Six Women-Led Energy-Linked Startups from POWERED Accelerator’s First Cohort to receive $10,000 Seed Fund

POWERED Accelerator, a first-of-its-kind entrepreneurship programme, globally, focusing on women-led businesses in the energy value chain, set up as a joint initiative of Shell Foundation (a UK based charity).

The UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID), Government of India’s Department for Science and Technology (DST); and managed by Zone Startups Indiahas announced a seed funding of $10,000 for 6 of the shortlisted startups from its first cohort of 10 startups.

The six women led startups selected for the seed fund are:

Cellerite Systems – A startup developing an innovative Electric Vehicle charger that focuses on reducing the charging time of the vehicle, thereby increasing the travel range of these vehicles.

Loans4SME– An alternative lending platform that connects energy businesses with debt providers.

HoneyComb Inventions – A startup that aims at enhancing the duration of power back up supplies of healthcare facilities.

Kumudini Enterprises– A startup completely run by women, providing energy services and devices in rural communities, with a special focus on Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).

Upcycler’s Lab– A startup that makes sustainability-based learning tools for children above the age of five. They aim to create awareness and educate children on the need for sustainability in accordance with UN SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production.

Taru Naturals– A network that connects farmer communities with clean technology and renewable energy.

POWERED Accelerator recently showcased their first cohort of women-led start-ups and their innovative technology solutions to an audience of investors, corporates, multilaterals, government representatives, and CSR heads at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi on September 6th, 2018.The cohort includes a diverse set of 10 start-ups, with technology applications addressing issues across mobility, energy access, energy finance, sustainability awareness, healthcare, and food security.  

Jan Thompson, British Deputy High Commissioner, inaugurated the day with a special keynote. In her keynote, she highlighted that as partners, DFID believes that the provision of affordable, reliable modern energy products and services to women provides a huge opportunity to unlock the potential to improve the lives of their families for generations.

An esteemed panel of jury and the audience present assessed the cohort pitches on the day as part of the seed fund evaluation process.  They evaluated the cohort on Transformative concept and technology, scalability potential, entrepreneur/team strength, role of seed fund in start-up’s growth journey and communication skills. The jury included

  • Dr. Anita Gupta, Scientist G, and Associate Head, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, DST, Govt. of India;  
  • Sam Parker, Global Director, Shell Foundation;
  • Anna French, Deputy Head, DFID India, and Team Leader Urban, Energy and Green Growth Team;
  • Suhela Khan, Program Coordinator, UN Women India;
  • Vikas Bali, CEO, Intellecap;
  • Shailesh Vikram Singh, Managing Partner, Massive Fund;
  • Digvijay Singh, COO, Indian Angel Network;
  • Jarnail Singh, India Director, The Climate Group;
  • Sai Krishna, CEO, NSFI India;
  • Pankaj Agarwal, Founding Angel, CIO Angel Network.

Deepak Goel, Business Development Advisor from Shell Foundation said, “Shell Foundation is excited to see the first POWERED Accelerator cohort of 10 passionate and talented women entrepreneurs. These women are leading the way in access to energy in India with high impact businesses which have huge potential to scale.”

The objective of the programme is to support selected ventures expand their innovative and consumer-responsive services, products and financing by taking them through an accelerator programme that includes validation, peer network, mentorship, industry connects, and access to investors. HDFC Bank, Microsoft Corporation and L&T Public Charitable Trust are  partners for the programme and supporting the cohort by providing infrastructure and mentoring support and exploring suitable synergies with them.

Srujana Raghupatruni, the founder of Cellerite, a company aiming to increase electric vehicle adoption, said, “Getting to be a part of the first cohort of POWERED Accelerator is a pleasant feeling, to know there are like-minded peers and to meet awesome mentors. It feels great to be part of this ecosystem, that wasn’t available before; unlike in the case of tech startups, which have many such avenues.”
Ajay Ramasubramaniam, Director of Zone Startups India thinks “POWERED adds a great deal to the portfolio of work being done by Zone Startups India, with women entrepreneurs. Also, given the theme of energy, it adds a new dimension to our expertise of working with startups; which otherwise has been largely in the tech domain. We have been super impressed with the cohort, and their overall participation in the programme, and see this as a starting point of building a strong ecosystem of energy sector entrepreneurs in India.”

The programme is now accepting applications for its second accelerator cohort and for the one-week residential boot camp meant for idea stage solutions. More details can be found on