Startup sector draws star projects

The Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem is being nurtured by Startup India, the flagship initiative of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry

December 1, 2017

The 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit has reinvigorated momentum in India’s entrepreneurial sector

Amazon Launchpad kicks off multi-level challenge for aspiring start-ups

Boeing and Facebook have also launched specialised startup accelerator programmes

Speaking at GCCS 2017, PM Shri Narendra Modi said that India’s startups were looking to provide solutions to common everyday problems, and improving the lives of people

India’s startup economy has acquired renewed momentum over the past six months, if some of the announcements and profiles of partnerships visible in the space is any indication. The industry is being nurtured by Startup India, the flagship initiative of the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, under India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Meanwhile, the sector has received an additional impetus from the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2017, which was held recently in Hyderabad.

Speaking at the GES 2017 inauguration event, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi said that the Startup India programme was a comprehensive action plan to foster entrepreneurship and promote innovation. The initiative aims to minimise the regulatory burden related to starting a new business while providing support to entrepreneurs. The movement has led to the scrapping of over 1,200 redundant laws, while 87 rules related to foreign direct investment (FDI) have been eased in 21 sectors.

The Indian Government has also prioritised the online transfer of an increasing number of official procedures. These efforts have encouraged a vast portfolio of leading global companies to initiate investment or renew existing investment in the Indian startup space. Here are examples of India-focused start-up initiatives recently announced by international companies.

Amazon Launchpad

On the first anniversary of its Indian launch, is introducing a multi-level challenge for Indian startups. Launchpad is joining hands with HAX Accelerator, which claims to be the world’s first hardware accelerator, and crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to jointly launch Start-up C-Cube. Winners of multi-level challenge will be provided “concept-to-customer” support by the enabling trio, especially through Amazon’s wide e-commerce network. In addition, assistance also includes providing the wherewithal for a global launch in the US or Europe depending on the scalability of the idea.

The Startup India initiative has led to the scrapping of over 1,200 redundant laws, while 87 rules related to foreign direct investment (FDI) have been eased in 21 sectors

The Start-Up C-Cube partnership is unique because it brings together a hardware accelerator, a crowdfunding platform and an e-commerce site for identifying, funding and nurturing a product startup platform that catalyses innovation in product design, manufacture and use. In addition, the programme’s focus on product startups meshes simultaneously with the government’s Make In India and Startup India programmes.

Amazon Launchpad was introduced in India last year after a successful global launch. It has partnered with Startup India, Nasscom 10K and Indian Angel Network, among others, to help identify and enrol startups across India. Thereafter Amazon Launchpad has become a one-stop platform for startups to market, sell and deliver innovative products. Interestingly Amazon Launchpad has become the preferred platform for a large number of product innovations from India’s Tier-2 and Tier-3 towns such as Shillong, Indore, Surat, Aluva.

HorizonX

In a separate initiative, aerospace company Boeing has announced a 22-week programme called HorizonX India Innovation Challenge, which will invite Indian startups to solve complex challenges in autonomous and unmanned systems. The programme is expected to attract startups working in the areas of advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, internet of things and machine learning.

The learnings from the initiative can be used in multiple areas of the aviation industry such as drones, data application, factory productivity, aircraft maintenance and service, supply chain, passenger experience, and in commercial as well as defence aviation.

The programme is being rolled out in collaboration with technology incubator T-Hub, which is a public-private partnership between Government of Telangana, private sector leaders and three academic institutions—Indian Institute of Information Technology Hyderabad, Indian School of Business and the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research. According to a press release issued by Boeing India, the finalists will participate in a three-month accelerator program at T-Hub, where they will be mentored by Startup India, Boeing subject matter experts and industry experts to shape their ideas.

Facebook

The third announcement came from Facebook, which is launching India Innovation Hub (in partnership with T-Hub) and School of Innovation (in partnership with Start-Up Village Collective) to work with 10 (virtual reality) VR-focused startups. The selected enterprises will become part of a six-month accelerator programme that will provide access to Facebook’s resources of training, mentorship, workshops, research and its VR innovation lab.

Outside of USA, Facebook has the largest developer base in India. The two new programmes will run parallel to the existing initiative FbStart, which is also working with startups.

The Indian start-up economy has now attained some level of maturity with initiatives being seeded across industry verticals and technology spaces. Speaking last week at the Global Conference on Cyberspace 2017, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had said that India’s startups were looking to provide solutions to common everyday problems, and improving the lives of people. I am confident that the global investor community, will recognize the immense potential waiting to be tapped from India’s startup pool.”