30 Apr 2018 19:24 IST

IIT Madras's GDC trains faculty, entrepreneurs

The flagship programme is working to bring deep-tech ideas from labs to the marketplace

The Gopalakrishnan-Deshpande Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (GDC) at Indian Institute of Technology Madras has launched its flagship offering, I-NCUBATE, which enables faculty, researchers and entrepreneurs to validate their technological ideas that can be converted into a sustainable business.

Under its flagship programme, GDC is working to bring deep-tech ideas from the laboratories of academic institutions to the marketplace. The first cohort of seven teams that have gone through the I-NCUBATE programme, with instructors from George Washington University, completed their session on April 30.

Addressing the finale of I-NCUBATE held at IIT Madras, Raj Melville, Executive Director, Deshpande Foundation, US, said, “The Deshpande Foundation is excited by the dramatic progress the initial seven teams from IIT Madras have shown as participants. As sponsors of the original National Science Foundation I-Corps programme in the US, we hope the I-NCUBATE programme will prove to be a unique national model in India as it scales and grows. We hope many of the leading research institutions in India will avail of this to accelerate ideas from the lab to commercialisation.”

The programme is a seven-week engagement where teams, each comprising a faculty lead, an entrepreneur lead, and a mentor, come together as a cohort under the GDC umbrella and go through a customer-discovery exercise with their respective business ideas. The programme is designed to have the following outcomes:

1. Enable each team to obtain a deep understanding of the product-market contours for their business idea based on the first-hand feedback obtained from customers on their needs and the market gaps.

2. Provide each team a clear definition of the MVP along with value propositions.

3. Help each team arrive at a go/no-go decision based on the viability of the market and overall business model.

The chief guest, T Pradeep, Institute Professor, Department of Chemistry, IIT Madras, said, “Innovation must be the new engine of emerging academic institutions that drives them to excel. Concomitantly, it makes them relevant to society. This organic existence is the central aspect of a knowledge economy. I feel that I-NCUBATE is one way to make this happen, in which many can grow synergistically.”

Krishnan Balasubramanian, Professor-in-Charge, GDC, said, “The I-NCUBATE programme significantly helps the entrepreneurs to focus on selecting the right business model while transforming their research ideas into a start-up.”

Speaking on the occasion, R Raghuttama Rao, Chief Executive Officer, GDC, said, “I-NCUBATE is GDC’s flagship programme for translational research, where faculty from academic institutions partner with entrepreneurs to move their scientific ideas from lab to the marketplace by way of a business venture.”