CIE IIITH – Nurturing Deeptech In An Evolving Ecosystem

‘The success of any business is reflected in its positive impact on the ecosystem’ – Kalyan Krishnamurthy


IIIT Hyderabad started supporting startups in 2008, through Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship(CIE), with the vision of commercialising the cutting-edge technologies developed in its research centres. Department of Science & Technology, GoI, recognized the incubation facility as a TBI in 2012, following which, the Foundation opened its doors to the startups outside the institute as well. In 2015, Telangana State initiative, T-Hub, now the largest incubator in the country, was seeded inside IIIT-Hyderabad, with the CIE’s experience and knowledge being the building blocks. In 2016, with the launch of the first deep-tech accelerator program  AVISHKAR, CIE pivoted to an obvious journey to become deep-tech incubator in the country. Since then setup a Med Tech BioNEST funded by DBT’s BIRAC, Prayas Maker Lab supported by DST, and a social incubator AIC-IIITH setup with funding from NITI-AYOG.


CIE in its V2.0 is now focusing on deep-tech startups, seeding startups directly out of research, and actively connecting research with startups. CIE hosts more than 100 startups with several programs and initiatives around deep tech startups from the pre-incubation seeding stage thru angel funding and early scale. CIE, being one of the earliest incubator sin the city, has always had a very strong ecosystem view. Actively engaging with other networks and enabling new incubators/initiatives.


CIE – IIITH acting together in the Ecosystem, around deep technologies & research


IIITH has been in the Startup ecosystem in Hyderabad for over a decade now. The mission is to foster Deeptech innovations in an infrastructure assisting and filling gaps for startups, an atmosphere seeking and surviving new technologies coming out of lab. Most of CIE programs and initiatives are open to all startups in the city and not limited to those physically incubated at CIE. Also many of the programs are jointly taken up with other incubators (CCMB, IIT, THub, etc.) and organizations(TiE, Hysea, Headstart, etc.).


CIE is supporting Deeptech startups through its incubation and accelerator programs. The program focuses on Deep-Tech startups working in domains of Machine Learning, Computer Vision, Robotics, Natural Language Processing etc. The research labs of IIIT Hyderabad (Technology Support), IIITH Seed Fund (Investment Partner), CoCreation Consulting (Startup Coaching & Mentoring) and other key-players of Hyderabad startup ecosystem are associated with the programs.


Support is also availed by high-technology companies in information and communication technology – language, speech, image processing, visual graphics (gaming, animation, simulations) security and cryptography, wireless networks, data mining & data visualisation and applied areas like neuroscience, spatial informatics, bio-sciences, green/clean/energy efficient buildings & structural dynamics of civil structures and medical devices.


Instances of Deeptech Startups that have not sustained their compute requirements because of the lack of a supporting infrastructure is common in the ecosystem. Startups that are in deep learning domain wanting to train their ML algorithms while trying to develop POC, etc. find it difficult to find support as existing incubators are more suited for tech mentoring, business mentoring and lack a high end computing infrastructure. As would help a lot. As most of the Startups here have a need for some serious deep learning requirements – which is the value IIIT-H brings in, both to seed new startups arising out of research, and to mentor/enable startups from outside.


CIE supported the Hyderabad ecosystem, as it evolved into a Startup hothouse


CIE being one of the earliest incubators in the city, and now the largest academic incubator in the country, has always had a strong social mandate to help and grow the city startup ecosystem. Over the past 12 years has seen Hyderabad grow into a thriving startup ecosystem and emerged as one of the country’s premier destination for startups with over 4000 tech startups. The funding scenario, too, is on a growth trajectory with 43 USD investment in 2015 to 400.95 USD in 2018, as per YourStory 2019 report. With startups such as NephroPlus, Darwinbox, HighRadius, Payswif and NowFloats, Hyderabad is breaking in to the rally-of-Unicorns scene with soonicorns (soon to be unicorns). CIE has had a key role in the early stage space, in enabling other institutions, actively working with organisations like TiE, Hysea, Hyderabad angels and others to support and grow startups.


CIE has actively connected various enablers in the city. Hyderabad is one of the top-3 bustling startup ecosystem in the nation and is home to a large no. of incubators, accelerators, and coworking space. All of these are focussed on creating an environment of learning and growth for startups through different set of activities and offerings.


CIE actively also networks Innovation and entrepreneurship stakeholders, such as the government of India, the government of Telangana, the corporate sector, research(ICRISAT, IIMR, ICMR ,CCMB et al.) and academic institutions(IIIT-H, IIT Hyderabad, University of Hyderabad, BITS Pilani et al.), the corporate participation, networks, multilateral agencies and foundations.


Networks created and supported in the city by CIE


Over the years, CIE has helped several initiatives and networks. Some of the recent ones include

  • HeadStart (an NGO that does many early stage events including StartupSaturday)- CIE has actively helped and worked with Headstart organizing several joint initiatives (including the most recent UnPItch event done 2 weeks back )
  • Founderinstitute, a 14 week startup seeding accelerator program, ran for 2 years
  • Medtec consortium – a group of 25+ organizations including CCMB, LVPEI, Novartis, Apollo , Medtronics and others from different facets of medtec innovation. Think Tank and enabling support from these organizations. This is under the State innovation Cell
  • T-HealthCafe, a monthly meetup organized by CIE under aegis of Medtec Consortium.. invited talks and startups can pitch for help from any of the medtec consortium members
  • Incubators & Coworking spaces network, started initially by CIE for the State Innovation Cell. A Whatsapp group and monthly meet of incubators. Now managed by the State Innovation Cell
  • Tatva XR- a VR-AR meetup group
  • TiE Deeptech SIG, an initiative started recently to support Deeptech startups from across the city. Each cohort to aggressively enable them pivot their strategy towards US markets
  • Startupsaturday, a 12 year old nation-wide early stage startup initiative was hosted at and by CIE for first 2+ years and then again since 2018
  • And many more..

Until next time!
|Stay healthy, Stay safe|

– Sunita Kumari, Team CIE