VJTI Technology Business Incubator is currently accepting applications for its Cohort-2 from start-ups in Electric Vehicles, Energy, Clean-tech, AI/ML, IoT and Cyber Security domains. We caught up with CEO, Dr Roshan Yedery to understand the benefits of the incubation program and what kind of start-ups the incubator is looking for.
Can you tell us about the incubation program at VJTI?
VJTI Technology Business Incubator (VJTI-TBI) was established at the prestigious Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute, Mumbai with the support of DST, GoI under the NIDHI-TBI Scheme with the sole purpose of nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region. Currently, we are supporting 17 start-ups working in the domains of energy, cleantech, EV, IoT, AI/ML and cybersecurity under our cohort-1. We are now accepting applications from eligible start-ups and entrepreneurs under Cohort 2, and start-ups can apply by 31 Jan 2021.
What kind of support can the selected start-ups expect from the program?
All selected start-ups are provided with access to state-of-the-art lab infrastructure equipped to test products and prototypes in respective domains. In addition, we also provide advisory services in business management, Intellectual Property Rights, finance and accounting, legal and technical domains through collaborations with third-party service providers and industry associations. Start-ups at VJTI-TBI also get access to free tools including AWS credits, ZOHO platform, Zendesk CRM, SOLIDWORKS licenses, MatLab and Simulink licenses and MyOperator cloud telephony credits.
Further start-ups are provided with access to the Centre of Excellence at VJTI, which includes the SCADA & Automation Lab, Power Electronics Lab and AI/ML and Embedded Systems Lab. VJTI-TBI has also partnered with various corporates who have supported the center with industry grade testing and validation infrastructure. For instance, in the Energy sector, Siemens has supported us with SIGUARD and PSSE platforms which are used globally to assess, analyze and simulate high-performance power transmission systems. Similarly in the IoT domain, Emerson has supported us with DeltaV DCS platform which is being widely used to automate industrial operations. Further L&T has scaled the IoT infrastructure at the center by setting up the iVisionmax platform, the latest SCADA solution used in the industry. NVIDIA has also collaborated with us to set up an AI-enabled NVIDIA GPU-accelerated DGX-1 AI Supercomputer with optimized versions of today’s most popular frameworks. These tools and infrastructure are being made available to the start-ups incubated underCohort-1 and the same will be accessible to future cohorts as well.
Apart from technical support, how does the VJTI TBI help start-ups solve business related problems?
Start-ups in the early stage category face several business challenges including cash flow management, marketing strategy, raising capital, building an effective team and finding customers. In order to help the start-ups deal with these challenges successfully, VJTI-TBI has partnered with several stakeholders in the above relevant domains to help the entrepreneurs tide the difficult part of the journey in their initial years.
For instance, VJTI-TBI has signed MoU with various industry associations including India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA), Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers Association (IEEMA), Cyber Peace Foundation, The Institute of Engineering Technology (IET) and India Smart Grid Forum (ISGF). Start-ups get to participate in the training programs and display and promote their products and services in industry expos organised by these associations.
Start-ups also get access to the top tier Management of the Corporate Partners including L&T, LTI, Emerson, NVIDIA, Siemens and CISCO through mentoring and industry-enabled pilot projects. Lastly, our start-ups also get access to CSR Funds from national and global technology organizations including LTI, SIDBI, ITD Cementation and more. Investors from VC firms and Angel groups have also agreed to onboard with VJTI-TBI as mentors and help them resolve the challenges faced by these entrepreneurs.
What kind of start-up are you looking to on-board as a part of Cohort 2?
VJTI-TBI has a defined process for selecting the start-ups for the incubation program. We look for start-ups working on an innovative idea/ technology/ product/ service in one the thematic areas including Clean-tech, Energy, IoT, Cloud Computing and Cyber Security. We support start-ups that are in the early stage of growth and revenue and must be willing to pursue the incubation program full time with no other concurrent commitments during the incubation period. We look at start-ups who will preferably have a market ready prototype or Proof-of-Concept (PoC) and a clear IP strategy and a technology commercialization plan that will create jobs. Finally, start-ups must have a strong business proposal, must be able to confidently pitch to investors and raise funds, must be able to scale-up and become self-sustainable in 18 – 24 months time.
What is the duration of incubation?
Duration is 1 year which may be extended maximum 2 times depending on yearly reviews.
Is the program applicable for start-ups operating from outside of Mumbai?
Yes, the start-ups may opt to join the program virtually and still avail all of the benefits. They may need to travel to Mumbai periodically for reviews.
Can you tell us about the e-mobility start-ups on boarded by the TBI in Cohort 1?
Currently, we are supporting 2 startups working in EV space. Magnes Motors are currently working on developing an electric 2-wheeled electric vehicle specifically for the delivery and logistics segment. Earlier they manufactured and sold India’s first electric go-kart vehicle which has already won the hearts of go-kart enthusiasts. They have also designed electric bicycles and dirt bikes which will be launched soon in India. The other startup, PMV Electric, is developing an electric 3-wheeled 2-seater car that will be a sustainable, environment friendly and a practical product for the future of urban mobility.
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