The hackathon with a prize pool of Rs 1 crore, will close applications on October 9 with a mega finale on December 1 after participants are evaluated over three rounds.
Aside from the cash prize, winners will receive business mentorship from leaders at Airtel and WhatsApp across product, engineering and business functions. The winners will also get free conversations on the WhatsApp Business Platform and access to WhatsApp API, helping them reduce their operating costs.
Furthermore, a select few startups will be onboarded in the Airtel Startup Accelerator and with funding in the range of $500,000 to $2 million.
The company said it is the first telco in the world to receive a Business Service Provider (BSP) license from Meta through WhatsApp, that allows them to provide services like building chatbots for businesses on the WhatsApp business platform.
The company has so far serviced more than 100 businesses across travel and hospitality, e-commerce, and banking and finance.
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Airtel Digital CEO Adarsh Nair said the cloud communications market in India stands at Rs 12,000 crore and is expected to grow 1.5x to Rs 18,000 crore in 2025.
Airtel IQ already hosts 250 billion call minutes and 60 billion messages per year, delivering voice, messaging, video and contact center services as part of its cloud communications portfolio to businesses.
The company offers both raw APIs to developers to leverage for their businesses or as turnkey solutions to clients that do not have the expertise but need to scale up their customer reach.