India’s first telecom incubator to take off in Kerala in Apr

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Oomen Chandy
New Delhi, Mar 28: Startup Village, India’s first public-private partnership incubator is all set to take off from Kerala in the second week of Apr.

The projected investment of the first technology business incubator in the telecom sector is expected to be of Rs 100 crore with the aim of helping grow over 1,000 student start-ups.

Startup Village will come up in Kochi, looking to emulate the famed Silicon Valley incubators and transform Kerala into ‘Silicon Coast’.  The project will also kick-start the search for the billion-dollar company to rise out of an Indian campus.

The launch of the project was announced by Chief Minister of Kerala, Shri Oommen Chandy at a press conference.

Kiran Karnik Former president of NASSCOM, Dr H.K. Mittal from the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Shri. Rajan Mathews, Director General of Cellular Operators Association of India, Shri. Abhishek Goyal, CEO of, and Shri. Sanjay Vijayakumar, Chairman of the Board of Governors of Startup Village were also present at the event.

Creating ‘Silicon Coast’

The project also aims to transform job seekers into job creators. It is being set up by the National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB) under the DST, and the Kerala Government-run Technopark, in collaboration with MobME Wireless – a private firm which began as a student start-up and has grown to become one of India’s top 10 emerging companies.

"Six years back, in 2006, Technopark took its first steps into incubation when MobME Wireless, a young company promoted by then engineering students, was launched. That sparked a change in the mindset of youth in college campuses and Technopark incubator quickly rose in six years to become one of the most prominent National Incubators. Technopark won the President’s award for Best technology business incubator in the country for 2008. Today there are 125 companies in Technopark Incubator employing 3000 people and generating Rs 100 crore annual revenues," said Ooomen Chandy.

"With this strong foundation, we are now prepared to take the next leap forward for accelerated growth in the technology startup ecosystem. Our aim is to incubate 1000 startups over the next 10 years from college campuses and start the search for a billion dollar startup from Kerala. Shri Kris Gopalakrishnan, Co-Founder of Infosys, would be the Chief Mentor for startups and guiding them with his vision and expertise to make this a reality," he said.

"The scale we aim is very high and the state will provide an unrivalled ecosystem by bringing forward-looking policies and enabling bright students in college campus’s to be entrepreneurs. Support would also be given by extending attendance and grace marks to entrepreneurs with what is currently given to sports and NCC," he added.

Industry support

India’s telecom and information technology industry has also extended support to this bold venture which is expected to trigger a new wave of innovations.

Former NASSCOM chief Shri. Kiran Karnik; CEO Shri. Abhishek Goyal; former Yahoo India R& D CEO Shri. Sharad Sharma; Dell India MD Shri. Ganesh Lakshminarayan; Shri. KK Natarajan of Mindtree; Shri. Arun Kumar, Global Board Member of KPMG; Dr. Ravi Pillai, the biggest employer of Indians in the Middle East; and major local IT entrepreneurs like Shri. Nandakumar of SunTec are among those joining the project as mentors and investors.

“Incubators are the catalysts of change and growth in any sector. The Startup Village is definitely India’s most ambitious project that will have a pan-India impact in the coming years. The combined experience of veteran industry players, along with the support facilities and funding opportunities, should help local start-ups emerge as global winners and the game-changers of tomorrow,’’ said Shri Kiran Karnik.

"Startup Village is a key experiment in the way forward for creating a blueprint for scaling innovation with more active participation of the private sector and to augment government efforts," said Dr. H. K. Mittal , while calling upon the private players to come up with fresh ideas.

Recalling that India has a three-decade experience in incubation, he said, NSTEDB has taken the bold step to involve the private sector based on the learning from over 60 incubators across the country.

"The next big wave in telecom sector is in the growth of smart phones and 4G and Startup Village will help young startups to harness these global opportunities. Game-changing innovations in the sector have gathered pace, calling for a vibrant collaborative ecosystem. The industry will support Government of India and the State Governments in this ambitious exercise," said Shri Rajan Mathews.

"We are attempting to create a complete ecosystem, starting from policy changes to allow students to pursue entrepreneurship. This will be followed by an incubator (idea nursery), accelerator (specific support to scale promising ideas) and angel fund (investment in breakthrough innovations), all under one umbrella for the first time in the country,” said Shri Sanjay Vijyakumar.

"Innovation zone is another unique feature of Startup Village as it ensures pre-launch access to cutting edge hardware and software technologies. This enables start-ups to have time and technology advantage increasing their chances of success,"he said.

The Startup Village campus will have full 4G network and advanced telecom labs. It will also provide services, including legal, intellectual property and accounting, in addition to fully furnished office space, video conference rooms and virtual office services. The hub will extend a host of perks, like three-year service tax exemption up to Rs 50 lakh revenues. The incubator companies can by default make a pitch presentation to Startup Village Angel Fund, promoted by the broadest community of entrepreneurs.


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