25 Winners Get noticed by the Who’s Who in the Start-up Community
Access the state-of-the-art Incubation space @CI-TIC, for Customized Start-up services from India’s pioneering Tech. Incubator TREC-STEP, here in Chennai.
50 Lakhs* in Seed support for Top 10 start-ups


  • Global

  • World class
    Incubator facility

  • Technology and business mentors

  • Access to

  • Knowledge

About Ci-tic

CI-TIC offers a strong platform for young tech Start-ups, from where they can achieve their Start-up dreams, explore collaborations, innovation and new business opportunities in the broader technology ecosystem. CI-TIC facilitates an environment where new tech business gets done!

CI-TIC, an initiative of TREC-STEP, the country’s first and pioneering Technology Business Incubator. Over 30 years of intense incubation experience, empowering over 250 aspiring entrepreneurs from start to scale, has taught us many valuable lessons that are now encapsulated as Incubation packages and unleashed as customized, need-based services to budding Chennai ventures. The aspiring tech Entrepreneurs receive a wealth of nurturing inputs from CI-TIC’s curated team of business mentors, domain experts, investors and other start-up stakeholders, hand-picked from its vast network of Specialists, Research Institutions, Academia and Investor community, including experienced Indian diaspora professionals, strategically built over decades. CITIC’s experts provide crucial insights leading these New Exciting Technology ventures through a defined path, towards achieving their targeted mile-stones successfully, leveraging their venture growth and performance in the global markets.

Besides the vital knowledge share sessions and work-shops, CI-TIC offers Seed fund support at the critical early stages and a comprehensive range of physical supports to new Entrepreneurs, such as state-of-the-art Incubation space, including 35 modern plug and play workstations, high-speed internet, discussion rooms, conferencing facilities, common prototyping facilities and others, all in an engaging and collaborative environment amidst a vibrant community of start-up founders and dedicated Incubation managers, always ready to lend a helping hand.


  • Technology

  • Labs, Testing,
    Prototyping facilities

  • IP, Legal,
    Financial etc

  • Common
    Production facilities

  • Customized
    Incubation services

  • Modern
    work space

  • Bootcamps and

  • Indo - US
    innovation bridges

  • Investor

  • Strategic
    Mentor Connects

Chennai Next Start-up Challenge 2018 - TOP 25 Finalists

  • Ayyavu Home Appliances
  • B-Aegis Life Sciences & Research Private Limited
  • Beez Innovation Labs Private Limited
  • Botclub Private limited
  • Coflourish Food & Beverages pvt ltd
  • Entra Mechatronics Pte Ltd
  • Estreetz
  • FindInbox Private Limited
  • FinOS Technologies
  • Hivericks Technologies private limited
  • Kogito Design Solutions India Pvt. Ltd.
  • Kuppaikaran
  • Matrix Nano
  • Nellisery walls and panels
  • NeoDIGItech Enterprises LLP
  • Pay4printz services pvt ltd
  • S and G Innovators
  • Sciencotonic
  • Starbounty
  • Surfaceinsight Technologies Private Limited
  • TieTran Cycleloop
  • Tracklio
  • Vibrathon Technologies
  • Xongl Cloud
Chennai Next Start-up Challenge 2018 TOP 50 Finalists


The Chennai NEXT Start-up Challenge is a prestigious Start-up Competition designed to provide global scale-up opportunities and leveraging platforms for aspiring New EXciting Technology (NEXT) start-ups of Tamil Nadu, across diverse industry sectors. This Challenge is conceptualized by TREC-STEP, India’s first and pioneering Technology Business Incubator, having successfully incubated over 250 vibrant start-ups primarily in the deep-tech space and implemented by its Chennai Innovation and Technology Incubation Centre, CI-TIC. This Challenge is supported under TREC-STEP’s NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission EIC Project. CI-TIC’s customised mentoring and curated Investor and other resource networks, shall propel the participating tech start-ups into the global markets, successfully.

Applicants with relevant expertise, aspirations and capability to take their innovative tech products to global markets, will be supported with intense Incubation support, focussed mentoring and training, access to funding, etc, on attaining agreed milestones and other customized supports. This Chennai NEXT Start-up Challenge provides Innovators and Tech entrepreneurs a platform to showcase their innovative products/services to the who’s-who in the Start-up world. Participants gain global visibility and connections with key players in the tech innovation network and a vibrant peer community of fellow entrepreneurs, helping these novel tech products find new markets and grow their clientele. Top 10 start-ups shall be eligible for seed funding based on the recommendations of the eminent Jury panel, by CI-TIC. The top 25 semi-finalists will be provided pitching opportunities with the Angels/VC/institutional investors on CI-TIC’s panel.

