01 April 2016 13:58:41 IST

Calling all deep-tech start-ups

Application to IIIT-H’s accelerator programme begins on April 10 and ends on April 30

The International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad on Friday launched one of its first accelerator programmes, focused specifically on the start-ups working in the field of deep technologies. It was launched in partnership with 50k Ventures, T-Hub and CoCreation Consulting, and is open to start-ups working on machine learning and Augmented Reality/ Virtual Reality (AR/VR) technologies like image and speech recognition and natural language processing.

Ramesh Loganathan, Board Member of the IIIT-H foundation, said, “Deep-tech solutions are the answer to the more complex problems of modern technology. IIIT Hyderabad, as a research institute, provides a conducive atmosphere for start-ups working in areas of deep-tech. These firms will be hand-picked, funded and mentored by the resources of IIIT-H Foundation, and networked through a structured programme.”

The accelerator will be a structured six month programme, and the investment committee will comprise IIIT-H Foundation, 50k Ventures, T-Hub and other reputed VC’s. These will select up to 10 start-ups over a period of one year, and give each firm a seed fund of ₹10 lakh, with the IIIT-H Foundation and 50k Ventures co-investing ₹ 5 lakh each. The investment will be in the form of a convertible note, which is considered more start-up friendly. Other partners will be taken on board in case there is requirement of more seed funding for the start-ups.

Talking about the accelerator programme, Prof Vasudev Varma, Dean, IIIT Hyderabad, said, “Our accelerator programme is designed to help entrepreneurs create opportunities, and valuable intellectual property from the technology perspective.”

Important dates

IIIT-H Foundation and CoCreation Consulting will design and run the programme and play the role of coaches, providing mentorship to the chosen 10. The during-and-after-the-programme funding support will be given by 50k Ventures. The programmes will be customised for each start-up on the basis of their location and the stage their project is at. It is not mandatory for these start-ups to relocate to Hyderabad.

The application process will start on April 10 and the deadline is April 30.The names of the shortlisted start-ups will be announced on May 10.

“The institute has great strengths in areas of Artificial Intelligence like natural language processing, computer vision, robotics, and speech recognition. These areas have surged ahead in recent years due to advances in computing power, data diversity, models, and machine learning techniques.

“TCS opening the Kohli Centre for Intelligent Systems at the institute has given a big push to these areas. The fruits of academic research should reach the society through start-ups which focus on products and services based on AI. I hope the proposed accelerator will help make that happen in the coming years,” Prof P J Narayanan, Director, IIIT Hyderabad said.