Google invites Indian startups for third Launchpad Accelerator program

Sep 8, 2016 0

New Delhi– US tech giant Google on Thursday asked for applications to attend the next session of its “Launchpad Accelerator programme” through which startups can utilise Googles mentorship and product access to scale business and capitalise on local markets, while also tapping into new global opportunities.

The “Launchpad Accelerator” is a specially-designed class to help startups in emerging markets find solutions to their business challenges and successfully scale.

“This is a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between Silicon Valley and emerging markets,” Roy Glasberg, Global Lead, Launchpad Accelerator, Google, said in a statement.

The startups that can apply for the programme have to be a tech startup aiming to solve a real challenge for the local market and should have proven market fit, essentially beyond the ideation stage.

The equity-free programme will begin on January 30 next year in San Francisco and will include two weeks of all-expense-paid training.

The applications can be submitted by October 24 at

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Start-up Deadpool in India: Government says it is only a lean phase

Sep 7, 2016 0

By Meghna Mittal

New Delhi–Despite reports claiming that a Start-up Deadpool is an Indian reality, with as many as 800 new tech ventures closing shop or on death row in the past 3-4 years, the government contends it is only a lean phase and far from a bust.

“I don’t see any bust or any such thing. Start-ups are in various fields, like healthcare, etc. Maybe the dotcom phase is not doing well right now. There is no bust, only a lean phase,” Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion Joint Secretary Shailendra Singh told IANS.

Data analytics firm Tracxn Technologies had recently compiled a list of close to 800 technology start-ups founded post-2011 that have failed or are shutting operations.

The list is similar to the one created by a website called F**ked Company after the internet bust of the early 2000s. The site itself was a take-off on a magazine called Fast Company and compiled a list of dotcom failures that came to be known as the Dotcom Deadpool.

On the Tracxn list — what could be called a Start-up Deadpool — for example, is online grocery store PepperTap, with $51.2-million funding, which has confirmed it is shutting down core operations, while start-ups like BeStylish, a fashion accessory online store, with $10 million funding, is already down and out.

“To make any detailed statement on the reasons for failure of these start-ups, we need to study the report. We will be talking to Tracxn this month to find out about the basis of the report, the reasons for failure, and analyse,” Singh said.

Talking about the likely reason for the failure of these start-ups, he said it could be their inability to scale up during a global slowdown.

“All start-ups need to be scaled up. In the global slowdown — seeing the grim market situation — the scaling up is not possible. But it is not a cause of worry as these are cyclical changes. But it (failure of 800 start-ups) is only a small story,” he said.

Tracxn, the Bengaluru-based firm, also says that the failure to scale up is one of the likely reasons for the shutdowns, as in the case of e-commerce and food technology start-ups that face a surge in digital marketing expenses due to increased competition.

“But they (the start-ups) failed to scale up due to standardisation or funding issues. Bigger players like Flipkart, PayTM, Snapdeal offer a better variety and price due to their scales and the amount of funding,” a Tracxn spokesperson told IANS.

“Replicating the foreign model without indigenisation, focusing on customer acquisition without becoming self-sustainable and ‘me-too’ syndrome of copying a popular format has led to many failures of startups,” says Amit Jindal, Partner, Felix Advisory.

“The Start-up Deadpool though is a reality but not a cause of worry,” added Nikhil Donde, Managing Director of consultancy firm Protiviti India.

“Experiementation and innovativeness are the keys to success for any start-up. The start-ups which failed (did so) either due to lack of funding, faulty business model or were mistimed against the market demand,” Donde told IANS.

On being asked if funding could be one of the reasons of failure, Industry Ministry’s Singh said, “No, funding is not an issue. Funds are constantly coming in through angel funding and venture funding. Government is also making available about Rs 2,500 crore funds every year for start-ups. In fact, it will be difficult for start-ups to absorb all the funds.”

According to research firm Preqin, $8.9 billion investments in 2015 were made in India via venture funds. But so far in 2016, only $3.2 billion has been invested in start-ups by venture capitalists.

“The funding surely saw a slight slowdown. For instance, in the first half of 2015 $2.9 billion was invested, while in first half of 2016 only $2.1 billion was invested. But the overall funding scene is not as grave. The early-stage activity has notably increased with many more micro funds and angels stepping up,” Tracxn co-founder Neha Singh told IANS.

Overall, it looks healthy for the eco-system because more number of companies are getting launching capital, but with more later-stage investors being cautious, it is forcing companies to rethink about getting their economics right early on in a more sustainable manner, she said.

Confident that the Indian start-ups story is still intact, Singh said: “We are regularly interacting with start-ups. There is a big boost to start-ups. We have to provide the right ecosystem for the start-ups, a common platform and hand-holding.”

