BITS Pilani Initiates Disruptive Innovation in Indian Start-up Ecosystem

BITS Pilani’s ‘Conquest’ is a student accelerator programme that provides winning start-ups mentorship access by industry leaders.


As the number of start-ups in the Indian start-up ecosystem grows exponentially, many are unable to get access to industry leading mentorship and resources. Such start-ups struggle to make an impact, despite harbouring sustainable and robust ideas. Accelerator programmes are platforms that propel start-ups forward with the much-needed guidance and support that acts like the backbone in their growth. 

What is this programme?

BITS Pilani’s programme extends help to Indian start-ups to break into the entrepreneurial world which is currently riddled with a number of challenges. It’s a programme that’s working to boost the Indian start-up ecosystem as well as the market for lucrative start-ups that are getting government recognition. 

What is Conquest?

Conquest is an initiative by BITS Pilani with its 17th chapter currently in progress. It is India’s pioneering non-profit start-up accelerator run by students. It’s also a programme which is the largest of its kind in the country. Conquest provides start-ups in India access to mentors, investors, and a much-needed knowledge base. Start-ups get a chance to have one-on-one interactions with sector-specific mentors. Early-stage start-ups also enjoy individualised feedback and guidance. 

Beneficiaries of the Conquest programme

The beneficiaries of the Conquest programme are mainly aspiring founders. Start-ups backed by sustainable ideas with the potential to solve complex problems are being given the spotlight by Conquest. So far, the most interesting start-ups belonging to a variety of sectors and domains have been picked by Conquest. 

Application process for start-ups

This year’s edition of Conquest is currently underway. Registrations closed on the 25th of May for prototype and early-stage companies at the pre-funding stage. Start-ups can apply for the programme next year by registering on the official website, free of cost. Currently, the Online Mentoring Programme is underway for 15 shortlisted start-ups. 

The Mentoring Programme which is happening online will conclude on the 15th of July. The Grand Finale of the 17th edition of Conquest will take place on the 25th of July in Bangalore where winning start-ups can directly pitch their business models to industry leaders. 

Eligibility criteria for start-ups

The eligibility criteria for start-ups to be considered by Conquest for the accelerator programme are that they should be homegrown, domestic ideas or established businesses. They can belong to any industry sector and must have a team size between 1-20 members (as per Conquest 2020’s criteria). 

Sectors covered by Conquest

Some of the prominent industry sectors covered by Conquest include E-commerce, Packaging-as-a-Service (PaaS), social media (consumer tech) and data intelligence (enterprise tech), IoT based Smart Water Management, Agri-Tech, SaaS, Robotics, Health Tech, and the EV (Electric Vehicle) segment. 

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The Grand Finale of the 17th edition of Conquest will take place on the 25th of July in Bangalore where winning start-ups can directly pitch their business models to industry leaders.

What’s in it for me?

Indian start-ups need a strong supporting framework to disrupt and innovate. Through accelerator programmes like Conquest, your start-up can make an impact rather than just being in the side-lines. The valuable insights you will receive from industry leaders if your start-up is shortlisted will be beneficial in the long run. Also, the mentoring sessions on different aspects of business including product development, marketing, sales, design, growth, and user interface are a boon for start-ups. 

The opportunity to interact and obtain perspectives of industry leaders, founders and investors is a once-in-lifetime opportunity for start-ups. You also stand a chance to win INR 50 Cr in funding reserved by the programme’s investor partners for the Top 10 and above start-ups. Your start-up will also benefit from the media coverage if it goes through the final stages of the accelerator programme. Conquest is an esteemed platform and has produced highly successful start-ups in India like Trell and Social Cops. It’s recommended for start-ups to apply in the coming year.

Anju Nambiar
Anju Nambiar
Anju has 5 years of experience covering business. She writes on startups, business life cycle and startup ecosystem. Her stints include Amazon and Adjetter Media Network.

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