Amrita Technology Business Incubator Plans World Class Incubator for Startups
'The biggest role of the entrepreneur is to ensure the problem he is solving with his innovation are necessary and important contributions to the society.'
Amrita Technology Business Incubator has incubated more than 60 startups across various ICT & ESDM and plans to build a ‘World Class Incubator’ with innovation labs with infrastructure that will allow startups with product development, testing, qualification, implementation of their products. We speak to Dr. Krishnashree Achuthan, CEO, Amrita TBI and find out more details.
Please tell us about the journey so far and the conception of a business incubator?
The idea of a business incubator was initiated by our Vice Chancellor Dr. P. Venkat Rangan. Having been a President’s medal winner at IIT Madras, he had done his PhD at U.C.Berkeley. He then took a faculty position at UCSD, wherein he also founded his startup, Yodlee. Yodlee was a successful Fintech company. A brilliant engineer and successful entrepreneur, he moved to Amrita with the passion to nurture innovation at the University. With DST’s support Amrita Technology Business Incubtor began operations in 2008. In 2008, I had also moved back to India to be part of a start-up that was spun out of Amrita University i.e. Amrita Technologies, a first of its kind, Healthcare Technology company, that focused on developing a comprehensive solution for electronic medical records and paperless transactions across India. It was an amazing experience being part of this startup. The learnings from this startup motivated me to get involved further in the startup eco-system and furthermore head Amrita TBI.
Tell us about the USP?
We have a few USPs that are non-existent with most other incubators in the country. They are:
A) It has key agreements with other Amrita fraternity of professional organisations and partner institutions (e.g. healthcare, educational organsations). This arrangement allows Amrita TBI incubatees to deploy their products at partner locations to receive quick feedback, iterate and even demonstrate their product’s performance to potential customers. This service helps them tap markets locally and internationally in relevant industries.
B) Most of the successful start-up companies got successful due to the right mentorship they received at the most opportune time. Amrita TBI has a rich and diverse network of mentors and corporate partners that are keen to innovate (such as Reliance, Intel, Google, IBM, Wipro, GAIA Smart Cities etc.). Our mentors have assisted startups on strategy, planning, finance, marketing, intellectual property, product management, micro-insurance, micro-finance, Internet technologies etc.
How many startups have been incubated?
We have incubated more than 60 startups. They vary across various ICT (Internet and Communication Technologies) and ESDM (electronic design and manufacturing themes). Most of them are still incubated with us. However, in the short time they have been with us, they have received follow on funds, complete buy-out offers, recognized by International Professional bodies for their innovation and societally beneficial solutions.
What is the biggest role of an entrepreneur? What according to you is an innovation through a startup?
The biggest role of the entrepreneur is to ensure the problem he is solving with his innovation are necessary and important contributions to the society. Novelty and creativity of his proposed solutions define his innovation.
Is there any special preference given to women fraternity in TBI?
Yes we do have a large number of startups that have women on their boards. Women do have challenges with respect to balancing their time between family responsibilities and their startup. Amrita TBI offers programs to encourage women taken up entrepreneurship as a career in their areas of interest.
What is your funding status?
We have seed investment grants from several government ministries such as DST, MeitY, MSME etc.
How do you expand your reach with investors? Do you facilitate pitch sessions?
We have an annual event called Amrita Pitchfest. Every year we attract 100s of startups from all over India. Judges are Series A, B investors from India and abroad. We select Top 30 startups followed by Top 10 startups. The winners of the Pitchfest event are given funding based on due diligence.
Tell us about your future plans?
We plan to build a “World Class Incubator” with innovation labs with infrastructure that will allow startups with product development, testing, qualification, implementation of their products. The incubator will expand on its portfolio of services in a major way. We will also be taking up promotion of incubation in strategic areas for the country that is non-existent in the country today.
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