IIM Calcutta Innovation Park to incubate startups

It seems start-up incubation is growing in bulk for startups and entrepreneurs in India and private firms, govt. organisations and even educationsl institutes are coming up for providing mentorship, funding and all round incubation for startups in India.

The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta has launched a new startup incubator called - IIM-Calcutta Innovation Park (IIP), which has been registered as a Section 8 company under the new Companies Act (under the aegis of the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation or CEI at IIM Calcutta), plans to host about 40 startups over five years. It will focus on five key sectors-healthcare, education, clean technology, lifestyle and analytics.

"The incubator will focus on five key sectors-healthcare, education, clean technology, lifestyle and analytics.
The incubator will focus on entrepreneurial ventures developing product as well as delivery of services," said Ashok Banerjee, dean, new initiatives and external relations, at IIM Calcutta.

Currently IIP has signed on 3 social startups - Energy solutions venture ONergy, Doctors For You and primary education-focused company Edwell will be among the first batch of incubated start-ups, while two more ventures are expected to join over the next two months. These social startups have been chosen by a team of faculty, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and alumni.

IIP, which will provide seed funding of 5- 50 lakh for an undisclosed stake in the ventures, will receive about 7 crore in funding from the Department of Science and Technology, which will be allocated over the same period.

IIM Calcutta will also raise funds to the tune of Rs 10-20 crore over the next 6 months for which it will soon begin road shows. The institute is also in advanced stages of discussion with few of its alumni based out of India.

The management institute counts notable entrepreneurs such as TutorVista founder Krishnan Ganesh, Rediff's Ajit Balakrishnan and Rocket Internet-backed Jabong's Praveen Sinha among its alumni.

IIP will also look to develop start-up enterprises from the eastern part of the country, a region not traditionally known for emerging enterprises. "The east is still a virgin territory in terms of entrepreneur development, and where we hope to foster change," said Banerjee.

The development comes at a time when private sector incubators and accelerators have taken the lead in building the country's still-nascent startup eco-system.

"The big issue has been the overall infrastructure. Unlike in the US,our really great academic institutions are standalone ones. There is no central ecosystem yet," said Ajit Rangnekar dean, Indian School of Business, which runs the DLabs business incubator.

Apart from ISB, IIM Ahmedabad, IIT Madras and IIT Bombay are among the handful of education institutions to have established a strong reputation in incubating startups.

IIM Ahmedabad's Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship has seeded over 100 start-ups, including traffic monitoring system Birds Eye Systems and healthcare delivery company Forus, with over 80% going on to raise external capital. "It's been pretty dismal. Two or three institutions have done a great job, but the others have just paid lip service," said Rajesh Sawhney, founder of GSF Accelerator, a leading start-up accelerator in the country.

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