NetApp announced the graduation of its fifth cohort as part of the NetApp Excellerator demo day in Bangalore, India. NetApp Excellerator is the company’s flagship startup accelerator program. Five technology startups, CloudSEK, Senseforth.ai, Lightwing, Coralogix and Curl Analytics, showcased their technology impact and market opportunity to an audience comprising of venture capitalists, industry leaders and the NetApp leadership team.
The program has so far mentored 29 B2B technology startups through five cohorts and has evolved to focus on a sponsored proof-of-concept (PoC) model. The PoC model gives the startups a platform to prove the potential of their solutions in the real-world. The startups and NetApp explore technology adjacencies to go to market together and help create technology that changes the world with data. All five startups are engaged in PoCs with NetApp.
Madhurima Agarwal, leader, NetApp Excellerator, said, what started out as a program has evolved into much opportunities with startups. We are giving them an opportunity to work with NetApp, test their product and go out to the real world. We had five startups as part of the program.
“All of them are leveraging the power of AI, and all have talented teams. We are mentoring them on the business and technical sides. The five cohorts are CloudSEK, Senseforth.ai, Lightwing, Coralogix and Curl Analytics. We have engaged deeply with 29 startups so far, of which three have successfully exited. There have been 10 technology alliance partners in less than three years. Coralogix is a startup from Israel and the four others are from India.
“India is the next junction for having unicorns. The pace at which we are growing is humongous. The startups are now a part of the NetApp journey. Its a two-way relationship. In terms of partners, we talk to people from India and across the globe. We partner with experts. We pay them for the PoCs and the time they spend with us. There is no binding on the startup.
The program has been in existence for less than three years. The first cohort emerged in 2017. Today, we are having more mature startups in the program. We move together at speed. As long as we understand what the startup needs and deliver that, there is great success. Startups also recognize the value they get by getting into the program. The program’s ultimate success relies on the success of the startups themselves.
Interestingly, all of the startups are leveraging AI. NetApp is focusing on AI security in the future. It is also creating different challenges. CIOs/CTOs are thinking about creating AI-powered defenses. New technologies are coming in fast. The startups also need to be data driven.
With new laws coming around data, the startups are making use of those. It will also help how the data is getting shared. Data has also got to be masked. Paid PoCs have also come up in this cohort. In the future, we want to make this more stronger. We will continue to mentor the startups. We pay a grant of US $15,000 to each startup.
Ravi Chhabria, MD, NetApp India, added that the ecosystem today is challenging and no one company can do it all. Now, the AI platforms are democratizing the way you can manipulate data. The ability to manage data and to extract value is important. The amplification is very heavy by entrepreneurs.
He said: “We’ve gone through a good journey. We can tap into the ecosystem, and there will be a very different scale. We don’t even force them to use our products. We see the value in growing the ecosystem. The technology platform needed to build their solutions are already there in the ecosystem. We are looking at growth.
“We are a MNC and have global experience. We have even invited people from the US to train the startups. You have to keep up. You can sell a lot of data from the systems of engagement. You can also make inferences. The use of data has already been amplified. Now, people are using and doing very intelligent things. They are also extracting meaning from volumes of data.”
Analytics is also a very sophisticated area. Every problem provides the opportunity to solve. Data can be used in many cases and ways that you may not be able to control. By adding protection, you can also gain public confidence.