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Kashmir startups impress global investors at Dubai EXPO

07:30 AM Jan 17, 2022 IST | MUKEET AKMALI
kashmir startups impress global investors at dubai expo

Being part of the Jammu and Kashmir business delegation led by Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha to Dubai.


Kashmir-based startups got a golden opportunity to showcase their innovative ideas and scalable business solutions to global investors from the UAE and around the World at Dubai Expo.


Five startups from Kashmir province participated in the event during which Jammu and Kashmir government sealed several investment deals with Dubai-based companies.


Start-ups from Kashmir that showcased their prowess at Elevate-V of Dubai Expo were FastBeetle, a tech-driven logistics services solution for providing the last mile delivery; Efruitmandi, J&Ks first B2B farm produce marketplace; Kashmir Trout, a Kashmir-based Trout procurement platform, which works towards procuring the fresh trout to processing, storage, and delivery to the customers & Sky Robo Drones, which uses hexacopter drones to help people caught in disasters.


CEO of Sky Robo Drones, Habib-ullah Malik said that one of their directors participated in the Expo. “Government has selected five top startups from Kashmir and five from Jammu to be part of the business delegation to visit Dubai. Our company was represented by our director who gave a presentation before the global investors. It is a golden opportunity for startups like us to get such a big platform.”


Co-Founder of FastBeetle, Abid Rashid whose company was among five startups that participated in the expo said: “ it is a good step which would boost the confidence of startups and also enable to them gain knowledge.”


FastBeetle Logistics, a Srinagar-based tech startup recently raised $100,000 funding from investors.

FastBeetle raised funds in a Pre-Series A funding round of USD100k from angel investors including Sandeep Patel from Nepra, Saurabh Mittal – Entrepreneurship Evangelist in the Himalayan region, Vikram Sanghvi, Rohit Qamra, a few non-resident Kashmiris. Existing investors Kartikeya Desai and Anuj Sharma also participated in the current round.

Some of the other start-ups, who also presented their business ideas include, Greenlams, an award-winning clean construction technology company, which aims to replace conventional clay bricks, fly ash bricks, AAC blocks with Agrocrete, the world’s only carbon-negative load-bearing block, made using crop residues and industrial by-products; Prognica Labs, an award-winning Dubai based AI-powered health-tech company, which aims to improve clinical outcomes in the fight against breast cancer; NavAlt, a pioneer in solar-powered electric boats thus making marine transport more efficient by drastically reducing the energy and resources needed for operations and maintenance & Sascan Meditech, which is working on a mission to develop affordable healthcare devices using biophotonics and allied technologies for the management of epithelial cancers among many other.

Jammu and Kashmir have received an overwhelming response from the global investors at Dubai Expo 2020 with the Union Territory administration signing several business agreements and inking six MoUs with global investors who are going to invest in the J&K.

“Jammu and Kashmir as an investment destination have received a massive impetus with Dubai Expo as several investors have shown their keenness to invest in J&K. Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha personally leading the J&K delegation was a big plus point as it showed to the world that J&K administration is willing to walk an extra mile to woo global investors,” said a senior government official.

J&K government signed an MoU with UAE’s pioneering financial services company, Century Financial that will invest $100 million in the Union Territory. It was the 7th MoU signed by team J&K in UAE. The MoU has signed in a special event presided by the Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha.

The investment will cover 3 hotels and one commercial cum residential complex in Jammu & Kashmir. The owner of Century Financial Bal Krishen is originally a native of the Doda district of Jammu and has been a forerunner in supporting his home region.

Prior to an agreement with Century Financial, J&K had signed six more agreements with Al Maya Group, MATU Investments LLC, GL Employment Brokerage LLC, Century Financial, and Noon E-commerce respectively; 1 LoI between Magna Waves Pvt. Ltd along with Emaar Group and Lulu International.

Dubai-based Al Maya Group, MATU Investments LLC, GL Employment Brokerage LLC & Noon for investment in J&K. Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, who presided over the signing ceremony said this will further strengthen J&K-Dubai’s trade, investment ties.

Lieutenant Governor also held a meeting with Chairman of DP World, H.E. Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem. DP World is set to build an inland port in Jammu and Kashmir.

Dubai ports giant DP World is planning to build an inland port in Jammu and Kashmir as part of the firm commitment by the UAE to invest in J&K. The representatives of DP World would soon visit the 250-acre site earmarked for the inland port facility. The ambitious projects will be finalized soon.

