IIT Madras Incubated Startup creates a first-of-its-kind platform to help Entrepreneurs avail of Scientific Expertise of Educational Institutions

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Chennai: Indian Institute of Technology Madras-incubated startup has created a platform to help startups avail of the scientific and technological expertise in Indian Technical Higher Educational Institutions. The startup YNOS Venture Engine launched the ‘Delphi’ platform to catalyse Deep Innovation and Hi-Tech startups. The platform would help the start-ups and young entrepreneurs to easily access top notch scientific expertise in Higher Educational Institutions.

Faculty members would be part of the YNOS platform, which would enable entrepreneurs across India, or even globally, to identify faculty member(s) they would like to work with using the tools available on the platform. Once an entrepreneur expresses interest in interacting with a faculty, YNOS would facilitate the interaction.

Launching the platform during the ‘Chennai Demo Day’ organized by IIT Madras Incubation Cell on 16th February 2019, Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Institute Professor, IIT Madras, said, “Prof. Thillai Rajan has been publishing the much-acclaimed annual reports on Indian Venture industry for a decade now. YNOS Venture Engine, a startup founded by him, has developed a new platform for the entrepreneurs to leverage the expertise of the academic and research community in the country. I am happy to launch this platform and wish the team good luck. I also encourage the entrepreneurs to take advantage of this platform.”

As many as 128 faculty members from IIT Madras, IIT Delhi, IIIT Bangalore, BITS Pilani, IIT Hyderabad, IITDM Kanchipuram, IIT Ropar, IIT Mandi, IIT Palakkad, NIT Trichy, NIT Warangal and NIT Raipur have so far joined hands in this initiative.

Speaking about the benefits of this initiative to the Indian Startup community, Prof A. Thillai Rajan, Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras and Co-Founder of YNOS Venture Engine, said, “There is a strong potential for institutes of higher education to engage with startups over and above to what is currently being done. While many institutes have incubation cells to encourage faculty and students to create startups, there is tremendous scope for helping startups that are outside of their institutions with their expertise and help them in bringing their innovations to market. Delphi has a tremendous potential to contribute to an important area of India’s economy by providing a direct interface between the start-ups and academia.”

Further, Prof Thillai Rajan, who is also an Associate at Mossavar-Rahmani Centre for Business and Government, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University, said, “Startups and SMEs do not have the same wherewithal to reach out to the institute faculty and seek their expertise in the same way the government or large corporations can.”

YNOS is actively seeking to engage more faculty members from Technical Higher Educational Institutions in this initiative. Interested faculty members can express their interest to engage with startups by registering with YNOS.

Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, who was present during the launch, lauded the YNOS team for developing this platform and urged the team to develop more products like Delphi in the near future.

YNOS has developed this unique globally first of its kind offering to help the start-ups to reach out to the scientific and technology faculty and seek their expertise. While many faculty members may choose not to start on their own, they may be interested to provide oral consultation or opinion on the interesting problems that many of the startups are working on.

In short, this platform would help to catalyse the creation of more deep tech or deep innovation start-ups and adoption of technology and innovation in SMEs.

Over the years, eminent educational institutes have helped in contributing to economy and public policy, while spearheading important initiatives in science and technology. In recent years, startups have been a major imperative for public policy. Start-ups are seen as an engine of innovation and is thus envisaged to contribute to economy growth and employment creation.

One of the criticisms of India startups has been the lack of deep innovation startups. The ‘Delphi’ platform would help to catalyse the creation of more deep tech or deep innovation start-ups and adoption of technology and innovation in SMEs.