The 3-year partnership to set up a pan India initiative to catalyse the country's technology startup ecosystem was signed today by R A Mashelkar, Chairman, GenNext Ventures and Board Member, RIL, and Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India.
"The first hub will start operations in October in Mumbai, and will be subsequently emulated across multiple cities in India," a company statement said.
The MoU allows GenNext Ventures and Microsoft Ventures to bring together key stakeholders - academia, students, entrepreneurs, investors, and corporates - at the GenNext Innovation Hubs and offer some of the most critical resources that startups need to be successful.
Microsoft Ventures will help GenNext identify, shortlist, on-board promising startups and power the accelerator programme. Microsoft Ventures will also provide these startups access to software and technology advice.
"At the end of the accelerator programme cycle, GenNext will invest strategically and selectively in some of these IT startups," it said.
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, he said.
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. Microsoft Ventures is leading that for us in India".
"With this partnership, startups in India will have access to GenNext Ventures' deep industry experience and Microsoft Ventures' knowledge and IT industry network and strength."
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.