Theresa May goes speed dating with startups

Nasscom and British officials discuss how to improve market access for young ventures in both India and the United Kingdom

November 09, 2016 12:00 am | Updated December 02, 2016 02:26 pm IST - BENGALURU:

WHEN IN INDIA...:(From left) British Prime Minister Theresa May visited the Sri Someshwara temple in Bengaluru on Tuesday;

WHEN IN INDIA...:(From left) British Prime Minister Theresa May visited the Sri Someshwara temple in Bengaluru on Tuesday;

On her maiden visit to Bengaluru, British Prime Minister Theresa May interacted with several startups to understand the breadth, depth and ambition of the Indian startup ecosystem.

“She (Theresa May) was excited to see Bengaluru’s startup scene growing very fast and, in fact, referred to the city as the tech and startup capital of India,” said Ravi Gururaj, Chairman of Nasscom Product Council. He curated the young ventures showcased at the event. IT trade body Nasscom and top British officials explored partnerships between Bengaluru and the UK. They discussed how to improve market access for young ventures in both the countries.

“It was a great event. We are looking forward to access European markets, including the UK,” said Ram Kakkad, founder of English Dost, the maker of language learning solutions, who attended the event.

The other young firms to showcase their innovations to Ms. May included Radiowalla, Cardiac Design Labs, Tydy, Data Glen, Tookitaki and SAHA Fund.

“The UK Prime Minister visiting India and choosing to spend time with us is a big validation for the brand created globally by the startups in Bengaluru,” said Anand Madanagopal, founder, Cardiac Design Labs, a startup that has come up with an innovation to help cardiac patients in smaller hospitals access critical care through a wearable device.

The Bengaluru-based firm combines intelligent algorithms and heart monitoring technology designed for use in rugged conditions. “We are hoping to go global and access markets like the U.K.,” said Mr. Madanagopal.

Some of the Indian startups have already moved base to overseas markets, such as the U.K., which have business-friendly tax regimes and regulations. Among them is Jalandhar-based customer support software maker Kayako, which counts U.S. space agency NASA, European carmaker Peugeot and Japanese gaming firm Sega among its top customers.

U.K.-Karnataka bridge

“The UK Prime Minister has asked for creating a nodal agency to help UK-based SMEs who are looking to invest in the State. We have agreed and may form an agency from the Karnataka Udyog Mitra,” said Priyank Kharge, Minister for IT, BT and Tourism.

Speaking at an event organised by the Department of IT, BT and Science and Technology, British Minister for Trade and Investment Greg Hands said, “The UK can be an ideal partner of Karnataka to achieve its goal of becoming the innovation capital of the world.”

He suggested that his country and Karnataka can partner in research and will sign a memorandum of understanding with the State to support an innovation ecosystem. As part of the partnership, Mr Kharge is planning to visit various cities in the UK to explore areas of partnership.

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