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Monday, December 31, 2012

Government of India initiative on Nanoelectronics

India took a major initiative in the 11th Plan to start and strengthen many activities in nanoelectronics, including creation and support of several Centres of Excellence in Nanoelectronics and a nation wide Indian Nanoelectronics Users’ Programme. In the 12th plan it is proposed to scale it up multi-fold through the innovation council, with emphasis on nanoelectronics to cater to India’s expanding requirements in consumer, societal, security, strategic, energy and agricultural areas, and thereby gain technology leadership and economic maturity with more than 10% GDP growth target. With this objective , Department of Electronics and Information Technology, MCIT has formed a sectoral innovation council in order to promote innovation in the area of Nanoelectronics.

Some of the application areas where the Nanoelectronics innovation can have a significant impact are:
1. Societal Electronics: There are many new applications of low-cost nanoelectronics which can transform Indian society, including smart cards (UID), low cost medical diagnostic devices,
pathogen sensors, water purification, environmental sensors, sensors for agriculture and distance education through smarter phones. One needs to realize that, more than half of India’s population is under the age of 25, and one million people a month are expected to join the labour force over the next decade. Therefore we need to develop technologies that help youth excel & acquire skills, which is a pressing need in the country. It could be low cost tablets, training material, distance education tools, IT, or learning aids.
2. Rural Electronics: India’s massive agricultural sector employs about 60% of the population,
yet accounts for only about 17% of total GDP. We need to use innovation/technology as a vehicle to improve productivity in our agricultural sector. It could be by way of sensor networks for agricultural applications or assisting the farmer with low cost easy to use sensor technologies for soil health monitoring. Food security is emerging as the foremost consideration for the inclusive growth of India. The needs in this sector are very specific to our environment and circumstances and the solution should emerge indigenously. Applications of Nanoelectronics in Agriculture is a completely unexplored territory worldwide. An example application is soil health monitoring sensor network which would have a real time sensing and remedial action to assess soil moisture, micronutrients etc. There are several potential applications in enhancing the growth and productivity of this sector.
3. Medical Electronics: Healthcare is a major concern in India and rural health infrastructure is
hardly existent. For example, 14 million persons are infected with TB in India and more than 300,000 deaths occur every year; about 2 million cases of malaria are recorded every year, by 2015 close to 5 million infected with AIDS; 17.1 million lives are claimed by cardiovascular diseases, with 82% of deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries like India. India is home to about 40 Million diabetic patients. Add to this: 42% Indians live on $1.25 per day ; 22 Million population pushed below poverty line annually due to healthcare expenditure. We need low cost medical diagnostic technologies, medical equipment, point-of-care systems to address these pressing needs.
4. Consumer Electronics: The large and growing Indian markets in telecom, computers, automobiles and entertainment make it possible to envisage nanoelectronics fabrication in India at the large scales required. The presence of such a sector will also provide the capability of chip fabrication for strategic applications.
5. Strategic Electronics: Security is such a major concern in India. There are hardly any technologies that can prevent recurrence of terrorist attacks, the type that happened in the recent past. The technologies that are protecting our airports are vastly inadequate. Vapour phase or stand-off detection of explosives, sensor networks for explosive detection covering the vital installations, protection of transport systems, detection of chemical warfare agents are all problems that are currently looking for a solution. Nanoelectronics can play a vital role in providing a solution to these problems. Besides explosive detection, there are important requirements for IR detectors and imaging, high-speed and high-power electronics, and lasers, all of which are critical in defence, space and homeland security applications. In addition, strategic requirements often mandate that chip fabrication be in a secure domestic foundry.
6. Energy Electronics: Compound semiconductors offer solutions for high speed electronics, semiconductor lighting, optoelectronics etc. where silicon based solutions are inadequate or not available. Energy is an area where innovation can create a profitable playing field in the solar PV marketplace. India is a fertile testing ground for many of these technologies and offers huge markets, if there are cost effective solutions. This could be by way of developing the new nano-based photovoltaic cells that will be critical for the National Solar Mission, or through the widespread use of smart energy meters, and efficient lighting, including white light emitting diodes and organic LEDs.
For further details:
Dr. G. V. Ramaraju
Senior Director & Group Coordinator (R&D in IT)
Department of Electronics & IT (DeitY)
Ministry of Communications & IT (MCIT)
Government of India
Electronics Niketan, 6, CGO Complex
New Delhi – 110003
Telefax: - (011) 24365415
Email: -

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2013

India is all set to embrace a new STI policy, salient features of new policy are:
  • The policy seeks to focus on both people for science and science for people and combine the benefits of excellence and relevance.
  • India’s STI system needs to deliver solutions to address the pressing national challenges of energy and food security, nutrition, affordable health care, environment, water and sanitation and above all employment .
  • Change ratio of public to private sector investments in R&D from the current 3:1 to 1:1 within the next five years.
  • India should aim to increase its share of scientific publications from the current 3.5% to over 7% and quadruple the number of papers in top 1% journals from the current levels by 2020. Citation impact of Indian publications must improve and match at least the global averages.
  • within the next five years the total number of FTE ( Full Time Equivalent) of R&D personnel must increase by at least 66% of the present strength.
1. A National Science, Technology and Innovation Foundation will be established as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative for investing critical levels of resources for innovative and ambitious projects.
2. The focus of the policy environment will be:
  • Facilitating private sector investment in R&D centres in India and overseas.
  • Permitting multi stakeholders participation in the Indian R&D system.
  • Treating R&D in the private sector at par with public institutions for availing public funds.
  • Bench marking of R&D funding mechanisms and patterns globally.
  • Aligning Venture Capital and Inclusion Innovation Fund systems.
  • Modifying IPR policy to provide for marching rights for social good when supported by public funds and for co-sharing IPRs generated under PPP.
  • