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India, UK govts co-host tech event; startup fund in the works

India, UK govts co-host tech event; startup fund in the works

The governments of India and the United Kingdom (UK) on Wednesday co-hosted FutureTech Fest in New Delhi, bringing together more than 200 companies and 1,000 delegates. 

Separately, a UK-India Fast Track Startup Fund is in the pipeline, the British High Commission confirmed. Through the fund, the UK's Department for International Development in India plans to commit up to £38 million (£20 million in capital investment and £8 million in technical assistance, or $48 million in total) to the Indian startup ecosystem. The government of India, through Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, may commit £20 million ($25 million) from the Fund of Funds for Startups managed by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). The UK-India Fast Track Startup Fund will aim to channelise capital to innovative tech startups and deepen the entrepreneurial connect between India and the UK.

The key areas of investment for the fund will be technology-led startups in areas such as fin-tech, ed-tech, agri-tech, health-tech, and tech-driven manufacturing.

On the event, NITI Aayog chief executive Amitabh Kant said, “The FutureTech Fest showcased several disruptive companies, and multiple areas of mutual interest were discussed. India could be the tech garage for the rest of the world, and we are keen to invite the best technology companies and solutions to the country – in areas like healthcare, manufacturing, mobility, and fin-tech.” NITI Aayog is the central government's main policy think-tank.

Moreover, NITI Aayog and the UK Department of International Trade have come together to launch a £1 million ($1.26 million or Rs 9 crore) programme, which aims to bring the best of UK artificial intelligence technologies to India. Starting this December, UK companies will be implementing their solutions in district hospitals and primary healthcare centres across some of India’s most challenged districts – helping them improve access to diagnostic tests, overcome workforce shortages, and lower healthcare costs. 

The UK-India Tech Partnership was launched by the prime ministers of both countries in April 2018. The partnership builds on scientific, commercial and personal links, and creates a framework for deepening India-UK collaboration across all aspects of tech – helping to create jobs, boost productivity, promote trade and investment and tackle shared challenges.

The event also emphasised the several milestones achieved through government-to-government exchange. A few notable mentions include: 

Smart metering tech firm CyanConnode’s Omnimish product: It has generated contracts worth $18.9 million in the last 18 months in India, and was acknowledged at the Independent Power Producers Association of India Awards. The company is working on further contracts potentially worth $100 million. 

Venture capital firm Pontaq: It has launched a £50 million ($63 million) fund designed to create 2,500 plus jobs in fin-tech, smart cities tech and emerging tech across the UK and India.

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