The WHO has estimated that over 1 billion people experience some form of disability across the globe. With an ageing global population and with a rise in non-communicable diseases, it has been estimated that more than 2 billion people will need at least 1 assistive product by 2030, with many older people needing 2 or more. Despite this huge market requirement, as of today only 5-15% of the assistive technologies needs have been met.
The current products are extremely costly and is limited to serve the requirements of high income setting, leaving the rest disadvantaged and impoverished, forcing them to purchase poor quality devices that leads to secondary health complications and abandonment of the assistive device.
Thus, it is the need of the hour for interventions in the assistive market as it is brimming with huge potential for developing the right device. This can enable people with disability to live healthy, productive, independent and dignified lives, through equal participation in education, the labour market and active social life.
Today, many passionate innovators are trying to develop solutions for people with disabilities, however they must cross several valleys of death in their entrepreneurial journey. In this sector, the first valley of death appears at the idea/ prototype stage itself, because of the limited investment in research and development.
- Poor access to the end users, which not only limits the understanding of the problem statement among innovators and but also restricts rapid user feedback.
- Poorly Funded R&D infrastructure- This not only limits the funding needed for initial development but also limits the number of engineering and Design Centres that can provide expertise in designing, testing and certifying.
- Limited understanding of the existing value chain and of functioning of Assistive Technology market, which is also characterized by a weak supply chain infrastructure.
One of the ways to address this problem is to plug in the sectoral knowledge from the experts in the field during the early stages of product development, by providing easy access to the end users, and promoting existing R&D infrastructure to develop assistive solutions.
“Techtonic – Innovations in Assistive Technology” is a joint initiative of SBI Foundation and Social Alpha, and is designed to solve these sectoral gaps.
Techtonic Program is structured to support early-stage assistive (TRL 3+) technology innovators to include experiential, immersive, and instructional components that mimic the lifecycle of an enterprise. The program is designed to accelerate the start-up’s lab to market journey through series of support provided under Social Alpha incubation.
- Access to series of fund, ranging from ideating to prototyping to growth.
- Access to R&D labs for prototyping and infrastructure for scaled up manufacturing
- Access to mentors, incubation facilities and end-users for testing the product and validating the business model
- Network within the industry players such as NGO’s, rehabilitation centers and clinics
The program will select 10 startups that will be supported in accelerating their Lab to Market journey. Out of these ten startup- top 4 start-ups will receive a grant of INR 15 lakhs, along with incubation support for 1 year via Social Alpha.
Top 4 startups will receive the following support from the program –
Top 10 startups (Including the top 4) will receive Accelerator support for 3 months, which will include the following –
Any other need-based support mentioned in the offerings above and beyond those mentioned will be decided on a case-to-case basis, based on the assessment of the start-ups needs and stage, subject to qualification criteria and discretion of organizers.
Program Launch &
Call for Applications
22nd Dec, 2021
31st Jan, 2022
Evaluation & Due Diligence Rounds
18th Feb, 2022
28th Feb, 2022
3rd March, 2022
10th March, 2022
Frequently Asked Questions
Techtonic is a search for start-ups who have potential to create innovative products or systems that enhance the learning, working and daily living for persons-with-disabilities. To know more about the program, we request you to go through our frequently-asked-questions (FAQs) section:
Techtonic is a search for start-ups who have the potential to create innovative revenue-led products, equipment, or systems that enhance the learning, working and daily living for persons with disabilities. Only entities registered as start-up are eligible to apply for the program.
An entity shall be considered as a “Start-up” up to a period of 10 years from the date of incorporation/ registration, if it is incorporated as a private limited company (as defined in the Companies Act, 2013) or registered as a partnership firm (registered under section 59 of the Partnership Act, 1932) or a limited liability partnership (under the Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008) in India, and such entity shall be ‘owned and controlled’ by resident Indian citizens.
A company / partnership firm is considered as “owned” by resident Indian citizens if more than 50% of the equity interest in it is beneficially owned by resident Indian citizens and it is considered as “controlled” by resident Indian citizens if resident Indian citizens have the power to appoint a majority of its directors.
Entities registered as Not for profit will not be eligible for the program.
Yes, if you have a working product that is serving the needs of people with disabilities, and have an established entity, you are welcome to apply. Top 10 winners of the program will be required to participate in a 3 month long rigorous accelerator on site program between March to June 2022. It is recommended that the applicant take this into consideration at the time of submitting the application.
Yes, applicants can submit multiple applications, but each application must feature a distinct technology/process/innovation. However, in the final decision, only one application (if selected) will be considered per enterprise.
Applicants are encouraged to submit applications for affordable innovations that solve a real-world challenge faced by persons with disabilities. Innovations can be product, product or systems based, but must be directed towards enabling inclusion of PwDs.
Among the top 4, only one startup will be select per below category-
- Visual Impairment
- Speech and Hearing Impairment
- Developmental disorder and chronic neurological conditions
- Physical Disability
The program is designed to help innovators who are currently in product development stage and need support in user interaction, building network with the community, and preparing for Design for Manufacturing. The accelerator will be an excellent networking and sensitization platform, and hence it has been made compulsory for top 10 winners to attend the accelerator.
The grant support is provided to only top 4 winners. However, the program is designed to maximize the offerings and support ideas in this sector, hence the program enables the following support to the top 10 winners.
- Product Development Accelerator Program: 3-month facilitator led course specially designed for early-stage entrepreneurs to understand disability specific problem statements, interact with end users, get exposure to new technologies, and incorporate into your solutions.
