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Reliance India Ltd (RIL) has recently tied up with internet giant Microsoft to launch startups shortly. GenNext Ventures of RIL and Microsoft Ventures have accordingly signed a three-year partnership yesterday for setting up 10 Innovation hubs with the first one scheduled to come up at Mumbai in October this year.
This will subsequently be followed up in several cities across India. These hubs will provide technical support and offer resources to technology start-ups. Incidentally, Microsoft Ventures has an accelerator lab for entrepreneurs at Bangalore. RIL, on the other hand, is already having a venture investing business by the name of GenNext Ventures. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by R.A. Mashelkar, Chairman, GenNext Ventures and Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India, aims at bringing together key stakeholders, like the academic world, entrepreneurs, investors and corporate that will help to boost strategic, tactical and communication skills.
Further, Microsoft Ventures will assist GenNext to identify, shortlist, on-board promising startups and power the accelerator programme, and will also provide these startups access to software and technology advice. Microsoft Ventures will also provide these startups access to software and technology advice. At the end of the accelerator programme cycle, GenNext will invest strategically and selectively in some of these IT startups.
"Technology startups, which are a key source of innovation in India, are at an inflexion point today. While the numbers have grown exponentially year on year, the industry is at a nascent stage," said RA Mashelkar, chairman of GenNext and board member of RIL. He further said "The entire issue is about knowledge getting monetised. The challenge with these innovators is that they understand the knowledge part of it but don't know how to monetise it,". Bhaskar Pramanik. Chairman, Microsoft India clarified that the GenNext Innovation Hubs are not seeking to generate profits but is focusing on boosting entrepreneurship.
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