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‘Agri-tech startups used Covid-19 opportunity to set up e-mandis’

‘agri-tech startups used covid-19 opportunity to set up e-mandis’

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NEW DELHI: Prof Asis Datta (PhD, D Sc, FNA, FASc, FNASc, FTWAS) is the Professor of Distinguished Scientist at National Institute of Plant Genome Research, New Delhi, India. Former vice-chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Professor of Eminence and Founder Director of National Institute of Plant Genome Research (2002-2008), Datta has done pioneering work in the field of molecular biology. Here he talks to TOI about the role played by agri-tech startups to boost India’s domestic ecosystem. Excerpts: What is agricultural biotechnology and its role in agricultural production?Biotechnology that has been used to develop improved and adapted crops with high yield, resistant to various stresses (insects, fungi, high temperature, drought) and improved nutritional value is called agricultural biotechnology. In a third world country like India, major contribution to the economy is made by agriculture. A considerable loss in crop yield happens annually due to various environmental stresses and pest/pathogen attack. Another factor is post-harvest loss of fruits and vegetables. Most of the fruits and vegetables start softening after a certain period of time and eventually degrade. So, the delaying of the softening process will enhance the shelf life of these fruits and vegetables. For instance, in …

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Dealing with stress and emotions as a startup founder (especially during COVID)

dealing with stress and emotions as a startup founder (especially during covid)

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We are facing a global crisis, perhaps the biggest of our generation. Besides the social and health impact, the current situation has taken a toll on all of us but with a special impact on founders.
Stress not only affects your mental, emotional, and physical well-being, but also the startup as a whole. A stressful environment may lead to disagreements amongst team members, delays, de-motivation, indiscipline, etc. but the greatest impact can be felt on the mental health of founders: depression, anxiety, burnouts, or just the inability to ake decisions.
Take a look at some advice on how you can deal with stress as a founder:

Acknowledgement and self-awareness

The first step to deal with it all the uncertainty around you is to accept that current times are strange, but acknowledge that you’re neither guilty nor a hostage. Crises come and go, so accept them assertively and refocus your attention on identifying opportunities in the midst of changes. You’ll free your mind to respond to the new reality with new mental processes and strategies.
Feeling stressed is the natural response to doing something that is both difficult and important. Understand your emotions in stressful situations by simply being …

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Meet these women driving change in the European blockchain ecosystem

meet these women driving change in the european blockchain ecosystem

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Maria Pennanen
Before diving into the role women play in the European blockchain ecosystem, let me just say there is (still) some confusion between blockchain and bitcoin. I’m sure you’ve heard this before. Not sure when it started, but I’ve had several conversions around the two terms. So let’s first get that out of the way. 
Blockchain is a data structure that proves ownership throughout time while cryptocurrency refers to a medium to digitally transfer ownership without a middleman or woman 🙂 Moreover, besides being a data structure that proves an order of events, a blockchain is also a protocol that allows participants to synchronize their databases in a trust-minimized way. There are two different kinds of blockchains: open/public blockchains to which everyone has access and private or permissioned blockchains to which only selected parties have access.
There are many women working to drive change in the European blockchain ecosystem. And to no surprise, the majority of them are not the founders of the fast growing companies we see outhere, but they are contributing their success from many other different perspectives. With that in mind, here are some inspirational blockchain women leaders to look up to. …

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DEED, State Leaders Celebrate Minnesota’s Startup Community

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St. Paul – This week, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) hosted a virtual event to celebrate Minnesota’s startup community and Launch Minnesota’s first anniversary. Participants included two state legislators, six startups and seven partners from across the state who are part of the Launch Minnesota Network. Launch Minnesota is a statewide collaborative effort to accelerate the growth of startups and amplify Minnesota as a national leader in innovation. It began last year with bipartisan approval and funding from the Minnesota Legislature and Governor Tim Walz. “This investment in our innovation ecosystem helps our state’s economy both now and into the future,” said Governor Tim Walz. “It creates an upward spiral with new technologies and innovations giving rise to new jobs, improving people’s health, fostering knowledge, attracting talent, and making Minnesota an even better place to live and work.” “It is a challenging time, but I think it is a hopeful time for startups,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “New business starts have kicked up nearly 60% compared to a year ago. Minnesota has such as diverse economy and such a great community of entrepreneurs and startups, we think we have a real shot at becoming an epicenter of …

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Covid keeps most startup launch plans grounded

covid keeps most startup launch plans grounded

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The number of startups founded this year more than halved across sectors in a sharp reminder of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on India’s potential entrepreneurs.

The sweeping uncertainties of 2020 made would-be entrepreneurs apprehensive about starting their ventures as both demand and funding remained unpredictable, according to analysts and investors.
The numbers are disappointing. Only 27 startups were founded in agritech this year, compared with 97 in 2019. Similarly, there were only 93 technology startups—well below the 332 last year, according to data sourced from Tracxn. Likewise, 170 retail startups were founded in 2020 compared with 498 in 2019.
“It is true that fewer startups have been founded in 2020 versus 2019. The reason is very apparent. The first quarter of covid was not conducive to economic activity and funding activity. Most VCs were busy protecting their existing folios and figuring out the way ahead,” said Anup Jain, managing partner, Orios Venture Partners, a seed-stage venture fund.
The disruption drove investors to focus on their existing portfolios rather than committing to new deals.
“Established startups with a track record continued to get equity funds from existing investors at tepid valuations…but there was scepticism about backing new ventures in an uncertain market accentuated with lockdowns and supply-chain restrictions,” …

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Starting a startup in a crisis: 3 myths debunked

