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12th Anniversary

Indian start-up in global limelight
Source: The Hindu; April 1, 2017

A Pune-based start-up is basking in the limelight, having won global attention at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue last week for its mobile refrigeration technology.

The company was one of the six winners of the prestigious Startup Energy Transition awards instituted by the Deutsche Energie–Agentur, the German Energy Agency, for innovative business ideas in energy transition from across the world.

Named Thermal Energy Service Solutions Private Limited (TESSOL), the company bagged the award in the ‘Mobility meets Energy Transition’ category for the development of a plug-and-chill system for refrigerated transport of perishables. The cold chain technology is based on patented thermal energy storage technology.

The international jury for the awards chose Tessol because cooling systems can have high impact in increasing the efficiency of food supply worldwide. Tessol, according to the jury, was able to clearly demonstrate the benefits of their technology in reducing carbon emissions and fossil fuel consumption.

Founder CEO of Tessol Rajat Gupta and product manager Raj Dhami received the award at Berlin on March 20. Tessol and five other start-ups from France, Germany, Bangladesh and Nigeria were selected from more than 500 entries from 66 countries.

Fourth generation Technology Park soon in Amaravati
Source: The New Indian Express; April 2, 2017

The Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) and Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up fourth generation technology park in Amaravati, the capital city of Andhra Pradesh.

This MoU was exchanged in the presence of Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Malaysia Mohd Najib Bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak in New Delhi on Saturday.

The 4G technology park will cover an initial area of 250 acres and will focus on new technologies through the application of industry best practices involving clean technology, biotechnology, connected digital platforms, big data, robotics and additive manufacturing.

This park will also be applying new standards in park management primarily in the areas of environment and sustainability. “This collaboration will drive the development of technology parks to the next level through an integrated approach in bridging technology, market, funding and talent,” said MIGHT Technology Nurturing (MTN) managing director Datuk Nik A Faizul Abd Malek.

APEDB chief executive officer J Krishna Kishore said that Andhra Pradesh has a huge opportunity to strengthen bilateral relationships exponentially. The State has been forging partnerships, building strong foundations and engaging with various countries and this MoU with MIGHT will provide an impetus for clean technology and industry, he observed.

'Startups should fuel make-in-India mission'
Source: The Times of India; April 2, 2017

Startups in the country should innovate and invest to realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Make in India' initiative, said Union human resource development (HRD) minister Prakash Javadekar.

He was addressing a gathering at Sri Krishna College of Engineering in Coimbatore on Saturday, after inaugurating the finale of 'Smart India Hackathon 2017', a 36-hour non-stop programming competition. "Already, 600 start-ups have started working from hostels and this is the new India. This will further propel the prime minister's Make in India initiative," Javadekar said.

Pointing out that the country was in a startup mode, he said the central government had been of late facilitating startups to function out of IIT hostels, he said.

The minister described the Smart India Hackathon, co-organised by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), My Gov, National Informatics Centre(NIC) and National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), a platform for students to come up with innovations that would go a long way in solving many problems of common people. "What they (students) invent would be solutions for the technical problems that the people of India face," he said.

Speaking about the reach of digital solutions that the students would come up with, Javadekar said, "We have 130 crore Aadhar card holders, of which 108 crore have mobile phones and 70 crore do premium recharge every month. People are ready to absorb technology."

Pune now decks up for a spot on India's startup map
Source: ET Tech; April 3, 2017

The Pune Smart City Development Corporation (PSCDC) has set up a new subsidiary, Pune Idea Factory Foundation (PIFF), which will serve as a one-stop shop for anything startup related in the city.

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has said that he would like to make the city India's number one destination for startups by 2020 and this initiative is a big step towards that.

Kunal Kumar, municipal commissioner, Pune Municipal Corporation, told ET that they had studied startup models in eight cities over the past few months ¬ Berlin, Tel Aviv, Paris, Chicago, Amsterdam, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Kochi ¬ before coming up with this.

“The foundation of Pune as a Smart City is built on three verticals ¬ improving the quality of life by improving infrastructure and services, boosting the economy and creating jobs and sustainability. Under all these heads, there will be a need for enterprises to create and support and maintain services. We want startups to take up that challenge. This then becomes an engine for growth and innovation keeps happening,“ he said.

For instance if the city is undertaking a solar power project, certain aspects like repair and maintenance would have to be supported locally. He clarified that the PIFF, or Pune Now, as the brand will be known, would be more of an aggregator rather than an incubator.

