Bharti Airtel, India’s premier communications solutions provider, and WhatsApp announced the launch of the first-ever “Airtel IQ” hackathon.
The hackathon’s objective is to identify and build new-age business solutions using the WhatsApp Business Platform across five key sectors of the economy that can potentially improve livelihoods and contribute to the sustainable and economic growth of the country.
As per the company’s press release, these are E-Commerce, EdTech, Banking and Financial Services (BFSI), Travel and Tourism, and Contact center operations where start-ups have made a mark and entrepreneurs have developed robust businesses.
Airtel IQ hackathon is hacking for a connected future and solving business challenges in the age of connectivity, deploying the power of programmable communications to solve customer engagement problems.
It aims to offer emerging Indian startups, Independent Software Vendors (ISV), and the student community an opportunity to leverage technology and drive customer experience and better customer engagement.
Applications will close on October 9, 2022, and participants will be evaluated over three rounds and a mega finale on December 1, 2022.
Airtel IQ Hackathon offers prizes worth up to Rs 1 Crore, Business Mentorship from Leaders at Airtel and WhatsApp across product, engineering, and business functions along with training engagements and learning modules on the WhatsApp Business Platform. Airtel IQ will also offer winners, free conversations on the WhatsApp Business Platform and the WhatsApp API helping them reduce their operating costs and focus on building the future of conversational experience using chat-based experiences on the WhatsApp Business Platform.
Winners will also get an opportunity to leverage Airtel Business’ expansive channel network to achieve reach and scale with enterprises.
The hackathon is part of a range of projects Airtel has initiated to develop and enhance India’s technology talent.
Airtel consistently seeks to employ more women engineers and is setting up a dedicated tech center in Pune to house tech talent across fields such as Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics and has also vigorously put in efforts to upskill and develop local talents in its countries.
A select few startups would be offered to onboard the Airtel Startup Accelerator Program and hyper-scale their company with Airtel, the company added.
Under this Program, in addition to the funding in the range of $500K – $2M, startups gain access to Airtel’s core platform strengths of data, distribution, network, and payments. Further, startups get access to Airtel’s global partner ecosystem and advisory from Airtel’s executive team.
With India witnessing growth in entrepreneurship and tech start-up ecosystems, the hackathon will inspire innovations that can enable India’s digital transformation journey.
“India’s startup ecosystem has seen outstanding growth guided by the Government of India’s vision. Our technology talent pool has been doing some phenomenal work in building solutions that solve hard problems,” said Mr. Abhishek Biswal, Business head, Airtel IQ.
“Airtel IQ is thrilled to partner with WhatsApp bringing together our expertise to empower technology entrepreneurs, software publishers, and emerging startups to build future-ready CPaaS solutions. On behalf of Airtel, I invite startups to be a part of this Hackathon and benefit from the opportunities to chart their growth journeys, and scale up quickly and sustainably,” he added.
“India’s start-up ecosystem has been a cradle of innovations, impacting socio-economic change in the country. As technology becomes more immersive, businesses are utilizing the WhatsApp Business Platform for developing end-to-end customer experiences innovatively,” said Ravi Garg, Director of Business Messaging, Meta India.
“Our partnership with ‘Airtel IQ Hackathon’ intends to foster and nurture start-ups in building technology-based solutions towards achieving the Digital India vision. Technology offers immense potential to make E-Commerce, Ed-Tech, Banking and Financial Services, Travel & Tourism more accessible, convenient, and inclusive for millions of Indians,” Ravi added.