IIT Madras’ Gopalakrishnan-Deshpande Centre trains over 45 entrepreneurs in seventh cohort of its I-NCUBATE program

Chennai: The Gopalakrishnan-Deshpande Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (GDC) at IIT Madras has completed the seventh cohort under its flagship I-NCUBATE program, which enables faculty, researchers and entrepreneurs to commercialise their research ideas through robust startups that positively impact society. The Finale of Cohort 7 was held at IIT Madras campus today (14th November 2019).

The seventh cohort comprised seven teams consisting of over 45 entrepreneurs working on deep-tech ideas in Cleantech, Energy, Environmental Science, Healthcare and Bioscience. Including this cohort, GDC has benefitted more than 65 startups, enhancing the entrepreneurial capabilities of over 360 participants from various institutions including IIT Madras, IIT Bombay, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, Pune University, KJ Somaiya College, Mumbai, PES University, Bengaluru, and Swinburne University of Technology, Australia.

Addressing the Finale, Chief Guest, Mr. V. Shankar, Founder of CAMS (Computer Age Management Services), and a Distinguished Alumnus Awardee of IIT Madras, said, “India needs to invest in deep-tech start-ups that can create positive socio-economic impact at scale. We need to leverage the scientific knowledge resident in our universities and corporations and harness the abilities of researchers, scientists and entrepreneurs to build competitive advantage. GDC’s Lab to Market mission, a first of its kind, is critical to transforming India into a world-class hub for innovation”

GDC’s objective is to help university spin-outs and tech transfer projects achieve better outcomes with incubators, investors and corporate partners. Their I-NCUBATE program is aimed at transforming the mind-set and entrepreneurial capabilities of participants, building skills such as handling ambiguity, understanding risk and return, improving business acumen, learning business analysis tools and enhancing communication skills.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. R. Raghuttama Rao, Chief Executive Officer, GDC, IIT Madras, said, “Building a startup 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.”

During this eight-week program, the 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 went 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.

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

1) enabling a team to gain a deep understanding of 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) helping a team derive inputs to formulate a minimum viable product (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