SocialCops, a data and analytics startup from India, has secured a seed fund of US$320,000 from Silicon Valley-headquartered startup accelerator-cum-early-stage VC fund house 500 Startups, and angel investors Rajan Anandan, MD, Google India and Manoj Menon, MD, Frost & Sullivan APAC.
The funds will be invested in scaling up the team.
The Delhi-based startup uses mobile phones to source ground level data regarding public infrastructure and access to services. It also empowers field workers via non-profit organisations to collect data through low-cost, internet-enabled smartphones, removing the reliance on traditional paper data collection and middlemen.
“SocialCops is taking Big Data in a direction that very few companies have been able to do — providing data and insights that can help solve real problems for most of the planet,” said Pankaj Jain, Venture Partner, 500 Startups.
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In India, most of the government benefits are not realistic due to loopholes in the system and the lack of data to help formulate a sustainable model. Most of the issues concerning millions of people are based on sample surveys of 100-200 people, thereby creating a flawed policy. With the use of tech, the startup aims to empower decision-makers with accurate data to address problems of public infrastructure.
“I am thrilled with the pioneering work that SocialCops is doing. We are limited only by our imagination in terms of how technology can address the challenges facing humanity. SocialCops is well-poised to play an important role in helping shape a better future,” added Manoj Menon, Managing Director, Frost & Sullivan APAC.
SocialCops aims to track parameters such as teacher attendance in public schools, quality of public infrastructure, and adherence and access to medical care on a continuous basis. According to the company, in the past eight months, it has already put mobiles to work on various intractable issues in India such as getting citizens to rate cleanliness on streets to creating public worker reward systems. It has also tracked patient misconceptions regarding cervical cancer and adherence to medication in pregnant women to aid resource allocation in healthcare.
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“The census in many developing countries occurs only once in 10 years and often the data is outdated before it can be used. We want to power even the census on a real-time basis by leveraging our non-proﬁt partners who reach the remotest parts of the world,” said Varun Banka, Co-founder, SocialCops.
The revenues for SocialCops mainly come from corporate and funding agencies through their marketing and corporate social responsibility budgets. The startup already has big companies such as Unilever and Michelin as its clients.