- Access to Social Alpha Open Innovation Platform: Validations/Access to prevailing problem statements and solutions in the assistive technology ecosystem
- Access to Social Alpha follow-on investments and funds- Selected start-ups will have access to Social Alpha investments and ATMA fund, subject to further diligence and approval
- Grant Support: Each Start-up receives a grant of up to INR 15L.
- Dedicated Portfolio Management: Access to Social Alpha, a team of innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, and analysts with deep domain expertise in Assistive Technologies and Sectoral Problems, provides hands-on support to each start-up for a period of 1 year.
- Product/Engineering Support: Facilitation of Design for manufacturing through a proprietary national network of identified vendors and validations by clinical centres.
- Regulatory Support: Product certification and regulatory approval guidance via a proprietary network of expert consultants and service providers.
- Product Strategy review and GTM: Deep hands-on support to establish product-market fit, product road map advisory, go-to- market planning, and customer value fulfilment.
- Social Alpha Knowledge Services: Access to renowned industry experts for mentoring and knowledge session
- Access to Assistive technology Ecosystem: Access to end users (PwDs), NGO’s, Funders, Distributors in the space for user testing, fundraising and venture development
This will be determined on a case-to-case basis. Some amongst the top start-ups of the program might be considered for follow-on funding by the Social Alpha’s investment committee, subject to due diligence, and upon mutual agreement on terms of engagement.
Yes, the top start-ups can find other funding partners.
- Launch Date/ Application Start Date: 22nd Dec, 2021
- Application Deadline: 27th Jan, 2022
- Results Announcement: 3rd March, 2022
- Cohort Starts 10th March, 2022
No, applications submitted post the stated deadline will not be considered for evaluation. There are no possibilities for lateral entry into the program.
Terms and Conditions
Please read the following terms and conditions before submitting your entry:
- Any individual or group of individuals, representing a start-up, who have an innovative idea that addresses challenges faced by persons with disabilities (PwDs) in India (though not exclusively), are eligible to participate. An entity shall be considered as a “Start-up” upto a period of 10 years from the date of incorporation/ registration, if it is incorporated as a private limited company (as defined in the Companies Act, 2013) or registered as a partnership firm (registered under section 59 of the Partnership Act, 1932) or a limited liability partnership (under the Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008) in India, and such entity shall be ‘owned and controlled’ by resident Indian citizens. A company / partnership firm is considered as “owned” by resident Indian citizens if more than 50% of the equity interest in it is beneficially owned by resident Indian citizens and it is considered as “controlled” by resident Indian citizens, if resident Indian citizens have the power to appoint a majority of its directors.
- Participating or proposed start-ups should be independent entities, meaning that they should not be a subsidiary of an existing corporation or have legal ties to any government body. Techtonic is not open to individual innovators, unless they apply on behalf of or represent a startup, as defined above.
- Techtonic is designed to support innovators and to fund for research and product development. Thus, only innovators with working prototypes or above levels should apply.
Submissions and Participation
- Incomplete Submissions will be deemed void and disqualified from the evaluations.
- Submissions should be the original work of the participant/ participating entity and should demonstrate positive sustainable and scalable impact for persons with disabilities in India (though not exclusive to the region).
- Participants who are determined to be ‘Finalists’, ranked in the top 10, will need to assign at least one co-founder to be present for the final round of evaluations. If the final evaluation event is held offline, at least one co- founder needs to attend the event in person.
- Finalists agree to allow the use of details of their enterprise, including their names, photographs, disclosure of their country of residence; and are required to cooperate with any other reasonable requests by the organiser relating to any publicity-related activities.
- Finalists are required to submit a declaration of good standing and solvency at the final stage of evaluation. If there is any change in circumstance that invalidates their good standing and solvency, the team is to immediately inform the organisers.
- All participants own the rights to their ideas. Participants must properly acknowledge any trademarked, patented or copyrighted materials of others that are incorporated into their submission materials. Participants are responsible for obtaining any necessary permissions before utilizing such materials into their submissions. All content used by the participants must not in any manner be unlawful or defamatory and shall at all times be in compliance with applicable laws.
- Submitted ideas are protected in the spirit of non-disclosure, and all submitted materials will be treated as company confidential. The only people with access to the entry materials will be judges and select members of the organising committee. Materials will not be distributed to any other party unless requested by the participant. No other provisions are made to protect intellectual property.
- Participants are advised not to disclose critical information which would affect a successful filing of patent(s). All final day presentations are open to the general public, and some presentations may be videotaped. Attendance by media personnel is expected in the final stages of the program. Any data or information discussed or divulged in public sessions by participants should be considered information that will, in all likelihood, enter the public realm, and entrants should not assume any right of confidentiality in any data or information discussed, divulged or presented in these sessions .
Decisions Regarding the Grant Recipients
- The selection of the ‘Grant Recipients’ is at the sole discretion of the judges and the organisers from Social Alpha and partnering organisations. Best efforts will be made to make decisions in accordance with this document
- Throughout any and all phases of Techtonic, all decisions by the judges are final.
- Startups will be evaluated across multiple stages, and applicants will be intimated about being rejected or moving to the next stage.
Disqualification and Organiser’s Right to Amend Competition Rules
- The organisers of the Techtonic reserve the right to disqualify any participant who is found to have violated the spirit of the Techtonic Program’s guidelines and terms and conditions stated herein. Disqualified participants shall be asked to forfeit any and all grant support or any other support awarded to them.
- The organisers reserve the right to amend these rules at any point before the closing date of the program in line with the overall goal of Techtonic.
- The indicated dates for the program may be revised at any point of time by the organisers. Any change in schedule will be suitably intimated on the Techtonic program webpage and on other relevant platforms.
For any assistance needed in filling the form, please reach out to us at