Home / Industry / Infotech /  Nasscom to set up start-up warehouse

Bangalore: Information technology (IT) industry lobby group Nasscom and the Karnataka government are working on a new initiative to build a start-up warehouse that will incubate 25-30 early-stage technology firms, as part of a drive to increase visibility for such firms and connect them to investors.

As part of this joint accelerator-like initiative, these start-ups will get to participate in monthly hackathons, work closely with other entrepreneurs, be mentored and receive funding from investors, three people familiar with the development said.

Hackathons are events where computer programmers or coders develop software while collaborating with project managers and graphic designers.

Discussions on the new start-up warehouse project are still at an early stage and the details are being fleshed out, so the quantum of funding for this project is yet to be decided, these people said.

The new warehouse will be much larger than the first one that Nasscom set up last year as part of its 10,000 Startups initiative.

“The vision is to have multi-purpose space, some of it will be used to host events, some of the space will be used purely for experiments," said Ravi Gururaj, chairman of the products council at Nasscom. “There will be more spaces and partners involved in this project."

“Hopefully you should hear something about this initiative very soon," said Srivatsa Krishna, secretary at the department of IT in Karnataka. He referred to the new initiative as a “hack-ccelerator", a combination of a hackathon-like programme and an accelerator, but refused to divulge more details.

The warehouse project will also increase the average incubation period for early-stage start-ups, giving them more time to hone their products and be ready for the market.

“A lot of start-ups often complain that a three-six month incubation period is too short," said one of the people familiar with the development, requesting anonymity. “So as part of this initiative, the incubation period of a start-up will get extended."

As part of this initiative, hackathons will also be held on a regular basis, up to as many as four times a month. The primary goal of a hackathon, which can last up to a week, is to create disruptive and innovative software. Investors and large companies view these events as hunting grounds for talented software developers.

On the first anniversary of the 10,000 Startups initiative on Wednesday, Nasscom also said it had handpicked 25 start-ups for a trip to Silicon Valley where these companies will get a chance to connect with technology firms, investors and entrepreneurs.

Product startup thinktank iSpirt, led by software products industry veterans such as Sharad Sharma, hosted a similar initiative last year when it took a handful of homegrown startups to Silicon Valley to meet mergers and acquisitions executives from companies such as International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) and Facebook Inc., as part of a move to spur more acquisitions in India’s fledgling startup ecosystem.

Trading and risk management software start-up Eka Software, visual data software startup Fusion Charts, analytics software startup Wingify and mobile payments startup Ezetap are among those that have been picked by Nasscom for the upcoming Silicon Valley programme.

Nasscom said it was in talks with several state governments, including Goa and Maharashtra, to open start-up warehouses.

“We’re getting lots of interest from across the country in other states, because at the end of the day it generates innovation, job-generating, impacts the image of the state," said Gururaj of Nasscom.

On Wednesday, e-commerce platform Pitney Bowes also launched a new accelerator programme jointly with Nasscom. The new accelerator will be a part of Nasscom’s 10,000 Startups initiative, which has received about 7,000 applications over the past year and incubated more than two dozen startups.

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