In the world of innovation and entrepreneurship, incubators serve as vital catalysts for transforming the innovative concepts into thriving businesses. Innovation, the driving force behind progress, often finds its roots in academic institutions where bright minds conceive groundbreaking ideas. Recognizing the need to nurture these seeds of innovation, incubation centers become essential in providing the necessary support and resources for these ideas to flourish.
One such incubator making significant strides is the Society for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (SINE) at IIT Bombay. Established in 2004, SINE has become a key player in the academic incubation sphere, fostering startups that not only contribute to economic growth but also bring strategic value and social impact.
In our discussion, Mr. Shaji Varghese, Deputy CEO of SINE, sheds light on the broader role of incubators in the Indian Startup Ecosystem and shares insights into the success story of one of SINE's notable startups, idea forge, now a Unicorn with a recent IPO launch.
Q: Welcome! Before we dive into the conversation, could you tell me about SINE?
A: SINE is a technology business incubator housed at IIT Bombay. We have been operational since 2004 and have supported 220 startups to date, with over 1000 innovators benefiting from various science programs. Additionally, we have a Unicom within our startups. Recently, one of our graduate companies, Idea Forge, went public with an IPO. We've been making contributions to the Indian startup and larger innovation-entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Q: What facilities and support does SINE provide to startups?
A: As a technology business incubator, we offer essential infrastructure for early-stage startups, some at the proof of concept (POC) stage. We provide lab facilities such as Bio Science Lab, Mar tech lab, metalworking lab, and electronics lab. We also offer office space, allowing startups to focus on product development. Beyond that, we connect startups to the broader ITB ecosystem, provide mentorship, and facilitate access to industry experts and funding sources, including government support and deep tech venture capital funds.
Q: Does SINE incubate startups only from IIT Bombay, or can other startups apply?
A: We support startups both from within and outside IITB. However, we look for startups with a strong value proposition in terms of intellectual property rights. Our incubator has limited space, so we prioritize companies with a strong team, market potential, and valuable IP.
Q: Ideaforge and Gupshup, big startups incubated at SINE, are also "Made in India" but offer global solutions. Do you think Indian tech startups are ready to go global and face the competition?
A: Yes, our approach encourages startups to develop products and solutions for the global market. For instance, ImmunoAct has developed cost-effective Carty cell technology, making it available globally. Startups like Setco and Impact supply two-wheelers worldwide. The intention for any startup should be to address the global market rather than restricting themselves to local demand.
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