Facebook on Wednesday announced a virtual reality (VR) programme in partnership with Bengaluru-based Startup Village Collective (SV.CO) to help students in the country build their ideas into globally marketable products and services.
The new VR programme under SV.CO's School of Innovation will provide a platform for nearly four million engineering students across 3,300 colleges to learn how to build innovative products while they are in college and get polished under the guidance of the industry experts.
"India is host to one of the largest community of developers and is also one of the fastest growing regions for start-ups. The School of Innovation programme is our investment into skill for tomorrow. We want to make sure, that we have invested in not only helping the communities in building products today, but also in building a world for tomorrow," Satyajeet Singh, Head of Platform Partnerships, Facebook India and South Asia, told reporters here.
"The new programme is a step forward, in realising our vision of building an ecosystem that inspires innovation and empowers young talent to build products using emerging technologies such as VR that will shape the future of businesses," Singh added.
As part of the new VR-based programme, top 10 student teams from across 3,300 engineering colleges in India will be selected to build a next generation VR product idea they have.
The selected teams will be on-board the SV.CO Online Learning Platform for a six-month programme that includes online and in-person learning to progress their idea, build a low and high-fidelity prototype and finally launch to customers.
The successful teams will be selected and given an opportunity to represent their product in front of a leadership panel on demo day, to be organised at Facebook India office in January 2019.
"Startup ecosystem in India is plagued by the notion that they are copycats of the US models. We need to change this perception that our startups only hop into the bandwagon while others blaze the trail," said Sanjay Vijayakumar, Chairman at SV.CO -- India's first digital incubator for students.
"The VR platform, in throwing open uncharted areas, provides us just that opportunity. And we are a happy partner with Facebook which recognises the potential of bright 18-22 year olds in Indian colleges in working wonders with the new technology," Vijayakumar said.
This is the second program Facebook is starting for VR. Around the end of November, Facebook announced accelerator programmes that will help tech start-ups, developers and students in India build products using emerging technologies. It announced that in partnership with Hyderabad-based startup incubator T-Hub, the India Innovation Hub will work with 10 VR focused startups to accelerate their businesses in new and innovative ways. Each start-up will get access to training, mentors, workshops, research and Facebook's VR Innovation lab as part of the six-month accelerator programme. Applications for the Innovation Hub programme will be open from January 2018, and the first programme will begin in early 2018.