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IT industry lobby Nasscom has launched a project to boost Indian deep-tech startups and help them scale globally.

A three-stage programme, Deep Tech Club (DTC) 2.0, is aimed at scaling the impact to over 1,000 firms that are leveraging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), Internet of Things, robotics and blockchain.

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Its central focus is to empower pioneers in Indian deep-technology startups and connect them with industry leaders, investors, academia, researchers and government regulators to establish a global ecosystem impacting physical and digital transformation.

According to Nasscom, the DeepTech startup base in the country will continue to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40-45% in 2021. As of 2020, more than 2,100 Indian startups were leveraging deep technologies, up from 1,600 in 2019.

There has also been a spurt in deep-tech startup funding, as investor interest in niche products and platforms has increased significantly, resulting in over 14% of the total startup investments going to deep-tech ventures in 2020, which is 11% higher than in 2019. Up to 87% of these investments were in AI and ML startups in 2020.

“The startup ecosystem of our country is strong and robust and is already ahead in solving many global challenges. In this era of digital, it is essential for these startups to continue to digitalize and integrate deep technologies in order to constantly evolve and be globally competitive," said Debjani Ghosh, president, Nasscom.

DTC works in a phased approach to scale through partners. Global partners include Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute (ATR), Japan and Dallas Venture Capital, USA.

In India, Nasscom has partnered with industry and academia leaders including Intel, Cisco Launchpad, NetApp, IIT-Kanpur, Sine (IIT-B), T-Hub and Zinnov.

“Intel India has helped enable over 80 deep-tech startups to date through the Intel Startup Program and we remain committed to accelerating their journey from development to putting products in the market," said Jitendra Chaddah, country manager, Global Supply Chain, Intel India.

The programme aims to increase the number of partnerships in the second stage accelerating the growth of the deep-tech ecosystem.

Over the years DTC has helped companies raise $70 million and provided over 2,000 industry connects via six DeepTech confluences, and corporate- and investor-led accelerators to support deep-tech companies.

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