Bharti Airtel launches Startup Accelerator

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 25, 2019

File photo   -  Bloomberg

Airtel has also acquired minority stake in Bengaluru-based tech start-up Vahan

Telecom operator Bharti Airtel (Airtel), on Friday launched the Startup Accelerator Programme to support growth of early stage Indian tech startups.

Through Airtel’s Startup Accelerator, early startups get access to Airtel’s online and offline distribution network, deep market understanding and ecosystem of global strategic partners, the company said in a statement.

In addition, Airtel has also developed strong in-house capabilities around machine learning and artificial intelligence which could be leveraged to aid the growth of startups. Furthermore, startups also get access to advisory services from Airtel’s executive team, it said.

The company has also acquired 8.8 per cent stake in Bengaluru-based tech start-up Vahan into its Startup Accelerator Programme.

"Airtel will acquire a stake in Vahan and partner with them in building significant scale to achieve their vision of enabling jobs for the next billion internet users," it said.

"With Airtel’s scale and digital capabilities around distribution and payments, we have the potential to drive accelerated growth of emerging startups that are solving hard problems. The team at Vahan is doing some incredible work to bring jobs to millions of people through AI based technology,” Adarsh Nair, Chief Product Officer, Bharti Airtel said.

Founded in 2016 and backed by YCombinator and Khosla Ventures, Vahan leverages advanced AI to match job seekers with employers inside messaging apps such as WhatsApp.

Published on October 25, 2019

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