J&K Government also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with LuLu Group to set up a food processing & logistics (FPL) hub in Srinagar, in the presence of Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, and LuLu group Chairman, Yusuff Ali MA.

This agreement was signed by Principal Secretary, Industries & Commerce, J&K, Ranjan Prakash Thakur, and Ashraf Ali MA, Executive Director, LuLu Group.

Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha also inaugurated Jammu & Kashmir promotion week at the LuLu Hypermarket, Dubai.

The Lt Governor said the MoU with the LuLu group will further expand the Jammu Kashmir-Dubai collaboration and Jammu Kashmir-LuLu Group partnership.

“Relations between India and UAE are long-standing & deep-rooted. People-to-people contact and trade have seen momentum in the recent years under the leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” the Lt Governor had said.

“Trade between Jammu & Kashmir and Dubai has remained steady, despite Covid-19 challenges and it reflects the resilience of our deep economic linkages. The MoU will further expand Jammu Kashmir-Dubai collaboration and Jammu Kashmir-Lulu Group partnership,” the Lieutenant Governor had said.

It is pertinent to mention that Jammu & Kashmir is number one in the production of Saffron, Apple, Walnut, and Almond in India. The MoU with the LuLu group will help J&K to reach out to shoppers

In addition to the Investor Summit and J&K Week at India Pavilion, Sinha also inaugurated a two-day Buyer-Seller Meet hosted by the Consulate General of India, Dubai in collaboration with Invest India.

‘Indian startups raised USD 42 bn in 2021’

Indian startups have raised USD 42 billion in 2021, up from USD 11.5 billion in the previous year, a report by Orios Venture Partners said.

The report titled ‘The Indian Tech Unicorn Report 2021’ said India saw 46 unicorns (companies with USD 1 billion valuations) in 2021 alone, more than doubling the total number of unicorns to 90.

These include ShareChat, Cred, Meesho, Nazara, Moglix, MPL, Grofers (now Blinkit), upGrad, Mamaearth, GlobalBees, Acko, Spinny and others.

India – with 90 unicorns – is the third-largest unicorn hub behind the US (487) and China (301), and ahead of the UK (39).

India has the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world with about 60,000 startups.

“These startups are not only developing innovative solutions and technologies but are generating large-scale employment. Today, one out of 13 unicorns globally was born in India,” it said.

As per the report, Bengaluru was the city with the most unicorns. Fintech, e-commerce and SaaS (software as a service) have seen the maximum number of unicorns, while health-tech, ed-tech, D2C, Gaming and Crypto are also close behind.

Flipkart was the most valuable unicorn (USD 37.6 billion after raising USD 3.6 billion in July 2021), while Mensa Brands was the fastest to turn unicorn (took only 6 months to turn unicorn in November 2021 round after raising the first USD 50 million round in May 2021), it added.

India has seen four decacorns (companies with a valuation of USD 10 billion and above) so far – Flipkart, Paytm, Byju’s and Oyo Rooms, the report stated.

It said 2021 was a landmark year for Indian startups going public.

“A total of 11 Indian startups (including 8 unicorns) raised about USD 7.16 billion through public offerings…One97 Communication (Paytm) raised India’s largest-ever IPO with an issue size of Rs 18,300 crore (about USD 2.46 billion),” it said.

Further, Zomato has the highest market capitalisation (USD 14.8 billion), among the listed Indian startups, followed by Nykaa (USD 13.5 billion) and Freshworks (USD 6.9 billion), the report added.

Despite witnessing an economic downturn in the first half, it has been an exciting and tremendously promising year for tech startups. In terms of measuring scale for the ecosystem, our report is a clear validation of the value creation that has been achieved through technology innovation, both in terms of IPO and unicorns, Rehan Yar Khan, Managing Partner at Orios Venture Partners, said.

The report also noted that 20 percent of unicorn founders are non-engineers, two-thirds of the Indian unicorns have at least one or more founders from IITs, IIMs or ISB.

The report also highlighted that there are 13 female unicorn founders, 8 out of which have emerged in the year 2021 – Falguni Nayar (Nykaa), Gazal Kalra (Rivigo), Ruchi Kalra (OfBusiness), Divya Gokulnath (Byju’s), Ghazal Alagh (MamaEarth) and Saritha Katikaneni (Zenoti), among others.