About the Challenge

The Qualcomm Design in India Challenge – 2021 and July 2021 - Mar 2022 is the sixth edition of the initiative by Qualcomm that was started in 2016 to encourage design houses and product companies to invent useful and innovative hardware product designs incorporating Qualcomm SoCs pl and technologies. It has been inspired by the tremendous potential of Smart Devices and products that can be built in the domains of Smart Infrastructure, Agriculture Technology, Industrial Automation, Wearables, Medical Technology and Rural IoT. In 2021, the challenge will look to enable 5G use cases and applications as well.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society, Qualcomm is glad to offer support to India’s technology ecosystem through Qualcomm Design in India Challenge 2021. In its fifth edition, with this design challenge, Qualcomm continues to spur the domestic hardware ecosystem which will positively impact the product ecosystem of design and enhance the manufacturing facilities in India.

Qualcomm Design in India

Program Benefits in QDIC 2021

  1. Prize Money: All shortlisted startups will get an initial grant of INR 1.6 Lakh at start of incubation period. Four months into the incubation, a mid-cycle review by Qualcomm will be held and those startups that meet the review requirements would be eligible for an additional grant of INR 1.6 Lakh. In March 2022, a jury pitching session will be held, and one winner and two runner ups will receive INR 65 Lakhs, INR 50 Lakhs and INR 35 Lakhs, respectively.
  2. Patent Filing Incentive: Qualcomm will reimburse each startup an amount of INR 1.6 Lakh for a full utility patent application filed with either the US PTO or India PTO in respect of the proposal for QDIC and during the incubation phase of the program (at the prevailing exchange rate). Limited to 2 patent applications per startup.
  3. Opportunity to be incubated at NASSCOM CoE for IoT: Qualcomm, at its discretion, can recommend up to 3 startups that will be given a combined total of 30 seat-months at a NASSCOM CoE for IoT at no cost to them without having to go through the standard application process.
  4. Accelerator Services: Qualcomm, through its partner, will offer accelerator services to all startups at no additional cost, which would include Diagnostic assessments, Workshop interventions on scaling parameters like operations, customers, competition, product, financials, org building and seeking investments. Startups are expected to travel for these workshops at their own cost.
  5. Government connects: Opportunity to connect with MeitY/DPIIT in person; meet and greet sessions would be scheduled. Travel cost is covered by Qualcomm.
  6. Participation at Industry Events: Opportunity to select startups to participate at relevant industry events either hosted by Qualcomm or those where Qualcomm participates. In the past, these have included Qualcomm’s 5G Summit in Hong Kong, India Mobile Congress (IMC) in New Delhi, Meet Taipei Startup Festival, Smart Cities Accelerate San Diego, etc. Typically, airfare and hotel are covered for domestic events and airfare only for international events.
  7. Access to Innovation Commercialization Fund: Starting last year, Qualcomm initiated an Innovation Commercialization Fund (ICF). For 2021, this fund size will continue to be of INR 60 Lakhs. ICF is available to all QDIC alumni startups and will be used for reimbursement towards one of more of the expenses incurred towards taking the product commercial – certification cost, costs incurred towards industrial design and manufacturing cost towards customer orders. Please see ICF Terms and Conditions for details.


Qualcomm Design in India Challenge 2021 is a single cycle incubation from July 2021 – Mar 2022.

  • Shortlist (May-Jun 2021): Up to 12 companies will be selected through a jury selection process in Bengaluru and will be awarded with an initial prize money grant of INR 1.6 Lakh.
  • Hardware Incubation (Jul 2021 – Feb 2022): Incubation of shortlisted companies at the Qualcomm Innovation Lab. Mid Cycle Review will be held in Sep 2020. Shortlisted startups that complete the Qualcomm review process will receive the second installment of the initial prize money in the amount of INR 1.6 Lakh.
  • Finale (Mar 2022): One winner and two runners up with the most promising products will be selected by a panel of jury members and receive cash award of INR 65 Lakhs, INR 50 Lakhs and INR 35 Lakhs, respectively.

Qualcomm Innovation Lab

Under the Design in India Program, Qualcomm will help the startup companies extend their design capabilities Qualcomm will extend its design capabilities through its innovation lab in Bengaluru. The labs will be supported by Qualcomm, enabling our shortlists to test and launch products using Qualcomm technologies, including those that use 5G technology.

The Innovation Labs will be leveraged by Qualcomm to help Indian startup companies design products locally, be it for domestic or international markets. The Innovation lab will also be leveraged by Qualcomm to design products specifically for India. Qualcomm will champion key initiatives to leverage technology and solutions along with its ecosystem partners, including the start-up community and government bodies to engage with industry verticals such as 5G, Smart Infrastructure, Agricultural Technology, Medical Technology and Rural IoT.

The Qualcomm Innovation Labs are unique, state-of-the-art incubation centers which will contain necessary tools and equipment to enable the shortlisted companies to design, layout, calibrate and bring up rapid prototyping and innovative product designs. The shortlisted companies will have an opportunity to procure different kinds of evaluation kits and development boards, along with the tools to optimize camera, audio, display, etc.

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