IIT Madras Gopalakrishnan-Deshpande Centre trains faculty, entrepreneurs on moving ideas from lab to market

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Chennai: The Gopalakrishnan-Deshpande Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (GDC) at Indian Institute of Technology Madras has launched its flagship offering, I-NCUBATE, which enables faculty, researchers and entrepreneurs to validate if their technological idea can be converted into a sustainable business.

Under its flagship program ‘I-NCUBATE,’ GDC is working to bring deep-tech ideas from the laboratories of academic institutions to the marketplace. The first cohort of Seven Teams that have gone through I-NCUBATE program with instructors from George Washington University,U.S. completed their session on Monday, 30th April 2018.

Addressing the Finale of I-NCUBATE held at IIT Madras, Dr. Raj Melville, Executive Director, Deshpande Foundation, U.S., said “The Deshpande Foundation is excited with the dramatic progress the initial seven teams from IIT Madras have shown as participants in the initial I-NCUBATE cohort. As sponsors of the original National Science Foundation I-Corps program in the U.S., we hope the I-NCUBATE program will prove to be a unique national model in India as it scales and grows. We hope many of the leading research institutions in India will avail of this to accelerate ideas from the lab to commercialization.”

The I-NCUBATE program is a seven-week engagement where teams, each comprising a Faculty Lead, an Entrepreneur Lead, and a Mentor, come together as a cohort under the GDC umbrella and go through a customer-discovery exercise with their respective business ideas. The I-NCUBATE program is designed to have the following outcomes:

Enable each team to obtain a deep understanding of the product-market contours for their business idea based on the first-hand feedback obtained from customers on their needs and the market gaps.
Provide each team a clear definition of the MVP along with value propositions.
Help each team arrive at a Go/No-Go decision based on the viability of the market and overall business model.
The Chief Guest of the Program, Prof T. Pradeep, Institute Professor, Department of Chemistry, IIT Madras, said, “Innovation must be the new engine of emerging academic institutions that drives them to excel. Concomitantly, it makes them relevant to society. This organic existence is the central aspect of a knowledge economy. I feel that I-INCUBATE is one way to make this happen, in which many can grow synergistically. IIT Madras is the most appropriate place to initiate and nurture this program, given its vibrant incubation ecosystem.”

The Gopalakrishnan-Deshpande Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship was established at IIT Madras to provide the necessary thought leadership and networking impetus to help in building the systems and processes that enable innovative and entrepreneurial thinking across the Institute at all levels. GDC will help crystallise out-of-the-box solutions that emerge from the Institute’s labs, faculty and research scholars, as well as from fertile young minds which will create significant economic and social impact at a national and eventually at a global level.

Prof Krishnan Balasubramanian, Professor-in-Charge, GDC, said, “The I-NCUBATE program significantly helps the entrepreneurs to focus on selecting the RIGHT business model while transforming their research ideas into a start-up.”

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. R. Raghuttama Rao, Chief Executive Officer, GDC, IIT Madras, said, “I-NCUBATE is GDC’s flagship program for translational research, where faculty from academic institutions partner with entrepreneurs to move their scientific ideas from lab to the marketplace by way of a business venture.”

Further, he added, “We have just completed the first cohort of the I-NCUBATE program with seven start-up teams from diverse areas in deep tech – MedTech, industrial safety, environment, and agri supply chain. GDC plans to work with over 50 start-up ideas in the current year from different scientific and engineering institutions from all over India.”