India exploring involving start-ups to make EVMs and VVPAT units

Jul 21, 2016 0

New Delhi– With an eye on better technology and competitive prices, the government is exploring possibility of involving start-ups to make EVMs with the voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) units, which are being currently produced by the PSUs Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL), said informed sources.

The decision to rope in the start-ups for producing the EVMs coupled with paper trail machines was taken following the cabinet decision to allocate Rs 920 crore for the purchase of the EVMs by the Election Commission.

The only caveat is that machines to be produced by the start-ups will have to comply with the security requirements, they said.

The decision to explore the involvement of start-ups for producing new voting machines with paper trail machines got the backing of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a view to have better version of the machines at a competitive and cheap price.

The Prime Minister, who had in January this year launched “Start-up India movement”, had suggested that for EVMs technology with VVPAT units, “we can encourage start-ups in consultation with the Election Commission”, said the sources.

The Election Commission requires 13.95 lakhs ballot units, 9.30 lakh control units and 16.15 lakh paper trail machines. The sources said that the machines being currently produced by the two PSUs were based on old technology.

In a October 8, 2013 verdict, the Supreme Court had held EVMs with VVPATs, also called “paper trail”, were an indispensable requirement for free and fair elections as it ensures the accuracy of the voting system.

However, the top court had on July 1 asked the Election Commission (EC) as to why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against it for its failure to use EVMs with VVPAT in “true spirit” during the recent state assembly elections as directed by it in October 2013.

The contempt notice was issued on a plea by the Backward & Minority Community Employees Federation (BAMCEF) contending that the Election Commission has not implemented the October 8, 2013 verdict in its “true spirit”. (IANS)

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Startups to vie for SCL title

Jul 20, 2016 0

Hyderabad–Startup Cricket League (SCL) 2016, tailormade for startups to celebrate entrepreneurship and sportsmanship, was announced here on Wednesday.

The mega event will be rolled out in four startup hubs of Bangalore, Delhi, Jaipur and Hyderabad.

SCL Founder Sai Kiran Gunda

SCL Founder Sai Kiran Gunda

The winning teams from the four cities will then battle it out at the grand finale in Hyderabad on September 18 to win the title of national champions.

Brand ambassador and actor Akkhil Akkineni launched the event and unveiled the dazzling trophy for this unique event.

He also announced prize money of Rs 1 lakh as seed fund for the winning team.

“SCL 2016 is sure to be an outstanding success as the entrepreneurial ecosystem across the country would be reverberating with utmost enthusiasm. I am thrilled to be a part of this exhilarating idea and captain the Telugu team of entrepreneurial players,” said the Telugu actor.

The event will brings startups from varying sectors together along with investors, founders, mentors, incubators, accelerators and students.

SCL founder Sai Kiran said it is an opportunity for the growth of the startup ecosystem as entrepreneurs can bond with investors and other categories of influential people over a friendly cricket match.

Giants like Flipkart, Freecharge would be participating with other renowned startups like Citrus, OYO Rooms, Perk, GrabOn etc.

Some of the renowned investors who will also partake in SCL are Matrix Partners, Accel Partners, Kalaari Capital and Hyderabad Angels.

There will also be an array of creative on- and off-ground activities like Internship Bucket, Founder’s Pavilion, Startup Crossfire, Startup Pitch, Startup Power play and Super Catch. (IANNS)

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TiE-Boston Announces 14 Companies as Part of TiE ScaleUp Cohort

Jul 8, 2016 0

CAMBRIDGE, MA –TiE-Boston last month introduced 14 companies who make up the second cohort for TiE ScaleUp. TiE ScaleUp, a five-month accelerator program for companies between seed and Series A financing, provides startups a path to breakthrough growth through access to investors, mentors and classes/workshops.

TiEScaleUpCohort2“The existing accelerators and entrepreneurship programs in Boston help founders convert an idea to a product and/or establish product/market fit,” said Anuradha Yadav, Executive Director of TiE-Boston. “However, there are very few resources to help companies scale when they cross the seed funding threshold. We created TiE ScaleUp to address this gap in the entrepreneurial offerings and to work with founders on issues ranging from customer acquisition, operational excellence to growth capital, and to help take companies to the next level. The feedback we received from the first cohort participants has been extremely positive and we are so excited to welcome this second cohort.”

anu yadav photoThis second cohort follows the program’s successful launch last year.

According to Mark Abramowicz, Co-Founder & COO of Spot, one of 14 startups in ScaleUp’s inaugural cohort, “TiE ScaleUp has provided us with tremendous learning and networking opportunities. We have tried to take full advantage of our access to so many talented and seasoned entrepreneurs within the cohort itself, but also amongst the mentors of the program and even the other members of the larger TiE organization. Pitch feedback and ample introductions to relevant and interested potential investors and partners are just some of the perks of the program. The numerous lectures by HBS and other business school professors is like icing on the cake.”

This year’s cohort includes the following companies, several of them being alums of MassChallenge, Tec

Monica Chandra (Photo: LinkedIn)

Monica Chandra (Photo: LinkedIn)

hStars, Harvard i-Lab and Learn Launch: Admetsys, Advanced Continuing Education Association, Avrio, Blackburn Energy, Cintell, Entromy, HelloToken, KnipBio, Nested Bean, Neumitra, Renew Energy Partners, Rifiniti, Shearwater and Wizdy.

Startups get paired with mentors, serial entrepreneurs and industry experts in life sciences, tech, venture capital, social entrepreneurship, education, sales & marketing, legal and more.

“TiE mentors and charter members were truly vested in helping TiE ScaleUp companies learn and succeed. This form of access to highly successful entrepreneurs is a hallmark of what differentiates TiE in the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Monica Chandra, ScaleUp mentor and Managing Director of 3EDGE Asset Management.

Ranjay Gulati

Ranjay Gulati

During the program, startups will have the opportunity to engage with investors through a demo day, peer-to-peer learning through CEO roundtables, tailored mentorship and workshops taught by world-class academics and subject matter experts. TiE-Boston does not charge a fee to companies to participate in the program nor does it take an equity position.

Another strength of the program is the targeted curriculum presented by world-class faculty from the top business schools. “Many entrepreneurial ventures fail not because of an inability to attract customers, but because of their failure to evolve their organizations. I’m excited to participate in TiE ScaleUp and help founders at this critical growth stage,” said Professor Ranjay Gulati, Chair of the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School and ScaleUp teacher.

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World’s first Digital Incubator for students to be launched in Kerala

Jul 7, 2016 0

Thiruvananthapuram–Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan, who is also the chief mentor of Kochi Startup Village, and others will launch the world’s first digital incubator for student startups, here on July 13, a statement said.

The statement by the Kochi Startup Village said the country needs more than one million new jobs a month for the next 20 years to employ all its youth and these jobs would mostly come from new start-ups if the right environment is created.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

It said the Digital Incubator, which was built over the last 12 months, has already received more than 1,000 applications from students from across Kerala as well as towns like Vadodara in Gujarat and Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh in its beta stage.

“It does not matter if you are from a village or a town. All one needs is to have hunger to succeed, and we are looking for you. Visit www.SV.CO/apply and be part of building the future of India,” said Startup Village chairman Sanjay Vijayakumar.

Gopalakrishnan said that students, especially from tier 2 and tier 3 cities, are deprived of access to the best faculty and mentors from start-up nerve centres like Bengaluru or Silicon Valley and this venture “would address the problem to a large extent”.

Students can now form teams and apply for admission to the digital incubator. Once selected, they will be guided right from selecting an idea to building a prototype and its launch to early customers within six months. Based on whether customers like the product, teams can then graduate to incubators, accelerators, raise Angel Funding, and even get acqui-hired as a team or hired to other start-ups or go for higher studies.

In a related development, the Start-up Village, the country’s first PPP model incubator, launched as a trailblazing initiative four years ago in Kerala to build a start-up culture among the state’s youth and become a blueprint for the nation, is all set for a national scale up with the Union Department of Science and Technology approving its Phase 2 in its completely digital avatar.

The Start-up Village Phase 2 is in tune with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Start-up India programme and will focus on creating an entrepreneurial culture amongst the country’s five million engineering students by providing them a completely digital incubation framework.

Phase 1’s original mandate was to incubate 48 start-ups during the period 2012-15, but it went on to receive an overwhelming 6,000 plus applications. Also, 3,000 new jobs were created by the young start-ups, which raised more than Rs 45 crore in funding.

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Start-up India Hub resolves over 12,000 queries in three months

Jul 6, 2016 0

New Delhi– The Start-up India Hub has been able to resolve over 12,000 queries received from start-ups since it began operations in April this year, the government said on Wednesday.

“The hub has been able to resolve 12,290 queries received from start-ups through telephone, e-mail and twitter,” the Union Commerce Ministry here said in a status report.

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

“Start-up India Hub would soon be launching an interactive online learning and development module to educate Start-ups and aspiring entrepreneurs, through various stages of their entrepreneurial journey,” the report said.

In order to augment the existing list of incubators, which issue recommendation letters, the ministry has set up a module.

“This shall enable incubators to obtain recognition from the Government of India,” it said.

“Seven proposals for research parks, 16 proposals for TBIs (Technology Business Incubators) and 13 proposals for Start-up Centres have been recommended by the National Expert Advisory Committee formed by the Human Resource Development Ministry,” it said.

“These proposals shall be implemented in the current financial year,” it added.

In this connection, industry organisation Nasscom has said India ranks third globally with the number of start-ups crossing 4,200.

In its latest report titled “Start-up India – Momentous Rise of the Indian Start-up Ecosystem”, Nasscom said that there was a 100 per cent growth in the number of private equity, venture capitalists, angel investors, along with a 125 per cent growth in funding last year over 2014.

The total funding in the India-based start-ups was estimated to be nearly $5 billion by 2015.

India is also the world’s youngest start-up nation with 72 per cent founders younger than 35 years, as per the report. (IANS)

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Microsoft, TCS to jointly mentor start-ups

Jun 23, 2016 0

Bengaluru–The Technology arms of global software majors Microsoft and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on Thursday announced a joint initiative to mentor start-ups and engage with them to make innovate solutions for the global market.

“Microsoft Accelerator and TCS co-innovation network will create a platform to spur the Indian start-up system through an open framework,” the IT majors said at ‘Think Next Summer 2016’, a Microsoft Accelerator flagship forum here for thought leaders intended to drive transformation through innovation.

Ravi Narayan

Ravi Narayan

As access to markets and customers remains a challenge for Indian start-ups, the partnership will provide start-ups access to their networks and relationships across customers, investors, academia and industry, creating a value proposition in the enterprise marketplace.

“The progress India has made in IT and entrepreneurship over the years changed the landscape offering new entrepreneurs unmatched opportunities. As one of the contributors to the start-up ecosystem in this country, we felt it was a story worth telling,” said Microsoft Accelerator global director Ravi Narayan, releasing an e-book on the “History of Indian Start-up Ecosystem” on the occasion.

Another e-book – “Timeline of Indian Start-up Ecosystem” – was also released.

The joint initiative will also connect start-ups with corporates, which will get access to innovative solutions for their business needs while providing greater market access to start-ups.

“The partnership highlights our efforts to engage with start-ups and underlines our commitment to provide innovative solutions to our diverse customer base. As we enter a new phase of innovation and computing, companies must co-innovate and create strategic partnerships to solve challenging problems for customers,” said TCS global head for hi-tech industry solutions Nagaraj Ijari at the day-long event.

The joint programme will also offer participating start-ups access to the expertise and client-base of both the software majors and create opportunities to innovate and transform the business landscape.

The 12 graduating startups from the event are Altizon, Tarnea, Aureus Analytics, Baby Chakra, Reverie, Strides, Locus, Admission Table, Distiman, Calm.io, Yellow Messenger and Report Bee.

They made presentations on their ventures to about 550 delegates comprising corporates, investors, thought leaders, and Microsoft management who partnered to push the collaborative innovation.

Altizon announced the launch of iProd, a revolutionary IoT (Internet of Things)-based based product to empower manufacturers to optimize productivity and overall equipment effectiveness along with Distiman, a mobile app that maximises profits for mom and pop retailers through on-demand stocking.

“The interesting thing about India becoming a start-up nation is that this transformation happened not long ago, but around us.. As a citizen of the start-up ecosystem in the country, we decided to take an overview of the developments,” Naraynan added.

Infosys’ co-founder and former Unique Identification Development Authority of India (UIDAI) chairman Nandan Nilekani spoke on ‘An alternate view of the future: India in the age of technological disruption’ and Microsoft India chairman Bhaskar Pramanik on ‘The role of start-ups in India’s digital transformation journey’. (IANS)

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SAP Labs launches start-up accelerator in India

Jun 23, 2016 0

Bengaluru– Enterprise application software behemoth SAP Labs India on Thursday launched accelerator program SAP Start-up Studio, aimed at providing mentoring, infrastructure and technology support to early-stage start-ups.

“India is home to the fastest growing ecosystem of start-ups and one of the most fertile grounds for new businesses. The aim of SAP Start-up Studio is to support Indian start-ups with a complete ecosystem,” said SAP Labs India Managing Director Dilip Khandelwal in a statement.

