When governments, that too at the state level, join in the efforts at funding startups, you can rest assured the country‚Äôs entrepreneurs are in good hands. The Karnataka government is showing the way by investing in a special purpose vehicle, which has been named the Centre of Excellence for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (CoE-DS&AI). The seed capital for this technological hub will be Rs. 40 crore ($6.1 million). The centre will be free to develop the ideas outside of Karnataka also.
NASSCOM, the association in India representing the interests of the IT industry at large will act as a partner in CoE-DS&AI and will look after the implementation of programmes conceived by the hub.
Promoted through the department of information technology, Karnataka, this investment in developing new technologies and products with the application of AI and is likely to provide around 35,000 jobs over the next few years. This is conceived as part of the state‚Äôs plans for the five-year period 2015-20. The CoE-DS&AI centre will be formally inaugurated in January 2018.
The state has other ambitious plans for the IT sector and towards giving a fillip to the startups in all sectors as well. A Rs 2, 000-crore fund has been set aside for this purpose and the aim is to nurture 20,000 startups by the year 2020. There is another special purpose vehicle, the Karnataka Information Technology Venture Capital Fund (KITVEN), which is also meant to offer funding avenues to startups and has already helped about 25 companies.
At another level, the state has set aside a Rs. 400 crore funds chest meant to make equity investments and these funds are divided among different segments, like semi-conductors manufacturing, biotech and even creating a fund of funds that can invest in VC funds involved in funding startups.