HDFC Bank SmartUp Grants to 21 Social Sector Start Ups

The HDFC Bank recently announced the winners of the SmartUp Grants, 2021. This is the fourth edition of the SmartUp Grants of HDFC.

Key Highlights

  • Around twenty-one startups that are working in the social sector have been selected to receive the grants.
  • The startups were selected through rigorous screening of three hundred applications received from different parts of the country.

About SmartUp Grants

  • The SmartUp Grants was first instituted in 2017. In the last four years, HDFC has supported more than eighty-seven startups. It has disbursed Rs 19.4 crores under this initiative.
  • HDFC provides preference to the startups working in the field of skill development and education.
  • To shortlist the winner, the HDFC bank has partnered with IIT Delhi, IIM Kashipur, AIC-BIMTECH, IIT BHU, GUSEC, C-CAMP, Banasthali University, etc.
  • The criteria used to evaluate the startups are sustainability of the idea, how does the idea benefit the society, potential to scale up and uniqueness of the project.


Funding is the major challenge faced by the startups in the country. The other challenges faced are corruption, securing loans and bureaucratic inefficiencies. Startup also face pressure over controversies in tax, especially in Angel Tax.

What is Angel Tax?

Angel Tax is the 30% Tax that are levied over the funding received by the startups from an external investor. This tax was introduced in 2012 mainly to fight money laundering. However, it is levied only when the startups receive angel funding higher than its “fair market value”. The issue around Angel Tax is that there is no objective way to measure “fair market value” of a startup.

Startup in India

India now has more than 38,756 startups. Also, India is the third largest tech startup hub in the world.




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