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iSPIRT to tap ideas from startups to build services for underserved Indians

iSPIRT is organising a competition to find the most disruptive users of the India Stack

Alnoor Peermohamed  |  Bengaluru 

Nandan Nilekani
Nandan Nilekani, Former UIDAI chairman

iSPIRT, the volunteer organisation behind India Stack, is looking to tap disruptive ideas from in smaller towns to build services for the underserved population in areas such as financial inclusion, health care, and education.

So far, India Stack which promotes a paperless, cashless and consent-based digital economy, has only been adopted by large enterprises such as governments, telecom and banking providers. Moreover, these players merely use the services of India Stack as enablers rather than innovating around them.

"The key thing we're looking for is innovative solutions from the small guys and that's the focus of this competition. The big guys are adopting many parts of the India Stack, because it serves their needs," said Sanjay Jain, chief innovation officer, Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship at IIM Ahmedabad.

is organising a competition to find the most disruptive users of the India Stack among early stage start-ups, with the lure of giving them exposure to the VC community. The #BuildOnIndiaStack competition will aim to find the best ideas that will serve households in the country earning below Rs 3 lakh per annum and empowering them economically.

“Just like how GPS and internet created so much innovation around the world, India Stack has the potential to create a lot of innovation in India”
Former UIDAI chairman 

With the number of entries being in "three digits" Jain says he expects to see a fair amount of representation from teams or based in smaller towns. Being closer to the actual problems of people earning less than the top 15 per cent of the country's population will give such an edge in solving India's biggest issues.

"Together, India 2 and India 3 make up 80-85 per cent of India's population, and right now innovation is happening for India 1. So there will be a very well focused screening process to get and ideas focusing on the larger population," said Varad Pande, partner and head of financial inclusion at

Apart from a cash prize of Rs 8 lakh and the opportunity to pitch their ideas on August 24 to some of India's leading VCs, the shortlisted will also get a chance to be mentored by former UIDAI chairman

"Just like how GPS and Internet created so much innovation around the world, India Stack has the potential to create a lot of innovation in India. What is particularly important about the India Stack is that it dramatically changes the way services can be delivered to a billion people," said Nilekani.

First Published: Sun, August 20 2017. 00:15 IST
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