Dilip Khandelwal

Dilip Khandelwal

Marking the German global Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) giant’s establishment of a dedicated program to driver entrepreneurship in India, the SAP Start-up Studio has selected its first set of seven early-stage start-ups.

Cloud computing based healthcare platform CloudKare, reverse logistics solutions start-up Blubirch, digital chat-based artificial intelligence provider Niki.ai, e-commerce start-ups Sellerworkx and Moglix, energy management solutions start-up Ecolibrium Energy and enterprise productivity start-up Stratawiz Technologies are the selected ventures.

The 75-seat incubator located in SAP Labs India Whitefield campus will focus on the domains of Internet of Things, Big Data and Cloud among others.

The one year incubation period may also extend beyond the specified time, along with access to SAP’s ecosystem of customers and partners.

SAP has also expressed its interest in taking an equity position and referring a start-up to SAP’s merger and acquisition team for the next stage of growth if required.

“India is now known as one of the most beneficial markets for start-ups. SAP Start-up Studio will serve as a catalyst to further accelerate the growth of start-ups,” said SAP SE Executive Board Member Bernd Leukert in the statement.

Across the globe, SAP enables nearly 3,10,000 companies to operate efficiently with its applications and services by bringing together boardrooms, warehouses and several other departments.

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Indian Cabinet approves Fund of Funds for start-ups

Jun 22, 2016 0

New Delhi– In a bid to extend funding support for start-ups, the union cabinet on Wednesday approved the establishment of Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS) at Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) for contribution to various Alternative Investment Funds (AIF).

“The union cabinet has approved the establishment of Fund of Funds for Startups at Small Industries Development Bank of India for contribution to various Alternative Investment Funds, registered with Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), which would extend funding support to start-ups,” a statement said.

The corpus of Rs 10,000 crore for FFS will be built up over the 14th and 15th Finance Commission cycles, subject to progress of the scheme and availability of funds, it said.

The government provided Rs 500 crore to the corpus in 2015-16 and Rs.600 crore was earmarked in the 2016-17. Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) will monitor and review performance in line with the Start up India Action Plan while SIDBI will manage day to day operations of FFS.

“The Fund is expected to generate employment for 18 lakh people on full deployment, a statement said.

A corpus of Rs10,000 crore could potentially be the nucleus for catalysing Rs 60,000 crore of equity investment and twice as much debt investment, it said.

The government unveiled Start up India Action Plan unveiled in January 2016.

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Chinese investors to fund 10 Indian startups

May 3, 2016 0

Bengaluru– As many as 15 Chinese investors representing nine firms have shortlisted 10 Indian startups, operating in mobile technologies, e-commerce and medical technology, for up to $5 million seed and Series A funding, it was announced on Tuesday.

However, the shortlisted Indian startups selected at the ‘Date with Chinese Investors’ were not disclosed to avoid poaching from rival investors, while another five to seven startups are being reviewed for funding.

“We have chosen Bengaluru over other cities to start because of the great infrastructure and tremendous support given by state government. Manyaare thrilled to see the potential among Indian startups,” said investor and OnionFan CEO Hutu.

Pickup Wheat (Shimai) Finance, Harmony Invest, Grand (Daguan) Capital, Incapital, Zhejiang WenChuang Group, YeahMobi, Hangzhou Zhexin Information Technology and Cyber Carrier are among the firms which participated in the event scheduled from May 1-3.

The Chinese investors visited the Karnataka government’s Mobile 10X Hub in Diamond District to evaluate the entrepreneurial pitches of more than 150 startups which arrived from Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai.

“The event was aimed to show the landscape of Chinese and Indian venture and investment, and to facilitate the innovation and communication between the two countries,” said an official statement.

Funding interest from China is aimed at expanding the business range and global impact of Chinese investments organisations while on the other hand Indian startups stand to benefit from better and easier funding.

The event was organised by tech media and investment company OnionFan in association with Mobile 10X. (IANS)

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UP rolls out major incentives to boost start ups

Apr 29, 2016 0

Lucknow–In a bid to boost start ups, particularly in the information technology sector, the Uttar Pradesh government has waived off the stamp duty on land purchased for building offices or bulit-up offices, an official said on Friday.

This has been done under the IT and Start-Up Policy-2016 rolled out by the Akhikesh Yadav government.

However, the government has put a rider that these units getting exemptions must commence their operations within the next three years.

Similarly, the electricity duty for these units have been waived off for almost five years. It has also been decided to provide grants to these units to contribute to the employees’ provident fund. (IANS)

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