Startup incubator Kstart, an initiative of Indian venture capital firm Kalaari Capital, today announced a collaboration with IBM to foster the startup ecosystem in India. Together, Kstart and IBM will offer training and mentoring sessions, and Kstart’s entire roster of seed-stage portfolio companies will have the opportunity to apply for the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program, which provides business mentoring, technical support, networking opportunities with enterprise clients and credits to help entrepreneurs build their applications on IBM Cloud.
According to a 2015 report by industry body National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) and Zinnov, India holds the third position in the world in terms of the number of startups, and has the fastest growing startup base worldwide.*
To support this boom in the Indian startup ecosystem, Kstart and IBM will work together to spur the next generation of innovation throughout the country and ensure that startups have access to the support they need to get their solutions into the marketplace. IBM business leaders and technology experts will help Kstart portfolio companies create go-to-market strategies, achieve market alignment and augment their technology roadmaps. IBM will also invite Kstart participants to training sessions on cognitive learning, analytics and product design.
In return, Kstart will drive awareness and engagement with IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Program (GEP), where startups can apply for up to $120,000 in cloud credits to develop and run their applications on IBM Cloud. Credits can be used on cloud infrastructure or development through Bluemix, which offers 150 APIs from IBM and third parties, including a number of Watson APIs. Developers can tap into next-generation technology areas like cognitive computing, IoT and analytics and rapidly bring their solutions to market on a cloud platform that spans 46 cloud data centers worldwide. The GEP also provides business mentoring, technology expertise and connections with IBM’s global roster of enterprise clients.
IBM’s collaboration with Kstart is an extension of IBM’s commitment to the Indian ecosystem, and builds on the company’s previous announcements, including its cloud data centre in Chennai and partnership with NASSCOM for Techstartup.in, a digital hub wherein the entire Indian startup ecosystem, including angels, mentors, investors, academia and venture capitalists, can interact with each other to grow the cloud market. Shortly after launching that hub, IBM also introduced localized hubs in Bangalore (techstartup.in) and Delhi (delhi.techstartup.in).
“We believe in creating an environment that can foster innovation, which is why we working with Kalaari Capital to encourage and support the startup community in their journeys,” said Nipun Mehrotra, Vice President, Growth Initiatives IBM India/ South Asia. “IBM is committed to helping incubators, early stage startup companies and next-generation developer communities get access to a range of IBM innovations around cloud, analytics, mobile and cognitive to build and innovate. By using a combination of IBM’s technology offerings, guidance and support, startups can accelerate their time-to-market and establish enhancements that differentiate the customer experience.”
“IBM partners with key incubators and accelerators around the world in order to support local startups,” said Sandy Carter, general manager of the developer ecosystem and startups at IBM. “We offer cloud technology, business expertise and industry knowledge in support of these great enablers of entrepreneurship.”
Kalaari is one of India’s largest VCs with a fund value of $650 million and investments in companies like Snapdeal, Urban Ladder, Simplilearn, Myntra and more. Kalaari has made a significant investment in the ecosystem by starting an early stage startup incubator, and is taking this investment a step further in its relationship with IBM.
“We have chosen to work with IBM because of the value of its Global Entrepreneur Program, which aligns with our own core tenants of success, including business mentoring and supportive networks. Collaborating with IBM will help us equip our entrepreneurs with the right expertise and tools to succeed. We welcome our new working relationship with IBM to create impact in India by enabling next-generation startups. We appreciate the support and initiative from IBM to foster the startup community,” said Vani Kola, Venture Capitalist, Kalaari.