Innovation Hub India

INDIA

SIDing with Science

Located within the century-old, sylvan campus of the Indian Institute of Science, and instituted in 1997, SID’s journey of transforming original scientific knowledge into real world solutions began when IISc faculty decided to commercialize their research through startups. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Playing a crucial role in enabling innovators explore deep science and technology is the Society for Innovation and Development. SID is an interesting and successful example of academic collaboration with industry, enabling businesses to leverage the extraordinary repository of knowledge and infrastructure at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), India’s leading institution of advanced education and research in science and engineering.

It focuses on three primary areas:

  • Incubation of deep science and technology based startups that are commercially viable and also have societal impact
  • Working with large enterprises in collaborative research
  • Working with mid and small size enterprises to help them deploy appropriate technology
SID has incubated over 20 startups on campus, based on parameters such as the qualities of the entrepreneurial team, uniqueness and benefits of the proposed solution technology & IP.

“SID considers startup proposals from any entrepreneur (prior association with IISc is not a requirement) so long as the idea is based on deep science and technology”, says Prof. B Gurumoorthy, Chief Executive, SID. The biggest advantage for chosen entrepreneurs is that, apart from business and technical mentorship, they have access to specialized equipment and other resources at IISc departments. A Section 8 company holds equity stake in incubated startups and it’s expected that financial returns from successful exits would enable SID to further scale incubation.

Healthcare, Biotech, Cleantech, Spacetech, domain specific AI and Machine Learning are cited as areas of huge growth, and  says CS Murali, Chairman of the Entrepreneurship Cell, SID,“Today, the market opportunities are in India and other developing countries. In healthcare for instance, India needs affordable solutions that can be used in semi urban and rural areas with harsh environments. Indian startups are closer to the market which is an important factor for entrepreneurs to understand needs and build appropriate solutions, as compared to multinationals”.

“SID plays a vital role as it plugs the gap in the ecosystem for startups that build brick and mortar products and need large amount of early stage capital, apart from requiring long gestation periods”, says CS Murali. An alum of IISc, Murali brings a rich industry experience to his current position as Chairman of the Entrepreneurship Cell, SID.
“Faculty at the Indian Institute of Science are encouraged to actively promote or assist startups”, says Prof. B.Gurumoorthy, Chief Executive, SID, and a professor at the Indian Institute of Science.

A good example of research that has led to solving current  problems is PathShodh, a startup incubated at IISc which makes affordable products that help manage diabetes and kidney related diseases. Other incubated companies that have the potential for huge growth are Astrome (internet from space), Bellatrix (satellite launch and propulsion), Mimyk (training and simulation for surgeons), Mynvax (novel vaccines), says Murali.