Telecom Incubator Startup Village to Mentor, Fund Student Technopreneurs in India

Startup Village is India’s first public-private partnership startup incubator for the telecom industry. The incubator has a corpus of Rs. 100 crores (US$ 19.616 million) and plans to invest in 1,000 student startups over 10 years. To emphasize, Startup Village is for student startups only. The incubator is based out of India’s southern state of Kerala and has some marquee names as mentors like Sunil Kalra, Rajan Anandan and Alok Bajpai.

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Startup Village constituents include the National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the government of India, Technopark and MobME Wireless.

Not Just Money

Startup Village is not just about the Rs. 100 crore corpus. In fact, that is the least important aspect. The student startups will be exposed to the latest and greatest telecom gear in the advanced labs. The whole campus is 4G enabled. Most importantly chief-mentor Kris Gopalakrishnan from Infosys will add immense value to the the program for student entrepreneurs. Other people involved have the connections to bring in investments, as necessary.

Companies incubated in the village will get a 3-year tax exemption for revenues up to Rs. 50 lakh (US$ 5 million). Mobme, a successful student startup, will provide the technical support.

Other perks include legal services, accounting services, intellectual property services, computers, phone lines, video conferencing rooms, huge discounts on server space, office space, and virtual office services.

Startup Village should take some heat away from the eCommerce space and put the heat back where it belongs: Telecom (apps and more).

One Question, Though

Startup Village wants to find the next billion dollar company.  My question: Are billion dollar companies found through incubators? Or do they just happen, and investors will be lucky to stumble on them? I believe the latter is true. What do you think?

I have the same question for innovation too. Can it be carefully engineered?