T-Hub promises to provide strong ecosystem for startups

Aspirations of budding entrepreneurs will get wings at T-Hub, billed as India’s largest technology incubator, which promises to provide the much-needed ecosystem for startups.

The unique organization created by the Telangana government in partnership with three premier institutions is inviting young entrepreneurs to walk in with an idea and walk out with the product. It provides an environment where startups of different layers interact with one another to find a solution to their problems and also get mentors to build technology solutions and business strategies and mobilize funds.

With a vibrant community of all players touching startups, it is the only such facility in the country either in public or private space.

From mentors to venture capitalists, angel funds, incubators, accelerators to service providers like legal companies and accounting firms, it has all players under one roof.

Such was the response that the 70,000 square-foot fully-automated and uniquely designed facility at the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) almost ran out of capacity even before its formal launch on Thursday.

“We already have 130 startups that signed up while another 150 are in the queue. We can’t accommodate more than 150,” T-Hub Chief Operating Officer Srinivas Kollipara told IANS.

However, those who fail to get space in the building need not get disappointed as they will still be able to have access to the vibrant startup community.

Billed as mother of incubators, the facility has been developed by the Telangana government in collaboration with IIIT, Indian School of Business (ISB) and NALSAR University of Law.

While ISB is the business mentor, technology mentorship will be provided by IIIT. NALSAR will help startups in patenting technologies and intellectual property rights.

This ecosystem is expected to come as a boon for startups, a majority of which fail to take off due to various problems including the huge money for taking office space on lease.

T-Hub offers all this and more at a minimum cost for all three categories of startups – launchpad, accelerators and propellers.

An entrepreneur opting for floating desk gets the facility to plug in anywhere in the building, round-the-clock electricity, superfast WiFi and other perks in the range of Rs.4,500 to Rs.5,500 per month.

Startups, which take cabins with seating capacity for 9 to 15 people, have to pay Rs.45,000 to Rs.70,000 per month.

The members will also have free access to talks, seminars and networking events to be conducted by the organization from time to time.

An entrepreneur gets six months to prove himself. “The six-month period is extendable for another six months on a case-by-case basis. One year is the maximum a startup can have its presence here,” said Chief Operation Officer Jay Krishnan.

The Telangana government, which created the facility at a cost of Rs.40 crore, has allocated another Rs.10 crore towards an innovation fund to help startups.

It hopes private players will contribute Rs.90 crore for the fund. “Our intent is to ramp up this fund to Rs.600 crore,” said Information Technology Minister K. Tarakarama Rao, the man behind the initiative.

This initiative is expected to catapult Hyderabad to India’s startup capital, attracting talent from across the country. “As the next stage of growth will come from startups, we hope the state will benefit in terms of employment and revenue generation even if 10 percent of them succeed,” he said.

With T-Hub, Hyderabad is looking for the next stage of growth in technology and catch up with Bengaluru.

All startups till recently were heading to Bengaluru for all their requirements. Officials, however, say even Bengaluru lacked an integrated facility like T-Hub.

Fully aware that innovation and entrepreneurship don’t thrive in government-like environment, the government promises that it will not poke its nose in day-to-day operations of T-Hub.

To encourage creativity, the facility is open to everyone and not confined to engineering graduates or diploma holders.

There are different layers for screening startup ideas. A bunch of mentors see if they are viable and scalable and, after looking into all the factors, validate them.

“Incubators and accelerators have their own criteria but for regular startups there is no such thing. We don’t know what succeeds. Companies with multiple investors became giants while companies which were well-funded failed,” said Srinivas.

Enthused by the response, the state government has already started working on bigger plans to develop a second phase of T-Hub. To come up in Hitec City at a cost of Rs 150 crore in less than three years, the facility will have 300,000 square feet space.

Mohammed Shafeeq / IANS