The applications are open until October 30th, 2018.

Details of the Shortlisted Winners will be notified.

The Challenge organizing committee reserves all the rights to modify the scheme as and when required, without prior notification.

  • All Start-ups/ proposed Start-ups offering a new innovative technology solution (Product or service or process innovations.)
  • Any Individual or team with an innovative product/process idea who is working towards the Proof-of-concept stage or having a prototype or a tested and validated the technology.
  • The start-up is in early-stage or plans to incorporate within a year.
  • The Product has good market potential and a strong impact on the targeted industry sector/s or consumers.
  • Creates new jobs and benefits for society and the environment, overall.

All Technology based start-ups are eligible and the domains/tracks for the Chennai NEXT Start-up Challenge 2018 have been deliberately kept broad, to allow for new innovations and out of the box solutions. The following distinct tracks are identified and also an ‘Other Tech sectors’ track is included. Participants should clearly choose one of the tracks when registering for the Challenge.

  • Energy
  • Food, Agriculture and Environment
  • Industry 4.0
  • New Materials
  • Smart Mobility
  • Biotech
  • Data & AI
  • Defence Tech
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Any Other Technology sectors

The Top 50 most promising and scalable start-ups will be selected by Chennai NEXT Jury panel and are invited to the Chennai NEXT Grand Finale to interact with prominent Members of the Start-up community, such as sector specific Investors, top Industry experts, Entrepreneurs, CI-TICs Incubation managers and fellow founders.

Top 25 semi-finalists are invited to the Pitch Day, which will take place few days before the Grand Finale, where they will have the opportunity to pitch in front of eminent Jury panellists including Investors and, while competing for the 50 Lakh Seed capital. One-on-one meetings and feedback from top-tier Jury panel is also planned.

The Top 10 shall be eligible for the Seed funding support after meeting all the due-diligence criteria. Jury’s decision, to award Seed fund to fewer start-ups and to fix the amounts disbursed to each start-up, shall be final.

Incorporated applicants showing capability and commitment to be able to produce functional prototypes and take it to market will be awarded seed support, strictly on a milestone basis and starting in the form of equity/debt/other relevant structures.

The exact amount and mode of each seed package shall be decided by the eminent Challenge Jury, based on the pitch, the application contents and business plan. The Challenge Organizing committee reserves the right to modify the rules and guidelines, as and when required, without prior notification.

Please watch this website periodically for latest updates.

All 25 semi-finalists are eligible for the following

  • entirely free use of the state-of-the -art Incubation facilities at the Chennai Innovation and Technology Incubation Centre, CI-TIC, Kilpauk, for the First 6 months, after selection as a Semi-finalist, to fine tune their Business strategies for growth. Customized services to suit individual start-ups shall be provided by experienced Incubation managers, domain experts and business and tech mentors.
  • Subsequent, heavily subsidized rates for next 6 months, for use of the state-of-the -art Incubation facilities at CI-TIC, Kilpauk . Access to start-up resources shall continue.
  • Free entry for all training workshops and knowledge share events organized by CI-TIC, for start-ups, for a year.
  • Free entry for Investor Round tables and Pitching sessions for next stage funding, for upto 2 years.

There are 3 main phases for selecting the Finalists. Selected Applicants will be informed at each step.

  • Top 50 selection – The Chennai NEXT judging committee will select the 50 best start-ups based on the completeness and quality of their online application.
    • Further detailed information will be sought from the 50 pre-selected candidates for the next round selection.
    • One-to-one mentoring sessions will also be organized, in-person or telephonically, for 50 selected start-ups/innovators.
  • Selecting Top 25 Semi-Finalists – The judging committee will select 25 Applicants based on the Challenge Selection criteria, detailed below. These semi-finalist start-ups will be invited to pitch on the Pitch day before an eminent panel. This shall be held before the Grand Finale Event.
  • Selecting Top 10 winners –The eminent Jury, made up of investors, incubation managers, tech experts, and others in the field, will select the Top 10 winners after their pitches. They shall be recognized at the Chennai NEXTGrand Finale Event and shall be eligible for Seed funding of INR 50 Lakhs.

