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IIT Bombay, DST and Intel launch a hardware startup incubator called ‘Plugin’

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All over world India is knows for its strength in software.  There is a huge number of startups and companies working on software and software services. However, when it comes to hardware, the situation is not so rosy and a lack of funding and support is one major reason for it. Keeping in mind the same, Intel, IIT Bombay, and DST have joined hands to launch a hardware startup incubator called ‘Plugin’.

Plugin will aim to provide funding, infrastructure, and mentorship support to manufacturers and designers working exclusively on hardware based products and services. It will also help them refine their go-to-market strategies.

DST, Intel and IIT Bombay have tied up for a period of 3 years and will together invest 4 crores into the program in the beginning. They plan to increase the amount gradually.

Commenting on the partnership between these three organisations, COO of SINE (business incubator at IIT Bombay), Poyni Bhatt, said,

Intel will bring in the corporate, technical and on-the-field strength. We will focus on venture creation, venture support and connections. The DST will act as a government adviser, policy maker and funder.

Plugin is looking for intellectual property-driven hardware and system startups. They can range from areas like security, graphics, display, Internet of Things, healthcare, data centres and cloud.

To be eligible for the one-year long programme, these startups need to have at least a demonstrable idea and proof-of-concepts or prototype. They will get an initial funding of 30 lakhs in addition to other facilities.

Talking about the same, Bhatt said,

We will be offering Rs. 30 lakhs, each to 20 startups and that includes hardware toolkits, product development kits which are also quite expensive. The only requirement is that they should be hardware startups, and we’re hoping to see projects in healthcare, to transport, IoT, and consumer products.

Plugin program will be divided into three phases. The first phase involves soliciting, finding, and filtering startups. Next, selected startups will get access to facilities at SINE (IIT Bombay’s business incubator) or at the lab facility of Intel in Bengaluru for six months.

At the end of 6 months, startups will give their demo in front of investors for securing more funding. In the last phase, they will go through focused coaching in the form of virtual support. Plugin will begin its first batch in October this year and it has started taking applications for it. SINE will select the startups for the program.

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