite (Rs 35 lakh): This startup’s app provides detailed, verified information on highway services, including restaurants, washroom, hotels, pumps, accident zones and emergency numbers. It has so far verified 7,000 km of highways, and will soon enable digital payments for these services.

Highir Technologies (Rs 25 lakh): This digital imaging startup offers high-definition 360-degree virtual tours, aerial 360-degree imagery, 4k aerial videography and virtual reality solutions.

DigiTour Technologies (Rs 25 lakh): It provides ‘audio-visual’ guided tour services for historical monuments in regional and foreign languages on a mobile platform. Hardware devices installed at tourist spots help people browse content even in the absence of Internet. It also supports VR, AR and offline maps.

Aseuro Technologies (Rs 25 lakh): The company’s product offering is Pinakin, an audio guide that can be downloaded on smartphones.

Trip Dairy (Rs 20 lakh): An artificial intelligence-based travel tech company, it is building a virtual assistant to help users plan, book and manage their trips.

Moving Up Products (Rs 5 lakh): The company operates augmented reality platform Flippar, which provides curated information about monuments by pointing a smartphone at them.

Trip On Food (Rs 5 lakh): It offers curated food trails for tourists to experience the local way of living and eating.

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