All Applications received will be reviewed for completeness in the preliminary round, by CI-TIC’s core Incubation Team. Thereafter the Applications will be reviewed by Chennai NEXT Challenge Jury, comprising eminent members - investors, entrepreneurs, incubation managers, Industry executives and other domain experts in their field, who will work under NDAs. The applications will be judged according to the following criteria:

  • Innovation: The Start-up/proposed Start-up must offer a product/service based on a new technology or have an innovative process to build a product.
  • Patent filed: The Technology should preferably be patentable, filing already done or underway.
  • Potential market impact: The Start-up must have good potential to make a substantial long-term impact in the market and/or society.
  • Leadership and Team strength: The Start-up applicant must have visionary leadership with a team / prospective team, with capabilities and commitment to drive the Start-up towards success.
  • Business Viability: The company should have a sustainable business model and well-formulated plans for scaling growth.
  • Jobs and other social and environmental benefits: Ability to provide local jobs for youth and women. The offerings should be clean and safe, with lower carbon footprints.

The Jury will rate and select start-ups based on the quality of the pitch deck and the complementary information provided by the start-ups after the semi-final selection rounds (1 page summary, B-Plan & pitch deck slides).

The Chennai NEXT Start-up Challenge is designed specifically for innovative tech start-ups, acknowledging their intense nurturing needs and specific resources needed for promoting ventures based on deep technologies. Backing this Challenge are a focussed group of experts in science and technology, including investors, seasoned Incubation executives, entrepreneurs and prominent Mentors, who have vast expertise and understanding of the needs and potential impact of innovative tech solutions being launched in the global markets. They shall continue to be part of this technology development and transfer continuum.

Another highlight of this Challenge is the ‘Indo-US Innovation bridge’, promoted by TREC-STEP and supported pro-actively by members of Tamil Nadu Foundation Inc., a US based diaspora organization of eminent Indian Technocrats, Professionals and serial Entrepreneurs, wanting to share their knowledge, strategic business advice and tech expertise, gained over decades, with budding Start-ups.

Thus, the Chennai NEXT Start-up Challenge 2018 provides a unique, golden opportunity for global visibility for early-stage start-ups with the right connections and bolstering supports, to truly make Chennai a go to city for New EXciting Technology – NEXT Start-ups, wanting to accelerate their innovations into the world!

Applying for the Chennai NEXT Challenge is entirely free of charge and taking up Physical Incubation is optional. Chennai NEXT Challenge does not require any action from the applicants apart from providing the completed application material and does not claim any kind of decision or power over the participants. However, in case of Seed support is provided, then the Start-up needs to be housed inside or virtually linked to the CI-TIC Incubator at Kilpauk. The Seed support may be operated in Debt or Equity mode, based on the preferences of the particular Start-up.

The Application information will only be available to the following individuals: The Chennai NEXT Organizing committee and our IT team, managing the online application process and our expert Jury members, who all sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement. However, if some information might be too sensitive (because of a pending patent), we advise that you refrain from sharing such specific technical details.

TREC-STEP is currently developing a network of local hubs across Tamil Nadu and strengthening its partner network, pan India. In this round of Chennai NEXT Start-up Challenge 2018, we are aiming to empower entrepreneurs from Chennai as well as from other regions of Tamil Nadu and helping them access growth opportunities within this ecosystem and gain global visibility. Few Hot desks may be available from time to time, within CI-TIC for interested Start-ups.

The Chennai NEXTGrand Finale is an exclusive, by invitation only event, dedicated to celebrating Innovators and tech Start-up founders. This is where the Top 10 finalists eligible for seed funding support will be announced.

The finalists will be recognized with Awards and Certifications and gain visibility among the who’s who in the global Tech network and Start-up community. They will have the opportunity to meet potential partners, investors, global mentors and the local deep tech community and the expert jury members.

All top 50 entrants are eligible to attend the event which also includes Keynotes and knowledge share sessions from eminent experts and leaders in technological innovation, expert panels discussions, etc, all aimed at early-stage start-ups and their growing concerns.

Please check the CITIC website for more information on dates, venue and other details, from time to time.

The Grand Finale brings together prominent leaders in emerging technology space and the Start-up world. This unique group of curated participants includes investors, founders, top Industry experts, scientists and researchers, policy makers and the media. Besides the top 50 applicants, the attendees shall be carefully selected by Chennai NEXT Organizing committee, for their ability to bring expertise to one or several of the industrial sectors represented by the Challenge’s tracks. Applicants shall not be charged for participating in this event, neither will Organizers pay for travel or allowances of Finalists/ Applicants participating in this event.


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