Connecting startups to the service providers

A new convergence platform set up by DIPP to connect startups with investors, incubators and other service providers in the vicinity.

One more month and India will have its own Linkedin-like platform as a convergence space for discovery and interaction with investors, mentors, incubators and other service providers in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

According to a report by Mint, the new platform, an upgrade of Startup India hub launched in March last year will intelligently connect startups, based on the sector they operate in and the area they are based out of, with investors that invest in those sectors or an incubator in the vicinity. Named Virtual Startup Hub, an initiative by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), part of Invest India, it’s expected to go live in the first week of April, a senior DIPP official told Mint.

For the same, DIPP will invite all participants in the startup ecosystem to register and create a profile starting Friday. Once a certain number of profiles are created, the portal will be integrated on Start-up India website and app, and replace Start-Up India Hub website that will be subsequently pulled down.

“We already have a list of investors, incubators, mentors, etc on Start-up India Hub. Now what we are building is more interactive,” Shailendra Singh, joint secretary at DIPP told Mint.

“We are collating all this information and making an intelligent system. So if a start-up wants to interact with a mentor, it will be able to do through the hub- it will be able to send and receive messages, and even fix appointments,” Singh said.

While the functionality for start-ups to access contacts and other resources already existed on Start-up India Hub, Singh said hurdles emerged when the information would become dated and had to be updated. Besides this, start-ups and entrepreneurs had to scout for information on various portals before finding the information they were looking for.

“The Hub will host start-ups, investors, funds, mentors, academia, incubators, accelerators, corporates, government bodies and more, with an aim to encourage collaboration among various stakeholders of the ecosystem to enable free flow of ideas, knowledge exchange and easier access to resources,” Karan Anand, a senior assistant vice president at Invest India told Mint.

The portal, while serving as a business networking platform, will also integrate learning development modules like a step-by-step guide on how to incorporate a company, explainers for how to pitch to investors and templates for term sheets and other relevant documents useful for start-ups.

It will also have an active forum where participants will be able to hold discussion and learn about relevant events and conferences happening in the future.

Users will be given the capability to log onto the platform using their Facebook or Twitter accounts and the same account will used to access all government-run portals.

Anand also said Virtual Start-up Hub will support open API (application programming interface) architecture that will allow it to be integrated with outside systems and website.

“This may include other platforms under Digital India initiative, eminent Mentor and Investor networks, Incubator application management systems, etc. Going forward, based on the feedback received from the users of the Hub, we will work towards expanding the scope of integration with our potential partners,” he said.

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