It will brand and promote Pune as a startup hub through events and conferences, and create the ecosystem needed to support it.

Building Tech in India for Indians (With the Help of Foreign Investment)
Source: BW Disrupt; April 3, 2017

In 1990, India and China were at par in terms of GDP per capita. Since then, the picture has changed. Driven by its strong manufacturing sector, China’s economy has grown much faster than India’s. Is India likely to catch up with China’s growth rate? Why can’t India follow China’s model of manufacturing led growth? If China can generate jobs in the manufacturing sector why can’t India, an equally populous country, also do so? Will India overtake China? These are some of the common questions that are heard frequently in academic and policy discussions on the failure of India’s manufacturing sector to generate employment and contribute to the reduction of poverty in the country on the same scale as China.

Nonetheless, India has made significant progress in various spheres of science and technology over the years and can now take pride in having a strong network of science and technology institutions, trained manpower and an innovative knowledge base. India’s technical talent is recognized and proved world over, and now we need to further promote the industry-research institutions interaction.

The Indian economy is firmly on the path of steady growth. Even during the last decade when other countries were in the grip of a massive slowdown, India continued to enjoy a comfortable economic position. This recent spurt in growth is propelled by radical reforms such as the removal of restrictions on foreign investment and industrial de-licensing, business friendly initiatives like Make in India, Digital India, National Manufacturing Policy (2011) have helped to accelerate the growth engines of this country.

ISRO to outsource satellite manufacturing after 30 years
Source: BGR ; April 3, 2017

In a highly secure, clean room of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), a new jugalbandi is unfolding — teams from the private sector are working shoulder-to-shoulder with government engineers to create a new bird that will soar in the sky very soon. The Indian space establishment has crossed a new threshold, engaging for the first time a private sector industry to make a full multi-crore, heavy duty satellite.

Having been unable to keep pace with satellite fabrication, the ISRO has now roped in the private industry to bridge the gap. A consortium led by Alpha Design Technologies, Bengaluru is tasked to make two full satellites for India’s navigation system. After almost 150 missions and three decades of space faring, the ISRO is on a mission like never before, handholding the private industry to make a full navigation satellite.

Towards that, a high-tech defence equipment supplier from Bengaluru, Alpha Design Technologies has been chosen as the first private industry tasked with making not one but two full satellites for the ISRO. A team of 70 engineers is working hard to make a flight ready satellite in the next six months. Colonel H S Shankar, the man who helped India get its first bulk supply of electronic voting machines (EVMs), is leading the consortium and he is keeping a hawk’s eye on the fabrication process.

Shankar, Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Alpha Design Technologies, says, “It is a challenging task for any Indian company to undertake assembly, integration and testing of a satellite and that too for the first time in India.”

Manufacturing PMI: India fourth from top in Asia
Source: Mint; April 4, 2017

The Nikkei India manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for March 2017 showed a smart rebound, on the back of new orders, both domestic and export. Its rate of expansion was the fourth highest among Asian economies, as the chart shows. Most Asian economies had scores above 50, indicating expansion from the previous month.

The rise in the Indian PMI indicates the manufacturing sector has fully recovered from the demonetization setback. The data will provide further support for the upbeat stock market.

‘Make in India’ aeroplane to take off
Source: Asian Age; April 4, 2017

If all goes as per plan, the ‘Made in India’ aeroplane will soon touch the skies of Maharashtra.

Impressed with city-based Air India pilot, Captain Amol Yadav’s indigenous aeroplane models, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday asked the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) to allot a 157-acre land parcel at Saphale, Palghar for mass production of the aeroplanes.

The land will be allotted free of cost, but in return Mr Yadav has to sign a partnership with the MIDC. Mr Fadnavis asked the MIDC officers to finalise the details of an agreement in the next two days.

In a meeting held at Mantralaya on Monday, Mr Fadnavis directed the concerned officers to expedite the ambitious project. The Asian Age had reported about the delay in allotting land to this project on March 4, 2017.

Mr Yadav has built a six-seater TAC 003-plane (name of the aeroplane) over 18 years. Mr Yadav has also formed an aircraft production company ‘Trust Aircraft’ for the mass production of six and 20-seater aeroplanes. Mr Yadav’s plane models had created a buzz at the ‘Make In India’ exhibition last year at the Bandra Kurla Complex.