The silver lining for the failed start-up teams is that corporates are looking at hiring of experienced entrepreneurial teams.

“Most founders of deadpooled companies have people with strong hands-on experience in knowing what works and doesn’t in a practice area or market. Failure is no longer a taboo, and the entrepreneurial mindset is highly valued among investors and corporates,” Tracxn said. (IANS)

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Petroleum Minister Pradhan urges state-run units to launch Start-up Funds

Sep 6, 2016 0

New Delhi– Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday urged the public sector undertakings to create start-up funds, as is being done by Indian private players, in order to promote innovation and nurture new ideas in the energy sector.

“I am advising my CEO friends in PSUs that if Ratan Tata can put his private funds for start-ups and if Narayana Murthy can do that for new start-ups, then why cannot you,” Pradhan said addressing a conference on methanol organised by the NITI Aayog.

Indian Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan

Indian Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan

“ONGC has already offered Rs 100 crore for start-ups. Can we create a synergy in innovation and this kind of start-up fund. This can be a win win situation for all of us. Let us create a platform for our young Indians and scientific brains,” he said.

On the occasion of its diamond jubilee this year, state-run explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) last month announced the launch of a Rs 100 crore start-up fund to incubate and foster new ideas for oil and gas sector development.

As part of the initiative called ‘ONGC Start-up’, the company will provide the entire support chain for start-ups including seed capital, hand-holding, mentoring market linkage and follow-ups.

According to Pradhan, an economy based on a clean fuel like methanol can create a lot of employment and entrepreneurship.

“The raw material (for methanol) should be coming from the Indian market. If we could monetise the agriculture waste and bio waste in urban areas to energy then there will be two benefits – sizeable reduction of health expenditure and our economy can be multi-fold,” he said.

“How do we reduce our import dependency. My ministry is ready to offer Rs 1 lakh crore business to scientific community. Now India is importing Rs 4.5 lakh crore worth of hydrocarbons. Technology is there. Blending of 85 per cent of ethanol in transportation fuel is possible,” he said.

In this connection, he noted that petroleum consumption is increasing in the country.

“Last financial year, where the prediction of petroleum consumption was 7-8 per cent, the actual growth was 11 per cent. Petroleum need is growing in a bigger way. Rural India is emerging in a big way. Petrol consumption is increasing in hinterland of the country,” he said.

On the occasion, NITI Aayog signed a Statement of Intent with the US Methanol Institute to work further on the technology.

NITI Aayog has set up an expert group to develop a roadmap for India to adopt the ‘Methanol Economy’ and this will explore various techno-commercial angles to enhance production of methanol through natural gas, high ash content coal and through bio, agri and municipal solid waste.

It will also draw out a technical roadmap to adopt both methanol and dimethyl ether (DME) as chemical feedstock and for power generation. (IANS)

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2017 Global Entrepreneurship summit to be held in India: Sitharaman

Aug 31, 2016 0

New Delhi– Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said next year’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit will be held in India and it will be co-hosted by the US.

Nirmala Sitharaman-Auf-16Talking to media after the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue between the two countries was held, Sitharaman said the two countries agreed on a programme which will entail US experts to come to India to provide momentum to entrepreneurship.

“India and US will co-host 2017 Global Entrepreneurship summit in India. It will create new opportunities for investment and partnership.”

The press conference was also addressed by External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, US Secretary of State John Kerry and US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

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Odisha aims 1000 start-ups in next five years

Aug 23, 2016 0

Bhubaneswar–The Odisha cabinet on Tuesday approved a new Start-up Policy 2016 targeting to set up 1,000 start-ups in next five years.

“The policy targets setting up at least 1,000 start-ups in the next five years attracting substantial venture and angel capital to the state with sizable attractive employment opportunity for the educated youths,” said Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi.

The government would make a budgetary provision of Rs 25 crore to set up a Start-up Capital Infrastructure Fund to encourage the start-ups in the state.

Besides, it would participate in the private state specific funds for start-ups to set up operations in the state, said Padhi.

With the state government envisaging to be amongst top three startup hubs in India by 2020, the policy aims to usher in an innovation and startup eco-system through the creation of world-class incubation centres, funding and a supporting incentive structure at par with other states.

The government would provide various incentives to the new ventures for their sustenance.

Universities and colleges would be eligible for one-time capital grant of 50 per cent of capital cost excluding the cost of building up to a maximum of Rs 1 crore to set up incubation facility, said the chief secretary.

An amount of Rs 10,000 per month would be provided to a start-up for a period of one year only if it has got the seed round funding approval.

