07 Feb 2018 17:59 IST

IIT-M alumnus launches non-profit accelerator

It aims to provide mentoring, incubation, connectivity to IIT community in Silicon Valley

An Indian Institute of Technology, Madras alumnus has launched a non-profit accelerator in the Bay Area (San Francisco, US) to provide mentorship, incubation and other necessary support to the budding entrepreneurs and to connect the IIT Alumni in the Silicon Valley.

Called ‘IIT STARTUPS,’ the accelerator has been founded by Monishi Sanyal, a BTech (mechanical) graduate from IIT-M and the Governor’s Gold medal recipient in 1970. The launch, that was held at the Computer History Museum, Mountain View, California was attended by over 400 IIT start-ups, angels, venture capitals and mentors.

Speaking about the objective of thisaccelerator, Sanyal said, “This is the first step in our journey to build a world class accelerator. Our next steps are to run workshops, provide mentorship, incubation and connectivity to the 11,000-plus IIT community, advisors, angels and VCs in the Silicon Valley.”

While the IITians are very strong technically, their major weaknesses are in fundraising and business development. In 2019, the founder plans to expand the operations by collaborating with the IIT research parks in India.

Speaking about the initiative, Prof R Nagarajan, Dean (International and Alumni Relations), IIT-M said, “Alumni such as Sanyal have been instrumental in shaping the best-of-breed entrepreneurial ecosystem that thrives in the Silicon Valley. IITs have benefited as well from the branding and networking opportunities.”

Monishi Sanyal is also the founder of Pan IIT Alumni Association in the US, which has over 45,000 members, and was the past president of IIT Madras Alumni Association of North America (IITMAANA), the umbrella organisation of all IIT-M alumni in the US. He is also an advisor and member of the IIT Madras Research Park.

IITs are currently ranked fourth after Stanford University, Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley in unicorn start-ups (valuation over $1 billion). “The IIT STARTUPS Accelerators will address a long felt need, which will help IITians surge to greater heights,” said Sanyal.

Others who spoke on the occasion included Vinod Khosla, founder of Sun Microsystems and Khosla Ventures, and Umang Gupta, founder of Gupta Technologies. A panel discussion followed with the current generation of Unicorns, Dheeraj Pandey, founder of Nutanix and Bipul Sinha, founder of Rubriks. It was moderated by Ravi Mhatre, founding partner of Lightspeed Ventures. Aman Walia, president of IIT Bay Area under whose umbrella the event was organised, proposed the vote of thanks.