India's own LinkedIn: DIPP to launch networking platform for startups

The Virtual Startup Hub will help startups discover and interact with investors, mentors and incubators
India's own LinkedIn: DIPP to launch networking platform for startups
India's own LinkedIn: DIPP to launch networking platform for startups
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In another step towards boosting the startup ecosystem in India, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) will be launching a networking platform for startups called Virtual Startup Hub. It is expected to go live in the first week of April.

According to a report by Mint, startups will be able to use this platform to discover and interact with mentors, incubators and other service providers. An upgrade to the Startup India hub launched by the government last year, the Virtual Startup Hub will connect startups - based on their sectors and geographical locations – with investors looking to invest in those sectors.

DIPP Joint Secretary told Mint that it already has list of investors, incubators and mentors on Startup India hub. It is now building a platform that is more interactive where startups can send messages and fix appointments with mentors and investors.

And not just networking, the Virtual Startup Hub will also have learning and development modules on incorporating companies, how to pitch to investors and other documents relevant and useful for startups.

Once DIPP manages to bring enough startups, mentors and investors on board, the Virtual Startup Hub will be integrated with the Startup India Hub which will be subsequently pulled down.

The Startup India hub, which was launched in March last year currently has 49 investors and two incubators listed on it. However, activity on this website seems very limited. Active forums and discussions are few.

The government, in the past one year, has been rolling out a number of initiatives to boost the startup ecosystem in India. Earlier this month, DIPP said that it will be relooking at the definition of startups and invited inputs from the industry on the same. It is also looking at revisiting tax benefit eligibility of startups.

Not just that, as per a report in the Economic Times, DIPP is in the process of setting up a trust that will run a Rs 2,000 crore credit guarantee fund for risk coverage of institutions lending to startups. The fund will give Rs 500 crore every year to lending institutions that give collateral-free credit to startups. Once required approvals are in place, DIPP hopes to launch this trust in a month’s time.

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