Besides, reimbursement up to Rs 1 lakh per year for three years will be provided to institutions, incubators, and industries for providing free internet, free electricity, and mentoring services. (IANS)

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15-year-old behind carpool has new initiative

Jul 27, 2016 0

New Delhi– Fifteen-year-old entrepreneur Akshat Mittal, who helped daily commuters of the capital to solve the problem of carpooling with his, on Wednesday announced the launch of his second venture

Akshat is currently associated with Gurgaon-based carpooling app Orahi’s advisory board as a technical and domain expert following the acquisition of endeavours to bring its changemakers closer to everyday real-world problems faced by Indian citizens and assist them in addressing these concerns by devising innovative tech and non-tech solutions.

“When I was selected as an ‘Ashoka Youth ChangeMaker’ for, I was already thinking about the next challenge, how to initiate a bigger social change in India. I noticed how there existed no single repository where citizens can list all the issues that they face on a daily basis,” said Akshat.

“This was when we thought of creating a platform which brought together people who want a change and those who are eager to bring about the change came to my mind. Our mission is to get close to around one million citizens and changemakers on board across the nation,” he added.

Counted among one of the youngest entrepreneurs in the world, Akshat initiated after getting selected as an “Ashoka Youth ChangeMaker” by Ashoka Innovators for the Public — a network of social entrepreneurs in the world.

The portal, which will act as a web platform for Indian citizens to list their problems/issues, will also allow them to register as changemakers and contribute in successfully resolving social grievances through collective and collaborative efforts. (IANS)

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Karnataka unveils booster kit for start-ups

Jul 25, 2016 0

Bengaluru–Karnataka on Monday unveiled a booster kit to nurture start-ups in the state with funding and hand-holding till they flourish.

“The booster kit provides software tools, cloud credits, access to mentors, legal and consulting accountants and access to government funding and government supported incubators,” state IT & BT Minister Priyanka Kharge told reporters here.

Priyanka Kharge

Priyanka Kharge

Announcing Rs.400 crore funding over the next four years as grant or equity for start-ups, micro and small IT and BT (biotech) enterprises, he said the Karnataka Biotechnology and IT Services (KBITS) would also help them in marketing and promotion.

“The KIBITS will sponsor participation of start-up entrepreneurs to attend networking events at national and international levels, administer tax incentive and assist them in patent filing,” Kharge said.

The new minister also said he plans to hold an open house event every month for start-ups to interact with department officials for addressing issues related to their operations.

The first open house will be held on August 16 at the state-run 10,000 start-ups warehouse in this tech hub.

“Bengaluru is the second fastest-growing start-up ecosystem in the world and the only Indian city to be ranked among the best 15 start-up ecosystems the world over,” Kharge said.

The state government has also set up a cell in KBITS to implement policy initiatives and provide incentives for incubating start-ups.

“A start-up portal ( will soon be launched to educate prospective entrepreneurs on our policy and benefits being offered under the booster kit,” Kharge added.

In partnership with the IT industry’s representative body Nasscom, the state government has set up 725 seats to support incubators in the warehouse, in which 325 seats are available at subsidised rate for setting up start-ups.

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Friday is the Deadline for TyE-Boston Program

Jul 24, 2016 0

Pallavi Singh-TiECAMBRIDGE, MA—Deadline for applying for TyE-Boston program for high schoolers is July 29. Winners from TyE-Boston will participate in TYE Global Final Business Competition 2017. In addition, TiE-Boston gives away $10,000 in prize money to local winners, TiE-Boston officials said.

“We are excited to be able to accept 25 percent more students this year,” said Pallavi Singh, Chair of TyE-Boston. “We always get great applications, and hate turning away students.  Our ability to increase our class size so much this year is thanks to our dedicated teachers and mentors.”

A number of TyE-Boston teams have won in the global competition. Chillvax, the winning team from TyE-Boston 2016, won third place and $1,000 in prize money at the TyE Global Competition held in Portland, Oregon.  Chilvaxx strives to save lives by optimizing delivery of vaccines to rural areas with the aim to prevent disabilities and death due to lack of vaccines for preventable diseases.


“TyE gave me the opportunity to innovate and collaborate at a level I never attempted before. This innovation and collaboration gave me insight into handling team dynamics while developing an innovative product as well as a viable business model,” said Abhi Sambangi, CTO of Chilvaxx. “Through TyE I have been inspired to invent solutions to real world problems while keeping the value of social entrepreneurship in mind.”

In 2015, TyE-Boston team Bijli Energy won first place and $7,500 in prize money at the TyE Global Competition held in Atlanta, GA.  Bijli Energy is a social enterprise with the idea to implement Micobial Fuel Cells that generate electricity from organic waste in the 25,000 villages in India that don’t have access to electricity.

