“We used to help corpo rates and startups to interact when requests came. But even then it was often frustrating for startups because nothing would happen after the first meeting. The idea now is to provide a sustained engage ment where you don’t just wash and rinse, but also re peat the cycle over and over so as to help deepen relation ships,“ said Ravi Gururaj chairman of the Nasscom Product Council, which has been running a programme to create 10,000 startups by 2020. Nasscom will create a team dedicated to the task of sustaining the programme.Gururaj said 50 large companies had expressed interest in the initiative, but Nasscom decided to go with the first 20 to learn from and grow the programme before taking in more members.
Software product association iSpirt has an M&A Connect programme that is designed to encourage big companies to acquire Indian startups. The Nasscom programme is broader and seeks to address the traditional problem of product startups finding big companies difficult to navigate. For the big companies, startup engagements are becoming crucial given that some of the most innovative work is happening in startups, which tend to be less burdened by bureaucratic processes that are intrinsic to large corporates.
“Companies want to have a sustained startup engagement to fill gaps in their portfolios, add products to the mix and foster joint innovation.But they find it difficult to identify startups with whom they can explore synergistic tie-ups. Since Nasscom works with a large number of startups, we will help with the curation. If a company wants startups in, say , internet-ofthings (IoT), we can quickly provide a good list,“ Gururaj said.
Avnish Sabharwal, managing director for growth & strategy and deal origination in Ac centure India, said the Indian startup ecosystem was at an inflexion point.
“Through our Open Inno vation initiative and with NIPP , Accenture is working as a bridge-maker to help Indian startups in the areas of auto mation, cyber-security , gamifi cation, big data and IoT take action on their technology in novations.“ US insurance ma jor Allstate Solutions, which is part of the initiative, said it is excited about the immense potential that is available with the startups. “We want to explore the ecosystem to un derstand the synergies for a strategic way forward,“ Che tan Garga, MD of AllState So lutions, said.
Ashutosh Vaidya, chief delivery officer in Dell Servic es, said customers would ben efit from winning solutions created by the entrepreneurs agility and ideas combined with Dell’s market reach and scale.