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It’s 7pm, Tuesday night. A budding founder is sitting in their living room facing their laptop. “Should I go ahead with this?” they ask themselves, pondering about the stagnant economy and its impact on the demand for their not-yet-existing product. “Or maybe I should take a stab at this startup idea on the other side of the crisis?” They wonder as they weigh risk and reward.While you might think this internal dialog is taking place in 2020, it is reasonable to assume that such worries kept the founders of Cloudflare, Uber, Square, JFrog, Airbnb, and others up at night before they founded startups in shaky times, during a recession. Those ideas became products and then into market leaders, proving that sometimes – bets in uncertain times pay off, big time.And yet, something is unique about the Covid-19 crisis that we found ourselves living in – a material change in how we communicate, and how we do business – and those can stop entrepreneurs in their tracks. It’s been barely six months, but already the pre-corona business is taking on the aura of “remember when.”Not too long ago, you would slog down the Ayalon highway (an hour or …

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Hyderabad based ‘Womenergy’ helping women to establish startups

hyderabad based ‘womenergy’ helping women to establish startups

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HYDERABAD: A Hyderabad based women association, WEAIM is influencing and helping thousands of women to come forward and establish their own small scale start-ups and to be self-reliant. Womenergy Association of Incubators in Manufacturing (WEAIM), aims to bring a change by gender-specific approach in the field of start-ups. Through this association, Deepthi Reddy, the director of WEAIM has been able to influence thousands of women to come forward and establish their own small scale start-ups. Through this, they aim to achieve women empowerment and break the myths of startups. While speaking to ANI, the director of WEAIM, Deepthi Reddy, said “Being an entrepreneur myself, I have faced my start-up journey struggles for the initial 5 years. During that time, I have realised and observed that there is a gender-specific approach need when we talk about start-ups. And women especially have to face a lot in the initial stages for their idea to take a stand.” She said, “In 2015 we have set up this idea of ‘Womenergy’ to provide a platform for the women to gain proper strategy, funding, and mentoring for their start-ups. And it is necessary for women to understand how to start a business and maintain it in a …

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From background checks to newborn Unicorns: 4 Israeli startups score funding

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Emerging from stealth with Seed funding and a “true platform for authorization”Israeli startup build.security, which develops authorization policy management, emerged from stealth and announced $6 million in Seed funding led by YL Ventures with participation from cyber-security luminary George Kurtz, CEO and Co-founder of CrowdStrike; Michael Sutton, former CISO of Zscaler; Sounil Yu, former Chief Security Scientist at Bank of America; Dan Amiga, former CTO and Co-founder of Fireglass (acquired by Symantec); Eyal Gruner, CEO and Co-founder of Cynet; and Eran Barak, former CEO and Co-founder of Hexadite (acquired by Microsoft). CrowdStrike CPO Amol Kulkarni has joined build.security’s board of directors.Founded by industry veterans Amit Kanfer (CEO) and Dekel Braunstein (CTO), build.security is offering a different approach to authorization, providing developers with the building blocks they need to quickly generate and manage best-practice authorization controls across enterprise applications at scale. The build.security authorization team credit: build.securityBuild.security claims to offer the first “true platform for authorization,” providing developers with a simple way to eliminate the kind of product vulnerabilities that have the potential to capsize entire organizations when exploited. “We’ve solved the inherent complexity of authorization resulting from how radically its implementation …

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Startup 302 pitch competition to focus on those facing funding inequities

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Delaware’s revamped Startup302 pitch competition will focus on founders who struggle with funding inequities.In making the announcement, it was noted that only one percent of all venture capital-funded founders are Black, less than half of one percent are Latinx and only 8 percent are women of any demographic group.
According to Ariel Gruswitz, director of innovation at Startup302 sponsor Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP), technology-enabled startups with at least one founding team member from an underrepresented group may apply.

Those working in bioscience, chemistry, advanced materials, agriculture, financial/business services, and the up-and-coming esports industry are especiallyencouraged to participate.
“Innovation thrives when diverse perspectives are fostered and included,” Gruswitz said. “Startup302 aims to improve access and equity across the First State’s innovation ecosystem.”
Garry Johnson III, founder of the First Founder’s Accelerator and a member of the Startup 302 Steering Committee, agreed.
“Delaware has a unique opportunity to position itself as a leader of inclusive and equitable innovation,” Johnson said, “and I’m excited to contribute to collaborative efforts like these that attract diverse communities of founders to the region.”
Underrepresented founders include women, as well as people of color, including African Americans, Latin Americans and those of Native …

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Engineering Colleges: Fostering World-Class Startup And Adding New Dimension To Entrepreneurship Model

engineering colleges: fostering world-class startup and adding new dimension to entrepreneurship model

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The ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns have widened the demand and supply gap in the world. And, the gap can be filled only with technical expertise and soft skills. This demand has been making engineering institutions a hotbed for developing and nurturing entrepreneurship among their students, who want to build a self-dependent sustainable lifestyle for the ‘new normal’ world.Though entrepreneurship and startups started as a major lifestyle choice in these colleges, with the unprecedented times it has now become a need to have quality which allows students to test themselves before going in the real world outside these colleges.Role Of Incubation Model Incubators play a key role in managing and providing a safe space for students to test their ideas and fail safely to try again. The iteration rate may be around 60-70% as of now, where these many students are not pursuing the startups post-graduation. However, this exposes them to the possibilities and also gives them the taste of amount of possibility they can have, if this is done right. However,  there are still 30% of students, who stick to entrepreneurship and 1% of them lead a successful startup in coming times.Engineering institutions provide various resources …

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