IIT Madras’ Gopalakrishnan-Deshpande Centre trains over 60 entrepreneurs in the fourth cohort of its I-NCUBATE program

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Chennai: The Gopalakrishnan-Deshpande Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (GDC) at IIT Madras completed the fourth cohort under its flagship I-NCUBATE program, that enables faculty, researchers and entrepreneurs to commercialise their technology ideas and develop robust start-ups that create positive societal impact. The Finale of Cohort 4 was held at IIT Madras campus today (13th April 2019).

The fourth cohort comprised teams working on deep-tech ideas from diverse areas including AI, Healthcare, Environment Science, Material Science, Logistics and Building Materials. Including this cohort, GDC has now successfully completed four cohorts of I-NCUBATE, benefitting about 40 start-up teams and enhancing the entrepreneurial capabilities of over 200 participants from multiple institutions including IIT Madras, IIT Bombay, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry and Swinburne University of Technology, Australia.

Addressing the gathering, the Chief Guest, Prof. K. VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India said, “I am impressed by the initiatives of the Gopalakrishnan-Deshpande Centre in strengthening the Lab to Market movement through deep-tech start-ups. This is critical in creating a robust ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship that the Government is keen to develop. I understand that GDC intends to scale the I-NCUBATE program and establish world class nodes of innovation, which aligns with the Government’s vision of making India a global innovation hub.”

I-NCUBATE is an eight-week program during which selected teams, each comprising a faculty lead, an entrepreneur lead, entrepreneur team and a mentor, come together as a cohort under the GDC umbrella and go through a customer discovery exercise with their respective business ideas. All the teams were unanimous in their appreciation of the transformative experience and learning that I-NCUBATE has provided them with during their entrepreneurial journey.

Addressing the Event, Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras congratulated all the teams on completing the I-NCUBATE program and wished them success.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. R. Raghuttama Rao, Chief Executive Officer, GDC, IIT Madras, said, “Building a start-up is not simply creating an execution plan for a business model that the entrepreneur thinks will work, but rather, a search for the actual business model itself. The main idea of I-NCUBATE is learning how to rapidly develop and test ideas by gathering first-hand customer and marketplace feedback by the founders of a start-up.”

The I-NCUBATE program is designed to have the following outcomes:

1) enabling a team to gain a deep understanding of the customer needs based on first-hand evidence obtained from customers on their pains and potential gains;

2) helping a team to arrive at a Go/No-Go decision to take the idea to the next stage, based on the quality of the problem-solution fit and market viability;

3) throwing up a set of inputs to formulate an MVP and an optimal business model to attain a good product-market fit and scalability, going forward;

4) enabling faculty, researchers, and students to develop entrepreneurial skills and mind-set.

Speaking to researchers and aspiring entrepreneurs during the Finale, Prof. Krishnan Balasubramanian, Professor-in-Charge of GDC, said, “Many start-ups fail by not validating their ideas early on with real-life customers. In order to mitigate that, participants of I-NCUBATE learn how to get out of the building and search for the real pain points and unmet needs of customers.”