Popular messaging platform WhatsApp has invested $250,000 into the startup ecosystem in India. This move comes as the company plans to help the Indian entrepreneurial community connect with their customers and expand their business.
The messaging platform will provide 500 Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) approved startups with $500 worth of Facebook ad credits. With these ad credits, the companies can create ads to invite customers to open a chat on WhatsApp. This will deepen connections between the companies and customers and increase sales, WhatsApp said in a statement.
Only start-ups that are at an early traction or scalable stage and are recognised by the DPIIT will be able to avail the ad credits. Once the registration - on a first-come-first-served basis - is complete, the first 500 entries will receive the Facebook ad credits worth $500.
This investment comes on the heels of the Startup India-WhatsApp Grand Challenge that led entrepreneurs to develop India-specific solutions keeping in mind its impact on the socio-economic fabric of the country. The winners received $50,000 or Rs 35 lakh each.
Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp India said, "Startups and small businesses are the lifeblood of Indian communities and are a powerful driver of local economies. India's entrepreneurs are at the forefront of bringing impactful social and economic change, and we at WhatsApp are committed to providing them support in achieving success."
Deepak Bagla, CEO & MD, Invest India said that India is at an inflection point as the second-largest community of startups in the world. "Our focus has always been to support the ecosystem and promote innovative solutions to today's challenges. The Startup India portal has played a pivotal role in enabling the ecosystem to drive inclusive growth and we're constantly working to support the next generation of Indian innovators with partners like WhatsApp," he said.
Around 5 million businesses around the world already use WhatsApp, out of which a million are in India. The platform has also rolled out its business profile feature.