Pledges continued funding, mentorship of Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship

Tata Communications on Tuesday announced it will continue its association for a second consecutive year with iAccelerator, a flagship incubator development programme for entrepreneurs and start-ups at the Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) at the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIMA).

“Some of these innovations are really interesting and may become part of big businesses and larger companies,” said Srinivasa Addepalli, Chief Strategy Officer, Tata Communications.

He said it may, however, take three to four years before these innovations mature and get noticed and recognised. “We can also look at some of these start-ups for acquisitions if it makes business sense,” he told Business Line.

Since its inception in 2009, the programme has supported 27 successful start-ups in the Internet and mobile space. Tata Communications continues to pledge its support to the programme by providing funding, mentorship and infrastructure, as part of its ongoing initiative to nurture excellence and innovation in India, Addepalli said.

This year the eight participating start-ups will go through a three-month residential programme, where experts from Tata Communications and the industry will mentor them on business, infrastructure and investment. Beyond mentorship, Tata Communications will also provide International lease line and video conferencing tools to help the start-ups achieve their business goals for the programme.

He said Tata Communications is keen to help transform great ideas into great businesses by providing mentorship, cultivating a spirit of excellence and innovation and creating a culture of investment that impacts the country’s competitiveness, globally.

The investment and mentorship the start-ups receive through this programme will help these innovative new companies expand their scope of work, to build business skills and acquire market opportunities in the country.

The start-ups have been provided with work spaces, IT infrastructure, seed capital and mentorship from a team of industry experts. The iAccelerator programme has five angel investment partners including the CIIE. The start-ups are expected to showcase their final prototype/ product to the angel investors and can expect an investment of up to Rs 10 lakh for their project. Last year, they were given the chance to showcase their products to 36 investors.

Pranay Gupta, Joint CEO, CIIE, said the finalist start-ups are expected to have access to world class connectivity, technology and invaluable mentorship to strengthen their projects.

Every year, a group of tech start-ups is selected at iAccelerator through an application process and put through a three-month residential accelerator programme. The finalist start-ups each receive seed capital, mentoring from a team of industry experts and opportunity to showcase their prototype/product in front of early stage investors.

iAccelerator has committed partners in Hyderabad, Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai, who help sponsor the programme, select start-ups to co-invest in and providing mentorship, and other in-kind infrastructure and product support to the start-ups.

Some of the start-ups incubated through the iAccelerator programme in the past include Innoz, Beevolve, Hashcube, iBloom, Audech and Redanyway.

(This article was published on December 11, 2012)
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