In August 2016, Mr Fadnavis had assured him a piece of land to start mass production in Maharashtra. On Monday, Mr Fadnavis chaired a meeting with officers from the industry, revenue department and a representative of the union aviation ministry.

Bengaluru’s RVCE & Cisco launch CoE for Internet of Things
Source: Voice and Data; April 4, 2017

As part of Country Digitization Acceleration Program for India that includes a range of initiatives spanning Digital India, Skill India, Make in India, Start-up India, Smart Cities and Cyber Security, Nasdaq-listed ICT major Cisco launched a (CoE) for Internet of Things (IoT) at the RV College of Engineering (RVCE) in Bengaluru.

Jointly launched with RVCE, the CoE is located at the RVCE campus in Bengaluru, and was inaugurated on April 3, 2017 by Gaurav Gupta, Principal Secretary at the Department of IT, BT and S&T, Karnataka, along with VC Gopalratnam, SVP-IT and CIO – International, Cisco. It will provide next generation of students the digital skills and training necessary for 21st century knowledge economy jobs, addressing the skill gaps that India needs to bridge to transition to digital economy.

The CoE is slated to offer several technology courses ranging from one to four weeks to six months to a year tailored to suit the requirement of students and working professionals. Short-term courses will be available on weekends and evenings during the week. On completion of the course, students and working professionals will receive credential certificates jointly given by RVCE and Cisco.

The specialised curriculum will comprise live and video-based learning and involve the application of technologies to real issues in collaboration with local industry and government bodies. Experts from RVCE will complement this curriculum and deliver training on digitisation and IoT and encourage innovation in industries including transportation, energy, agriculture and manufacturing.

Apple asked to follow government’s phased manufacturing plan
Source: The Economic Times ; April 4, 2017

Apple has been asked to work closely with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) so that the iPhone maker’s plans conform to the government’s current phased manufacturing programme to the maximum extent possible, effectively ruling out any special fiscal sops for the company.

In a meeting two weeks ago among Apple, the Revenue Department, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) and electronics ministry officials, the company made a presentation on its plans for component manufacturing in India, flagging concerns over the lack of a supplier base.

A senior official present at the meeting told ET that Apple cannot get exemptions outside the purview of the phased manufacturing programme for mobile handsets and tablets but minor adjustments could be made.

He was referring to the roadmap that seeks to progressively indigenise items such as chargers, adapters, batteries, mechanics, wired headsets, speakers, printed circuit board assemblies (PCBA) and exclude them from duty benefits.

Bengaluru to host Startup Fest
Source: Deccan Chronicle; April 5, 2017

Natio Consultancy Pvt Ltd through its annual event, India Fund Fest, plans to launch a ‘no distraction platform’ for startups to help get funds, a top official said here on Tuesday.

India Fund Fest mentor Nalin Singh said, “Funding is a sticky issue for all and not just startups. There are multiple startup funding events but most events end up becoming a waste of time with lectures becoming the main attraction.” He said, “We would focus on funding of startups and not the distractions.”

When asked what he meant by distractions, Mr Singh said: “sponsors taking the centre stage through lectures.” The India Fund Fest begins on May 12 in Bengaluru.

Bengal plans hardware centre
Source: Telegraph India; April 5, 2017

The Bengal government has taken the initiative to set up an incubation centre for cutting-edge electronic hardware in areas such as aerospace, defence, medical electronics and mobile devices.

The proposed electronics system design and manufacturing (ESDM) incubation centre in the state will be in collaboration with the Centre, and it will provide initial support to small and medium electronic hardware manufacturers.

Representatives of the state IT and electronics department has started talks with the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA) - a trade body which acts as a bridge between the industry and the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) of the central government - and is scheduled to visit the capital soon for discussions.

"We already have several incubation centres for tech start-ups but none for the ones in the hardware sector which is why the state has come up with this idea for the first time," sources said.

Pune Startup Ecosystem: On Road To Become The Top Startup Hub By 2020
Source: Inc 42; April 5, 2017

In recent decades, Pune has raised itself from its cultural and spiritual heritage to a well-established ecosystem for industrial growth.

Once known for its military establishments, it is now the third-fastest growing city in the Asia-Pacific region, after Bengaluru and Hyderabad, according to JLL’s City Momentum Index (CMI) 2017. The city offers a host of career opportunities in sectors such as manufacturing, automobiles, as well as IT and management. Also, it is considered a hub for education and research with internationally recognised universities and institutions, such as Symbiosis Institute of Management, Ferguson College, MIT (Maharashtra Institute of Technology) and more. Today, one can even find several greenfield facilities near Pune by leading automotive companies such as Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Mercedes Benz, Force Motors and more.

