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Start-up incubator T-Hub looks to go international

LiveMint logoLiveMint 22-08-2017 Yunus Y. Lasania

Hyderabad: Since its birth in December 2015 as a co-working office space for start-ups, the T-Hub in Hyderabad has finally become a full-fledged incubator. Among its various initiatives as a start-up accelerator or mentor, it recently initiated the corporate innovation division (CID) to connect start-ups and large companies, and is now looking to go international.

“The idea is to make Hyderabad a start-up destination. First, we wanted to create density and the building was just a co-working space. Today, the early-stage start-ups are doing very well. We are now looking at success stories and growth-stage start-ups,” said Srinivas Kollipara, chief operating officer, T-Hub.

According to Kollipara, as part of the mentoring process under one of T-Hub’s incubator programmes started recently, start-ups are now asked about the interventions they require and the help they need. “It is a one-year programme,” he said. Further, under the CID, typically for large companies or multinational companies, T-Hub runs area- or industry-specific programmes based on what the companies require.

“For the start-ups, it is amazing. They get access to resources which help them. And for the companies, their needs range from wanting to know the best technology available (with start-ups) to finding start-ups (which can help them),” said Kollipara.

One of the programmes was Innovate for Digital India for chip maker Intel India, which had approached T-Hub to find out which start-ups were using Intel’s architecture to solve Indian challenges. “We put out a call for applications, and we got about 1,500. The top 10 then went through an accelerator programme,” recalled Kollipara.

Ravi Teja A., who founded Ayasta Technologies Pvt. Ltd (incorporated in March), an Internet of Things (IoT) start-up that focuses on electrical grids, with Sai Deep Reddy and Raghu Kumar, said that the whole process of growth went up 10-fold after coming to T-Hub. “Before, we had just two customers and now we have seven,” he added.

Ayasta, which focuses on the maintenance of electrical grids using artificial intelligence, also has access to a talent pool in the form of students at the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), where T-Hub is situated. “Through this place, we also had access to chip makers, who we would not have been able to reach out to otherwise,” pointed out Teja.

Having an incubator’s support in the form of resources and access to respective industries is important for any start-up. Those who have had to work from scratch without any support know the labour that involves.

Sashank Vinta, an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) graduate who founded Sendfast, a last-mile delivery start-up, with two of his batchmates, knows how hard it was to set up his company and tie up with franchises. “If there is an incubator supporting start-ups by giving them access and connecting them to the right people, it helps. But (unlike T-Hub) many of the accelerators are unreliable,” said Vinta, whose venture now has operations across south India and has also received funding.

T-Hub is also looking to concentrate on building an international presence. “Start-ups want to go international but it’s not easy, and those from abroad tell us they want to enter but are afraid. So here, we can easily tell them who their customers will be and help them to get market access,” Kollipara said, adding that the international division at T-Hub has already been helping start-ups participate in international events.

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