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Reliance-Microsoft Launch Innovation Hubs In India

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GenNext Ventures, the venture capital fund of Reliance Industries (RIL), has signed a three-year partnership with Microsoft Ventures for setting up innovation hubs to support startups in the country. RA Mashelkar, chairman of GenNext and Bhaskar Pramanik, chairman of Microsoft India, have signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU). The first hub will start operations in October in Mumbai.

The hubs will bring together academia, students, entrepreneurs, investors and corporate houses and offer some of the most critical resources that startups need to be successful, said the company in a statement. Microsoft Ventures will help GenNext to identify and shortlist startups and advice in the areas of software and technology. At the end of the accelerator programme cycle, GenNext will invest strategically and selectively in some of these IT startups.

Mashelkar said: “Technology startups, which are a key source of innovation in India, are at an inflexion point today. While the numbers have grown exponentially year on year, the industry is at a nascent stage. While several initiatives are underway to help startups, what is lacking is a national
platform that seamlessly brings together all stakeholders and also provides the resources Indian startups need to be successful. That’s what we are aiming to do through GenNext Innovation Hubs, in our partnership with Microsoft Ventures.”

Bhaskar Pramanik said: “The emerging trends in India’s technology startup space are fascinating -- both in numbers and in diversity of ideas. At Microsoft,  we have had a long-standing commitment to innovation, not just within but also in the IT ecosystems of markets we operate in.”

The GenNext Innovation Hub at Mumbai will provide the opportunity to a select group of entrepreneurs to launch or re-engineer their company through an immersive, four-month-long programme. Startups in the programme will have access to business mentors, technical and design experts and plug and play office space. They will also have access to mentors who can help them gain valuable market insights for Indian and global markets.

Startups have to apply online (http://www.gennexthub.com). The last date for receiving applications is September 25, 2014. The programme will commence with the first batch of startups on October 6, 2014 at the GenNext Innovation Hub in Navi Mumbai.

nevin@businessworld.in