Microsoft to set up innovation hubs in India
With a plan to catalyze the country’s technology startup ecosystem, GenNext Ventures, the venture investment management arm of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), Friday signed a three-year partnership with Microsoft India, through Microsoft Ventures in India, to set up GenNext Innovation Hubs, an official statement said here.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by R.A. Mashelkar, chairman, GenNext Ventures and board member, RIL, and Bhaskar Pramanik, chairman, Microsoft India. The first hub will start operations in October in Mumbai, and will be subsequently emulated across multiple cities in India, the statement said.
The MoU allows GenNext Ventures and Microsoft Ventures to bring together key stakeholders – academia, students, entrepreneurs, investors, and corporates – at the GenNext Innovation Hubs and offer some of the most critical resources that startups need to be successful, it said.
Microsoft Ventures will help GenNext identify, shortlist, on-board promising startups and power the accelerator program. Microsoft Ventures will also provide these startups access to software and technology advice. At the end of the accelerator programme cycle, GenNext will invest strategically and selectively in some of these IT startups.
“Technology startups, which are a key source of innovation in India, are at an inflexion point today. While the numbers have grown exponentially year on year, the industry is at a nascent stage,” Mashelkar said.
“While several initiatives are underway to help startups, what is lacking is a national platform that seamlessly brings together all stakeholders and also provides the resources Indian startups need to be successful. That’s what we are aiming to do through GenNext Innovation Hubs, in our partnership with Microsoft Ventures,” he added.
“At Microsoft, we have had a long-standing commitment to innovation, not just within but also in the IT ecosystems of markets we operate in. Microsoft Ventures is leading that for us in India,” Pramanik said.