The Maharashtra state ministry has recently made commitment to make Pune the number one startup hub in the country by 2020. Reportedly, The Pune Smart City Development Corporation (PSCDC) has set up a new subsidiary, Pune Idea Factory Foundation (PIFF), to cater to the startup needs of the city.

PIFF is currently guided by a four-member advisory board which includes NCL’s Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar, Bajaj Auto’s Rajiv Bajaj, 5F World Chairman Ganesh Natarajan, and Growth Story co-founder K Ganesh.

To power-up its Make in India initiative, smartphone maker Vivo in talks with states to set up ‘industry zone’
Source: The Financial Express; April 6, 2017

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo India is in talks with a few state governments for setting up an industry zone in the country. The zone would comprise of a manufacturing facility, assembly lines, residential area, R&D zone and other amenities required for its employees.

“We have seen a huge growth in our mobile handset business since our entry into India. As part of the Make in India initiative, we are in talks with a few state governments to set up an industry zone,” Vivek Zhang, CMO, Vivo India, said. While he declined to comment on the investment for the proposed industry zone, he said that a 30-member team is already on the job scouting for land and conducting due diligence across states. “We expect to finalise the place in an year’s time,” he added.

He was here to launch the Vivo-IPL limited edition V5Plus phones on the 10th anniversary of the IPL. The investment could be in the range of `300 crore to `400 crore for the proposed industry zone.

The company already has set up a full-fledged assembly unit with the 30,000 square-metre facility at Greater Noida which is Vivo’s seventh largest assembly facility outside China. “Our Greater Noida plant is a success and we want to expand it in the near future. We have doubled our production and plan to increase it to two million handsets from one million at present,” he said. Vivo Mobile India has so far invested over `100 crore in its first phase of investment with a sales volume of 70,000 units which is expected to go up to one lakh over a period of time.

Indian-origins startup attracts investments from Boeing
Source: India Today; April 6, 2017

A hybrid electric aircraft startup founded by an Indian-origin entrepreneur has received investments from aerospace giants -- Boeing and JetBlue owing to its goal to develop alternative propulsion aircraft.

Zunum Aero, founded by Ashish Kumar three years ago in Kirkland, Washington is working to develop a an electric hybrid aircraft with potential for performance and efficiency improvements in a range of aerospace applications.

"I consider us very fortunate to have backers like JetBlue and Boeing," Kumar told the Business Insider.

"We have been engaged with both companies for about a year, and both are as passionate as we are in this opportunity to reinvent regional air travel," Kumar said.

The startup intends to use the financing to further develop its proposed regional aircrafts that hold 10 to 50 passengers for flights up to 1,000 miles.

The jets primarily operate on battery power with an aviation diesel or turbine range-extending power generator available as backup, a report in Fortune said.

Boeing said it made the investments in the startup through the ventures arm of a new group called Boeing HorizonX, an innovation cell focused on accelerating potentially transformative aerospace technologies, manufacturing innovations and emerging business models.

Govt aims to connect 90% of India with internet by next year
Source: Zee Business; April 6, 2017

The government aims to connect 90% of India with internet services by 2018 in order to enhance quality of education and healthcare, P.P. Chaudhary, Minister of State, Ministry Law & Justice, Electronics & Information Technology said.

Chaudhary was speaking on the first day of the two-day India Internet Conference (IIC) 2017 on the theme ‘Digital India 4 Sustainable Development’ organized by FICCI in association with the Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY).

He said that internet could help in making quality education and healthcare accessible to the last mile and content in Indic languages could be a game changer.

According to a release by FICCI, highlighting the importance of cyber security, Gulshan Rai, National Cyber Security Coordinator, NSCS, said that the government has approved the cyber security framework. However, he added that though security plans were in place there was a need for active implementation of these to leverage technology and tackle with security issues.

Rai added that sector requires IT infrastructure and the industry should play a responsible role.

Last week, in a written reply to Rajya Sabha, minister of communication Manoj Sinha, had said that the central government expects to nearly double the number of existing Internet users in in India by 2020 due to fast adoption of digital technology, as reported by Times of India.

According to the data from Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), till December 31, 2016, the country had 391.50 million internet subscribers

Compiled by IESA Research

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