incub@TE – A platform to convert your ideas into commercially viable products or services – Rajesh Kumar (VP-Strategic Initiatives)
Tata Elxsi recently announced the launch of incub@TE, an incubation center program to nurture and support aspiring entrepreneurs. The initiative is designed to create the next wave of product and service oriented technology start-ups in the areas of internet, mobile, social, local, enterprise, cloud and embedded applications. Mr. Rajesh Kumar spearheads this initiative.
Mr. Rajesh Kumar – Vice President – Strategic Initiatives
Rajesh Kumar looks after the Strategic Initiatives at Tata Elxsi. He joined Tata Elxsi in 1997, since then he has setup and expanded the services business in various areas including product research and design engineering for audio video products, digital TV, Image processing and Computer graphics.
Prior to Tata Elxsi he was working at CDAC, Pune where he was heading the visual computing group. He holds a degree in Computer Science from IIT Kanpur.
An exclusive talks with Mr. Rajesh Kumar for all aspiring new entrepreneurs.
What is INCUB@TE all about? What kind of problems are you trying to solve?
Mr. Kumar : Tata Elxsi’s Incub@TE program is designed to create the next wave of product and service oriented technology startups.
The Tata Elxsi incub@TE program has been set up to foster entrepreneurial activities in the technology space. We provide a platform for start-ups and prospective entrepreneurs to convert their ideas into commercially viable products or services. We help you take your ideas to the market real fast by providing ready-to-use infrastructure, key technical consulting through in-house experts, mentorship, access to service providers, plug-nplay office and connections with people and organizations who matter. This enables the start-ups associated with the program get better visibility and an association that brings trust in their target market.
How it is different from other incubators?
Mr. Kumar : We would not like to comment on this as each incubator has its own USP and offering. The key highlights on Incub@TE are given below
- Bootstrapping support
- Support for startups through domestic/global alliances
- Long-term association with startups: Up to 18 months to ensure success
Other than above, it is backed by Tata Elxsi, a Tata organization that brings instant credibility to startups.
What was, is and will be the Indian startup culture?
Mr. Kumar : India does not have a full-fledged startup culture yet, but we believe that the incub@TE programme and similar initiatives by other incubators, accelerators, investors and other organisations can help create such a culture, helping talented people with good ideas to strengthen their technology and solutions roadmap.
What are the common problems for new entrepreneurs in India?
Mr. Kumar : An obvious answer would be lack of funding but we beg to differ. The single most common problem for new entrepreneurs is a lack of awareness about entrepreneurship.
Startup culture is new to India. In a way, we are witnessing the first generation of startups in India as a mass movement. You don’t come across a next door neighbor, with whom you confide in to benefit from his start up experience, unlike IT services business today where almost everyone on a coffee table knows about the complete business cycle.
Why incubation is required for new idea/innovation launching?
Mr. Kumar : In the initial days of a Startup, it benefits from the shared infrastructural and basic operating costs, mentorship, and alliance with fellow entrepreneurs. It provides training about entrepreneurship and other related matters. It enables startups to focus on their products/solutions and their customers. Incubation provides legitimacy in the community and access to capital by helping a startup to get in front of people who matter.
What is your selection criterion of judging an idea for incubation? Do you focus on any particular geography and sector?
Mr. Kumar : We are looking for startups in the areas of internet, social, mobile, analytics, the cloud, local and embedded applications. Team composition, execution capabilities and growth potential are some of the key criteria for selection.
Please share some success story, who has got benefited from this program?
Mr. Kumar : We signed on the first startup, Big V Telecom, a few months ago. Big V Telecom offers customised business telephony solutions for businesses and consumers. It has already deployed its solutions in select regions in India, and is looking to scale its presence across India and the global market.
What initiatives are you planning in the next 3-5 years to boost up startup ecosystem in India?
Mr. Kumar : We are currently focused towards Start-up incubation and success by leveraging our experience in emerging technologies, global presence & association with diverse industries.
Success breeds success. In the next 3-5 years we hope to see a few very successful startups coming out of our incub@TE programme which will have a major positive impact on the local startup ecosystem.
Being a TATA Enterprise, how do you get benefited from this program? (Question is being answered from a stakeholder point of view by Tata Elxsi)
Mr. Kumar : Tata Elxsi takes an equity stake of 10% or more in the startups incubated at incub@TE.
Message for new entrepreneurs?
Mr. Kumar : Reach out, seek help wherever needed, focus on your product/solutions offerings & business and let others take care of the rest.
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