4th January 2019 | WIEF Mumbai Conference
One of the largest India-focused business conferences in the world, the Wharton India Economic Forum (WIEF) comes back home to proudly host the 6th Annual Wharton India Startup Challenge (WISC). Since its inception, WISC has grown 20x and has been a successful platform for companies like Ketto, Zostel, and BabyChakra.
Past winners have gone on to raise over $50 million in funding from 20+ institutional investors.
WISC 2018 was conducted in January 2018 and saw a record 500+ applicants from as many as 24 cities across the country, battling to win $20,000+ in prize money.
WISC 2019 will be held in Mumbai on 4th January 2019 and will culminate with a big pitch by the top 10 teams to a panel of Indian VCs and entrepreneurs. Cash prizes and other incentives will be announced soon.
Besides being an amazing opportunity to showcase your startup before an audience of top investors and entrepreneurs, the startup challenge is an opportunity to win cash prizes alongside access to exciting perks
Awarded on Pitch Day to the startups chosen by judges and attendees
Pro-bono legal advice from our legal partners. Awarded to the two Winners.
Unparalleled access to renowned Wharton entrepreneurs and industry experts. Awarded to the two Winners.
Opportunity to be covered by our offline and online media partners. This has included CNBC, Economic Times, Yourstory among others in the past
Top 10 teams pitch their business ideas to conference attendees, sponsors, and a global media audience
Top 20 startups invited to WIEF Conference (Mumbai) to interact with investors and conference attendees as part of a formal startup exhibit
The startup challenge typically has 2 rounds, with 20 startups making it to the Pitch Day. The top 10 get to pitch live on stage and the top 20 (including top 10) also get a chance to be part of an exhibit, set up at the event venue, before an audience of investors and conference attendees.
WISC targets the next generation of businesses serving the Indian market. As a hallmark of the 22nd WIEF conference, the prestigious Startup Challenge promotes entrepreneurship in India by providing a global platform for startups working on highly innovative and groundbreaking ideas targeted towards the Indian market.
Only Startups (subject to eligibility requirements) with business ideas or business models featuring products and/or services targeting the Indian market can apply.
Applications are open to any early-stage entrepreneur, in any industry, from anywhere in the world with business ideas focused on a product and/or service targeting the Indian market. We accept early-stage startups.
We expect startups to be in pre-seed, seed or early growth stages. Established companies should not apply. As we define it, this means that your startup should apply only if:
For clarifications, please email us at :
Startup Challenge entries will be pre-screened by a panel of experts including top entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and investors. A detailed view of the process & deadlines is given here.
Two events across two very cool cities or something else blah blah blah
Breakfast & Registration
8:15 AM - 8:45 AM
8:45 AM - 9:00 AM
Speech by Dr. Amy Gadsden, Executive Director, Penn Global
9:00 AM - 9:15 AM
Opening Keynote : Dr. Marshall. M. Bouton (Director, Center for Advanced Study of India)
9:15 AM - 9:35 AM
Panel: Economics & Policy: Moderator: Rick Rossow (Wadhwani Chair, CSIS) Speakers: Vijay Iyer (VP & COO, MIGA), Nisha Biswal (President, US India Business Council), Josh Felman (Former Head IMF, India)
9:35 AM - 10:25 AM
10:25 AM - 10:45 AM
Panel: Blockchain & Cryptocurrency: Moderator: Vivek Chauhan (Wharton) Speakers: Kavita Gupta (Founding Managing Partner at Consensys), Jules Miller (Partner, IBM Blockchain Accelerator), Kevin Werbach (Blockchain Faculty Lead , Wharton Business School)
10:45 AM - 11:35 AM
Panel: Tech & Analytics : Moderator: Saikat Chaudhuri (Executive Director - Mack Institute) ; Speakers : Shekar Ayyar (Senior VP Corp Dev & Strategy, VMware), Anjan Lahiri (CEO, Birlasoft), Shaunak Roy ( Founder, Yellowdig)
11:35 AM - 12:25 PM
12:25 PM - 1:10 PM
Panel: Startups & Innovation : Moderator: Mukul Pandya (Editor-in-chief, Knowledge@Wharton) ; Speakers: Prasanna Krishnan (Founder, Smartypal), Gautam Tambay (Co-Founder and CEO Springboard), Sashi Reddy (Managing Partner, SRI Capital)
1:10 PM - 2:00 PM
Panel: Finance: Moderator: Dr Vinay Nair (Founder & Chairman ,55ip) ; Speakers: Bharat Poddar (Senior Partner, BCG), Tania Ahuja (M.D, US Operations, Arkera), Venkat Badinehal (M.D, RBC Capital Markets)
2:00 PM - 2:50 PM
2:50 PM - 3:10 PM
Closing Keynote: Teresa C. Barger (Co-Founder and CEO, Cartica)
3:10 PM - 3:30 PM
Closing remarks : WIEF Team
3:30 PM - 3:45 PM