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ONDC announces ‘Build for Bharat’ nationwide initiative towards driving big-impact digital commerce solutions

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New Delhi, December 5, 2023: The Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), in collaboration with Google Cloud India, Antler in India, Paytm, Protean and Startup India announces ‘Build for Bharat’ initiative. The initiative aims to tackle diverse challenges in digital commerce, promoting industry innovation to develop practical solutions in this space.

‘Build for Bharat’ intends to tap into India’s technological and entrepreneurial potential with an expected participation of 200K+ participants representing startups, companies and colleges. Prioritizing participative and ecosystem-driven framework, the initiative is organized at a national-scale across 50+ cities with top experts, leaders, VCs and incubators onboard.

To kick-start the initiative, an event took place on December 4, unveiling the problem statements for participants and extending an invitation for registration. Covering Retail, Mobility, F&B, Financial Services and Logistics sectors, the initiative is designed to deliver three distinct outcomes as follows:

● Category 1 — ‘NextGen Ventures’’ is designed to supercharge venture creation on ONDC. Open to aspiring founders exploring multiple ideas or early-stage founder teams working on an idea, this track provides a pathway to raising capital, launching, scaling companies, and incubating new businesses.


● Category 2 includes Scalable solutions and invites participation from organizations or individuals including students with focus on solving friction points faced by Network Participants.


● Category 3 includes Foundation solutions, exclusively for college students (18+) to identify proof of concept for the friction points faced by NPs.

Prizes and Collaborations:

Category 1 winners in ‘NextGen Ventures’ will enjoy exclusive opportunities from Antler in India and mentorship from industry stalwarts. They receive a chance to avail equity-free grants of up to INR 5 Crores. Winning teams also gain the opportunity to join Antler Residency, opening avenues for potential VC funding. This residency program not only offers capital but also serves as a platform for early founders to validate their ideas, build their teams, and launch and scale their companies. Moreover, Google India will provide shortlisted teams with Cloud credits accompanied by valuable tech guidance.

Category 2 eligible winners are slated to receive Cloud credits from Google Cloud India for shortlisted teams and also for eligible winning startups.


Category 3 winners benefit from Google Cloud India’s contributions, including Cloud credits for shortlisted teams and also credits for eligible winning startups.

T Koshy, MD and CEO at ONDC, said, “We are excited to organize this nationwide initiative focused on building innovative solutions for India’s rapidly growing digital commerce ecosystem. Initiatives like ‘Build for Bharat’ will unleash the talent and potential of India’s startup and student community to drive meaningful impact at scale. Through grants, investments and recognition, we hope to nurture the best ideas into sustainable businesses.”

Bikram Singh Bedi, managing Director at Google Cloud India, said “Google Cloud is committed to empowering India’s entrepreneurial energy and technical capabilities. The ‘Build for Bharat’ initiative, provides a platform to develop scalable solutions that can transform the digital ecosystem on a large scale. By bringing together students, startups and businesses, we aim to foster collaboration and innovation towards an inclusive digital economy.”

Nitin Sharma, Partner and Co-founder, Antler in India, said, “At Antler, we were one of the first VCs to go very deep into a thesis on the game-changing potential of ONDC, asking ourselves whether it could do digital commerce what UPI did to payments. E-commerce requires moving atoms, not just bits, and also requires aggregation of a large number of small players. ONDC has a massive vision around reimagining and unbundling commerce, and we are committed to making more investments into the space. Through the ‘Build for Bharat’ initiative, we want to enable high-potential Indian founders with resources, an expert network, community and capital to build on ONDC.

Sudhanshu Gupta, Senior Vice President, Paytm said “As a buyer and seller network participant for ONDC, our mission is to bring the power of e-commerce to every seller and buyer in the country. Paytm se ONDC Network has gained massive popularity among users by unlocking the power of the inter-portable network through pricing and availability. We are excited to be a part of the ‘Build for Bharat’ initiative which aims to foster innovation and address the diverse challenges within the digital commerce landscape. This pan-India initiative will bring together the best minds in the country who will fuel a surge of innovative ideas to shape the future of digital commerce in India.”

Suresh Sethi, MD and CEO, Protean eGov Technologies said “’Build for Bharat’ is a brilliant initiative to bring together students, startups and businesses to unlock Bharat’s technological and entrepreneurial capabilities. As pioneers in creating DPIs for the nation, we are delighted to be a part of this collective effort that helps us further our mission of enabling population scale digital, social and financial inclusion through technology.”


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