State owned National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Hyderabad to support Indian deep-tech startups.
As part of the partnership, NMDC will contribute Rs 10 crore for a five-year joint incubation programme to support deep-tech startups emerging out of the institution.
It is a joint program run by NMDC and i-TIC, the technology business incubator at the IIT. Dubbed NMDC Innovation and Incubation Centre (NICE), the initiative is expected to mentor some 15 startups.
NICE will offer working space, networking with professional resources like mentors, experts, along with financial support to start-ups, a press statement said. NMDC will also install a startup ecosystem at IIT Hyderabad premises.
"The programme aims to promote innovation and entrepreneurship across pan India by converting and translating technology ideas and innovation in various disciplines of science and engineering into products, processes, and services for commercial exploitation and the benefit of society," N Baijendra Kumar, IAS, CMD, NMDC said.
Some 18% of Indian startups, around 1,600, leverage deep tech, according to a recent report from the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), an IT industry lobby body.
Investor interest has increased in companies that use artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning to develop niche products.
Last year in November, Mumbai-based deep-tech computer vision and augmented reality (AR) startup peAR Technologies raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from incubation platform Venture Catalysts. In September, Bengaluru-based Myelin Foundry, a deep-tech startup, raised $1 million in its seed funding round, led by early-stage venture capital fund Endiya Partners.
In 2018, Nasscom had unveiled a programme aimed to help deep-tech startups in India. The Accelerate 10X programme is a part of Nasscom 10,000 Startups initiative and will mentor 100 mature-stage startups every year.