GenNext Ventures, the venture investment arm of Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries, has signed a pact with Microsoft Ventures to set up a pan-India startup accelerator platform starting with 12,000 sq ft large GenNext Innovation Hubs in Mumbai to incubate technology startups in the healthcare, mobility, M2M, big data, education and digital media space.
With this partnership, startups in India will have access to RILs experience in scaling businesses and planning strategies and Microsoft Ventures' knowledge and IT industry network and strength. Microsoft will help GenNext identify, shortlist, on-board promising startups and power the accelerator programme.
"The first hub will start operations in October in Mumbai, and will be subsequently emulated across multiple cities in India. We will set up seven-eight centres in a year," said Microsoft Ventures' director Ravi Narayan.
Noted scientist R A Mashelkar, chairman of GenNext and board member of RIL, said: "Technology startups, which are a key source of innovation in India, are at an inflexion point. 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. That's what we are aiming to do through GenNext Innovation Hubs, in our partnership with Microsoft Ventures."
At the end of the four-month-long accelerator programme cycle, GenNext will invest strategically and selectively in some of these IT startups.
To date, GenNext has invested an undisclosed amount in an enterprise software firm Covacsis Technologies, surveillance solution company Videonetics Technologies and an unnamed big data firm.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)