Karnataka to draft Startup Act to boost the state’s entrepreneurial activity
“We hope to become the unequivocal IT innovation and startup capital in the world,” said IT-BT secretary Srivatsa Krishna.
Krishna recently met state biotechnology secretary Tanusree Deb Barma and Nasscom Product Council Chairman Ravi Gururaj to discuss issues including issues giving startups global visibility, better linkages to academia and industry, ease of doing business in the state and accessibility of early-stage risk capital.
“We see funds available for 2-5 year-old companies, not in the initial 1-2 years. We are looking at that space,” said Barma.
At present Karnataka providesan initial grant of Rs 5 lakh to nine colleges to each to fund research on projects to solve local problems and find solutions to local needs as part of the ‘Karnataka New Age Incubation Network.’ Startups are eligible for plug-and-play space with internet at a concessional rate of Rs 5-15 per square feet.
“There is a lot of political will to get support this ecosystem,” said Barma.
Barma said the state will also announce a biotech-focused venture capital fund which will operate as a fund of funds.Separately, Nasscom’s 10,000 Startups initiative will also get bigger in scale in Karnataka. A new warehouse will include incubators focused on verticals like design, the Internet-of-Things, and biotechnology, among other things.
As part of the expansion, women-founded companies may get free incubation space for six months, said Gururaj.
“It’s not a lot of money but it’s symbolic. We’re hoping that will push the agenda further,” he said.