The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has launched India’s first virtual incubator, which aims to take care of the short and mid-term needs of startups arising out of the global pandemic situation. “More than 80% of the start-ups in the digital tech space have been negatively impacted by the global pandemic and we appeal to all large companies to extend their support to these start-ups through the virtual incubator”, stated IAMAI president Subho Ray while announcing the virtual incubator.
IAMAI was established in 2004 by leading online publishers, as a professional industry body representing the online industry in India. IAMAI has a membership of nearly 300 Indian and overseas companies, and has offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata.
The primary function of the virtual incubator is to address the needs of the start-ups located outside the major cities of Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, and Kolkata. Many of the “Made for India” products and service ideas have their genesis in smaller towns and cities. But these start-ups and their founders being outside the so-called startup network find it difficult to validate their ideas, garner sufficient funds for “proof of concept” and are not able to find suitable guides and mentors. It this category of startups that can have and nation-wide access and possibly global access in the future by connecting with IAMAI’s virtual incubator.
“The idea behind the Virtual Incubator was firstly to reach out to the far flung Tier 2 and 3 cities of India where the budding entrepreneurs have no access to such professional services, and secondly to cater to the changed realities of the present pandemic and post-Covid era,” shared Jitender Singh Minhas, CEO, IAMAI Startup Foundation (MOBILE 10X). “IAMAI has physical presence in the form of Startup Hubs in four Indian cities, namely Bangalore, Gurugram, Calicut and Raipur. However, with increase in penetration of the internet into the tier 2,3 and rural areas, there is steady increase in the number of startups with disruptive ideas emerging from these parts of the country. There is strong need to extend a supporting hand to these startups who are far away from the well-known startup eco-systems. Hence, the idea of launching virtual incubator, to augment the already present physical incubators.”
“It will be different from the existing physical entities in the sense that the entrepreneurs can mostly work from the their homes and do not have to migrate to other cities to get the required support. All kinds of support will be provided to them online. They will also be extended free credits from IAMAI worth approx. $100,000 which will comprise of various industry supported programmes and free cloud space. This virtual incubator would be operated in a hybrid mode and will include monthly/quarterly physical meetups with the mentors and industry members,” Jitender added.
The programme will comprise of multiple cohorts of similar startups based on their domains/technology/geography, and each cohort will have few mentors associated with it. These mentors will be accessible to the startups all the time online and sometimes offline too. Regular webinar based learning sessions will be organised on various entrepreneurship related topics by the experts. The cohorts will have the opportunity to network with the prominent leaders from the relevant industry and also with the investors. The programme has a flexible structure, catering to the varying needs of incubated startups. More information about the virtual incubator is available on the website https://mobile10x.in/m10xvi.html#getstartedvi.
Image source: IAMAI