RISE to promote rural innovators

KSUM funding for start-ups this fiscal to be ₹15 crore

February 07, 2018 12:09 am | Updated February 08, 2018 01:57 pm IST - Kozhikode

Information Technology Secretary M. Sivasankar with Somdutta Singh, Vice Chairperson, Nasscom Product Council, at the Seeding Kerala event in Kozhikode on Tuesday.

Information Technology Secretary M. Sivasankar with Somdutta Singh, Vice Chairperson, Nasscom Product Council, at the Seeding Kerala event in Kozhikode on Tuesday.

Information Technology Secretary M. Sivasankar has said that the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) initiated by the government will expand its entrepreneurship development schemes to support segments such as rural innovators, college teachers and other professionals in the State.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the Seeding Kerala event organised by the KSUM at the UL Cyberpark here on Tuesday, he said that the gap in the ecosystem of the start-up mission would have to be filled to stimulate the innovation-driven entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship development and support had been till now focussed on college campuses. For this purpose, the KSUM had set up a project - Rural Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (RISE) – to assist them including social entrepreneurs, he added.

Saji Gopinath, Chief Executive Officer of KSUM, said that RISE would provide rural innovators with access to technology so as to bring their products to the market. Many of the new rural inventors significantly were outside the formal education system. As such, most of the innovations were hardware-based, he added.

Already, the KSUM has invited Expression of Interest to conceptualise the ideas, and to establish and operate RISE on campuses. One of such would be set up in Thiruvananthapuram within six months. This would help rural innovators right from conceptualisation phase to product development, and in conceiving the business model.

Start-up funding

The KSUM had funded about 100 start-ups ranging between ₹2 lakh and ₹20 lakh. Funding for start-ups this fiscal would be ₹15 crore, Mr. Sivasankar added.

Speaking at a session on Fundamentals of Angel Investment, Sunitha Ramaswamy, Director of LetsVenture, suggested that start-up companies should look for like-minded people who understand their ideas while choosing angel investors.

She said that start-ups can look for domain experts, tacticians, smart business people, connectors and product people for better results. Scalability factor was important. In non-tech companies, scalability does take time compared to tech companies, Ms. Ramaswamy said.

She said that a large pool of angel investors have been investing in tech products or tech-enabled companies. But in the last couple of years, a new trend has emerged where people are open to looking at non-tech companies. Angel investors would be looking for passion in the team and whether the start-up team has the capability to execute the project, Ms. Ramaswamy added.

Angel investors, Venture Capitalists, funds sponsors and High Networth Individuals spoke at various sessions at the event. The conclave is aimed at promoting and supporting entrepreneurial aspirations of the youth.

A panel discussion on ‘The entry and exit strategies in start-up investments’ was also part of the event. The segment was attended by Sarita Raichura, Regional Head, IAN; Arun Raghavan, Partner, Arali Ventures; Abhijit, Co-Founder, ah Ventures; Sukriti Saroj, Regional Head, Lead Angels; and Nidhi Saraf, Founder, CEO, Key Venture. Rajesh Nair, TiE, president was the moderator.

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