Indian IT industry body National Association of Software and Services Companies is revamping its 10,000 Startups programme, Nasscom vice-president KS Viswanathan told TechCircle.
Following significant investments in consumer tech with participation from foreign players, Nasscom wants to now focus on startups in emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, robotics, augmented and virtual reality, he added.
According to Nasscom’s annual survey released late last year, the number of startups in India was estimated at 5,000.
Viswanathan believes that Nasscom has already impacted 4,000-plus startups under the programme that was launched in early 2013 to support and create more than 10,000 startups over a period of 10 years.
“The ecosystem needs a change, especially our role as a facilitator. Technology is changing rapidly and it is our responsibility to understand, support and nurture the next wave of technologies that will create the next 5,000 startups in the country,” Viswanathan said, adding that some segments like consumer tech is on auto-pilot.
While India is already the third largest startup ecosystem, the quality of deep technology startups need to improve, said Viswanathan. “We need to build a post-internet era startup ecosystem to be in the global reckoning. Are we ready for it as of now, especially when compared with China, the US and Israel? The answer is no,” he added.
To bridge the skilling gap and to connect with the industry, Nasscom, in association with corporates, state governments and the Centre, is establishing centres of excellence in IoT, data sciences, cybersecurity and AI. Many of these are already functional.
“We have all the conditions to create these startups and we are starting at the right time. You can call it Industry 4.0 and we need a much deeper linkage with the academia as they have better domain knowledge. The CoEs will act as a facilitator in the mission.”
The industry body has identified more than 64 job roles in the new post-internet economy and will work to reskill existing IT workforce towards that. “Our colleges will take another five to eight years to change the curriculum and this has to be an industry initiative,” Viswanathan said, adding that Educast has been helping Nasscom to achieve that.
Every year, NASSCOM has been taking 40 startups to the Silicon Valley to expose them to knowledge and industry expertise under its Innotrek programme. Viswanathan said that the startups will be increasingly selected from the emerging technology sphere to help entrepreneurs working in these sectors. Nasscom’s Emerge 50 startup initiative will also focus on these sectors.