India’s premier science and technology institutions have never lacked in infrastructure. In successive governments, the ministry concerned is usually headed by the Prime Minister himself and the ecosystem has produced many world class individuals. The IITs and Indian institute of Science (IISc) have been known for the research they do. But in a pleasant turn of events, the recent past has witnessed a number of initiatives from these institutions to encourage entrepreneurs with relevant and workable ideas to convert them into startups. Obviously, the startups are commercial ventures and will be out in the market to make money. But their incubation and initiation are happening in these institutions.
The Indian Institute of Science is reported to have built an ecosystem that will help to convert research projects quickly into commercial ventures. And what’s more, the true ingredients for startups to incubate: expertise, money, office space and mentorship, are all readily available as part of this ecosystem.
So, the way it works is research students doing PhD in the institutions share their ideas with their mentors and the different departments in the institution come up with their support physically and otherwise and the idea reaches the concept and then the pilot scale. At this stage, the student-entrepreneur can start looking for investors and then look to commercialise it.
The IISc has helped bring out a startup Mimyk, which is into med-tech, making endoscopy training devices called EndoMymik. These devices are as such available from manufacturers around the world, but Mimyk can offer it at a much cheaper price. Now doctors will go through this training and India has sufficient captive market for these devices for the next few years.
IIT Madras has been the birthplace of two startups, Fibsol and Yaathum Biotech. Fibsol manufactures biofertilizers whereas Yaathum is another med-tech startup making rapid diagnostic kits. These too have been promoted by PhD students of IIT Madras. This trend itself is interesting to note since research scholars have rarely exhibited interest in commerce earlier.
Valetude Health Premus and Cutting Edge Medical Devices are two startups that have emerged from IIT Delhi.
All these developments have occurred in the past 3-5 years and the only reason attributed to this could be the changing environment, both in the startup ecosystem as well as the broader vision the science and technology institutions have acquired of late.