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Nasscom to build start-up warehouses

Business Standard:  April, 2014

Bangalore: Information technology (IT) industry body Nasscom is in talks with the governments of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu to set up ‘start-up warehouses’ for incubation of start-ups.

According to sources close to the development, the centres expected to come up in Mumbai and Chennai are likely to be operational by December this year.

The industry body has received similar interest from Kerala, too, but talks with the state government are still at a nascent stage, the sources added.

Under its ‘10,000 Start-Ups’ initiative, Nasscom had launched its first ‘start-up warehouse’ in August 2013 in Bangalore in partnership with the Karnataka government. Under the partnership, the state government had provided 10,000 sq ft of space for housing the warehouse, while Nasscom has brought in programmes, expert teams and mentors for start-ups. The warehouse has a capacity of around 70 seats with round-the-clock power back-up, a leased Internet line and four meeting rooms.

The warehouse provides start-ups office space (up to five people per start-up) for up to six months, which can be renewed for another six months.

According to sources, the warehouses in Mumbai and Chennai would be bigger than the one in Bangalore. "The one at Chennai would be around 20,000 sq feet and the one in Mumbai is expected to be around 24,000 sq feet," a source close to the development said.

Nasscom has been running the '10,000 Start-ups' programme for one year in partnership with Google, Kotak, Microsoft and Verisign. The initiative is aimed at providing necessary support to technology start-ups and create 10,000 domain specific start-ups in the country.

The industry body had invited first round of entries for the programme in April 2013, and the short-listed companies were provided with funding ranging from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 2 crore through leading angel investors. Some of these start-ups were also offered incubation at some leading incubators in the country. The second phase of applications were called for in October last year.

"I am open to any state that wants to do it; we will help them," said Ravi Gururaj, chairman of Nasscom's Product Council, which is looking after the 10,000 Start-Up programme.