THub in Silicon Valley

HYDERABAD: Though the Telangana IT department’s flagship project – T-Hub – is yet to be launched, a host of international agencies as well as global leaders, who work to build the requisite ecosystem for startups, are now trooping in to grab a slice of the action, said a top state government official on Tuesday.

“When we visited the US earlier this year, we had mentioned that we are keen on having an outpost or branch of the T-Hub in Silicon Valley, where startups can have direct access to more investors and get exposure to international markets. As a result, an illustrious group of global leaders, who have made their mark in Silicon Valley and include members that hail from this region, are supporting us in creating a T-Hub outpost there. In fact, we already have two concrete proposals – one is Global Business Incubator (GBI) from US and the other is LEDMAC from UK. Both are willing to engage with startups at T-Hub,” IT secretary Jayesh Ranjan said.

The group of 12 leaders supporting T-Hub’s march to Silicon Valley include names such as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Adobe president and CEO Shantanu Narayen, Aruba Networks co-founder Keerti Melkote, TiE Silicon Valley member Raju Reddy, MasterCard president Ajay Banga and Dayakar Puskoor of Naya Ventures, among others.

T-Hub chief operating officer Srinivas Kollipara revealed that the incubator is slated to become an exclusive India partner of London-based specialist management consultancy, LEDMAC, which is focused on the education sector. “They have tie-ups with almost all the top B-schools in London such as the London Business School (LBS). The institution is working on its entrepreneurship program and we will be its exclusive partner in India,” Kollipara said, adding that they are willing to work with startups here and help them connect to larger startups in UK as well.

Meanwhile, Srinivas Gogineni, chairman of US-headquartered GBI, pointed out that India being a lucrative market, there are international startups that are keen to set up operations here but require handholding. Hence, GBI, which has a global footprint, wants to partner with T-Hub in facilitating startups to come here and also help the ones incubated here to access markets there, he explained. GBI has eight physical spaces across UK, India and US and over a dozen virtual incubators all over the globe. It has, till date, worked with 432 startups in the area of renewable energy, biotechnology, clean tech and IT.

“In 2012, we had earmarked a fund of $100 million to be invested in Indian startups but we have only been able to invest only $2 million till now. We want to identify ‘good quality startups’ here to invest in and in case they are keen to explore international markets, we can facilitate that too given our incubation centres in different countries,” Gogineni said.

Even as T-Hub charts out a Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with these international agencies, it is also in the process of cementing more such partnerships in countries such as Hong Kong, where the startup ecosystem is considered to have already matured, Ranjan said.

Meanwhile, Ranjan mentioned that the state government is penning down its ‘Innovation Policy’, which is slated to be released by the end of this month after the launch of T-Hub. The first phase of T-Hub will be formally inaugurated by Tata Sons Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata on September 7. Spread over 60,000 sft, the first phase of T-Hub can house 800 startups. The second phase will be spread over 3 lakh sft with a capacity to house around 5,000 startups. The second phase will be ready by 2018 when Hyderabad will be hosting the World IT Congress.