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Designing The Future

Designing The Future
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Could anyone have imagined that a simple smartphone could start a revolution in India? Currently, India has about 159 million mobile Internet users who are expected to double up and reach 300 million in just one year, by 2017, according to a joint report by Internet and Mobile Association of India and KPMG. These staggering figures are attracting investment from across the world.

Domestic demand opening doors

“Whichever study you take, we are looking at the demand to the tune of 300-400 billion by 2020, and this is a demand that can make “Make in India” happen. If you look at the last two decades, one thing that hasn’t changed in India is how intellectual property is held and how the royalties channelizing the economics of innovation.

We need manufacturing in electronics, which is IPR rich and caters to the profit-rich part of the value chain,” says JS Deepak, Secretary, Department of Electronics and Information Technology. The Indian start-up ecosystem has set the ball rolling.

“Apart from positively impacting the lifestyles of citizens involved, start-ups are now creating innovative technology solutions that are addressing the key social problems that India is facing and creating significant growth opportunities for every stakeholders,” says R Chandrashekhar, President, NASSCOM.

Young entrepreneurs innovating to change lives

According to NASSCOM’s latest report, India ranks third globally in number of start-ups with more than 4,200 entities. India is the world’s youngest start-up nation with 72 percent founders less than 35 years. India’s best educational institutes have opened in-house incubators to encourage students and spark their creativity.

We have about 100 incubators and accelerators and threefour start-ups come up every day. First generation entrepreneurs are coming with some real wacky ideas to make life easier. Sameer Khan, left his corporate job to come up with, Orahi, a car pooling app in Delhi NCR. Gaurav Sareen an ex-hotelier and ex-cop, has tried his hands at relationships come with Perfiniti.

It analyses the couple on parameters like listening skills, relationship communication, problem solving and decision making to name a few and gives you coaching and counseling sessions to help you revive your relationship. Delhi-based Deep Bajaj came up with a hygienic way for women to stand and urinate called Peebuddy.

Investors looking for IoT, healthcare & educational products

Looking at such enthusiasm in the Indian ecosystem, world’s biggest players have started coming in to support. Tech giant Qualcomm, that announced $150 million investments in India, launched its “Design in India” Challenge to encourage the creation of a local product and hardware design in the areas of smartphones, tablets and IoTs.

“It invites anyone from entrepreneurs to start-ups, who’s got an interesting idea on the hardware design side in wearables, IoTs, smart cities, smartphones, tablets and drones. The idea is to come up with fresh ideas, and also build on the existing ones, by bringing them to our Incubation lab in Bengaluru and make India a core design hub for the world,” says Sunil Lalvani, President, Qualcomm.

Qualcomm will be investing $400,000 in the initiative. Healthcare and education are two such segments that are catching investors’ attention. Qualcomm ventures invested in Reverie technologies, which has come up with language e-learning platform and Attune technologies, which is providing mobile health advice and tele-medicines facilities.

Business tycoon Ratan Tata has invested in Salman Khan’s non-profit e-learning platform Khan Academy.Similarly, Infosys has invested in Whoop, a start-up offering performance enhancing systems for athletes.

Government encouraging home-grown VCs

The Government of India has come up with Electronic Development Fund. As per Deepak, “Through our Electronic Development Fund, we hope to have a corpus of 10,000 crore, in alliance with CANARA bank venture capital fund. We will fund venture capital funds to in turn fund research, much of it through startups.

The R&D has been a part of government initiative but we have the criticism that it has been done in ivory towers and involvement of industry has not been adequate.” The government has also got on board best minds like Softbank’s Nikesh Arora, Snapdeal’s Kunal Bahl, ex-Infosys Director Mohandas Pai and OYO rooms’ Ritesh Agarwal to come with a start-up policy to help and regulate Indian start-up ecosystem.

“It is an exciting time to be in India right now. Entrepreneurs are hungry and wanting to prove themselves. Technology can drive a change at massive level. The kind of change India needs,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google Inc.