In 2013, TyE Boston team Aajit Power won first prize audience choice and 3rd overall. Aajit Power produces centrifugal cylindrical turbine units for trucks mounted inside aerodynamic enclosures known as fairings. The product converts the kinetic energy from the incoming air particles into electricity that is used to charge the battery of the truck, thereby reducing the use of fossil fuels.

Anu Yadav

Anu Yadav

“We get such a diverse range of applicants for TyE every year and it’s so amazing to witness the progress they make from the start of the program to the final pitches; It is never too early to learn skills that help entrepreneurs,” said Anuradha Yadav, Executive Director, TIE-Boston. “Any high school student who is interested in learning about entrepreneurs and startups should apply.”

Gaugarin Oliver

Gaugarin Oliver

Gaugarin Oliver, TiE-Boston Charter Member and TyE mentor and coach to TyE global winning teams in 2015 and 2013, urged high schoolers to apply and learn about entrepreneurship through the TyE-Boston program.

“TyE is one among my favorite programs at TiE-Boston. It is amazing to see how the program that was started in Boston has grown to chapters around the world,” said Oliver. “Every year, the high school students come up impressive ideas and make incredibly professional presentation to the judging panel.”

Suneha Kadimdiwan is Program Manager for TyE-Boston. She can be reached at  Deadline for application is Friday, July 29, 2016. For application and more information, visit: .

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India is youngest start-up nation with 72 percent founders below 35 years

Jul 23, 2016 0

New Delhi– Start-ups are the next big economic force in India, the world’s youngest startup nation with 72 per cent founders below 35 years of age, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said here on Saturday.

“Start-ups are the next big economic force in India. Close to 4,400 technology startups exist in India and the number is expected to reach over 12,000 by 2020. India is the world’s youngest start-up nation with 72 per cent founders less than 35 years,” Sitharaman said at the Start-up India states’ conference.

Nirmala Sitharaman

Nirmala Sitharaman

India has been pegged at third place behind US and Britain in terms of the number of start-ups.

“Government is committed to make Start-up India initiative a scalable reality and to provide an environment for our start-ups to thrive in. Through the initiative, we want to ensure that the momentum is accelerated. We are determined to make it a start-up revolution,” she said.

“The government will facilitate to ensure that world’s best start-up ecosystem is in India,” she added.

The government has operationalised the Start-up India Hub on April 1, 2016 to resolve queries and to provide hand-holding support to start-ups.

The hub has catered to more than 13,500 queries received from start-ups through telephone, email and Twitter, she added.

The Finance Act, 2016 has made provision for start-ups to get income tax exemption for 3 years in a block of 5 years, if they are incorporated between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2019.

Tax exemption on investments above fair market value have also been introduced for investments made in start-ups. To avail these benefits one must get a certificate of eligibility from the inter-ministerial board of Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).

A ‘fund of funds’ of Rs.10,000 crores for start-ups has been established which is managed by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). The fund will invest in SEBI registered alternative investment funds (AIFs) which, in turn, will invest in start-ups.

“This fund acts as an enabler to attract private capital in the form of equity, quasi-equity, soft loans and other risk capital for start-ups,” Sitharaman said.

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Kochi among India’s 100 best start-up incubators

Jul 22, 2016 0

Kochi– The Kochi Startup Village has been ranked top among the 100 best startup incubators in India by the India edition of Entrepreneur Magazine.

The Entrepreneur Magazine survey report, that came out on Friday, assessed the incubators on the basis of several criteria, including the number of graduating startups, their success in raising funds and funding-equity and the duration of the programme.

Since 2012, Startup Village has supported nearly 590 physical and virtual incubatees in Kochi and 200 in Vizag.

Kris Gopalakrishnan

Kris Gopalakrishnan

“It is a great honour for Startup Village to be named the country’s best incubator just as it gears up for even bigger challenges in its search for a billion dollar campus startup,” said Kris Gopalakrishnan, Infosys co-founder and chief mentor of Startup Village.

The latest accolade for Startup Village comes on the heels of the National Award for Technology Business Incubator from the government in 2015.

“The PPP model of Startup Village gives its tremendous ability to create deeper impact and it has been changing the whole culture of student entrepreneurship across the nation,” said H.K. Mittal, head of the National S&T Entrepreneurship Development Board.

Last week, Startup Village launched into its second phase with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan launching the online platform SV.CO that aims to provide a fully digital incubation framework to five million students in 3,500 engineering colleges across the country.

“SV.CO is the next big iteration of Startup Village, to give a world class student startup ecosystem to around five million engineering students in India, who will build the future of our nation. Our success in first phase was due to the support from public and private sector partners” said Startup Village chairman Sanjay Vijayakumar.

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