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Kerala Startups Get Rs 273 Cr Funding in 2017-18

Kochi: Emerging businesses in the state received a funding of Rs 273 crore in the 2017-18 fiscal, according the Kerala Startup Mission that released its report today.

Rebuilding Kerala after the August calamity has called for more startups along with a stronger ecosystem even as increased number of technology-based solutions are helping the flood-affected state, the government’s nodal agency for entrepreneurship development and incubation activities told an entrepreneurs’ convention here.

The state has registered 24 technology patents in the last three months with solutions with brand-new businesses dominating the scene, KSUM Chief Executive Officer Saji Gopinath noted at TiEcon Kerala 2018 that focuses on emerging entrepreneurs vis-à-vis the opportunities and challenges they face.

As rebuilding Kerala requires Rs 30,000 crore, the technologies contributing to the mission have to be sustainable, responsive and resilient, he told the inaugural session of the two-day conclave after the Kerala Startup Ecosystem Report was released by S D Shibulal, Chairman of the High Power IT Committee of Kerala. The report has been prepared by TiE Kerala in association with INC42, a media platform.

Gopinath noted that startups from other parts of the country, too, have begun showing interest in Kerala, where the government has created an infrastructure base as the first fully digital state in India. “Being the first state in the country to formulate a policy for the development of the startup ecosystem way back in 2014, Kerala today has over 1,500 startups developing innovative products and services leveraging on Industry 4.0,” he said in the report that showed the 2017-18 number of funded startups as 59 and funding deals as 50.

“From initiatives like Tinkering labs and Young Innovators’ Programme in school, KSUM runs innovation entrepreneurship development centres that have 10,000 aspiring entrepreneurs across 214 technical colleges, the report noted. “Through these, KSUM aims to nurture a new generation of young entrepreneurs who are fully equipped to tackle the challenges our world faces. Since 2015, the pipeline to create young entrepreneurs has been well established, and KSUM is now focusing on building matured startups,” it added.

M Sivasankaran, Secretary, Kerala Electronics and IT Department, said KSUM has funded over 100 startups in the past six months. More than half of the funding awarded to startups in the state are in “steady revenue stages”, he noted in the report.

Shibulal, in his speech at the seventh edition of TiEcon Kerala, said the deluge that ravaged the state this monsoon has given its administration and people to dream for a greater change and work towards it. There should be concerted efforts to ensure zero waste, zero carbon emission and zero paper currency, he emphasised.

The one-and-a-half-year-old government body he led has sought stronger digital infrastructure, a futuristic vision on information technology and holding mini events across the globe on the subject, added Shibulal, a former CEO and MD of IT giant Infosys.

The August calamity, the worst in the state’s history in nearly a century, brought its people together, he recalled. “We must congratulate ourselves for the way we responded to the floods and landslides,” he added.

M S A Kumar, head of TiE Kerala, said its members offer voluntary mentoring and strategic support to nurture early-stage entrepreneurs. The other speakers were V G Mathew (South Indian Bank), Ajith A Mooppan (MN Holdings) and Harikrishnan Nair (Western India Cashew Co).

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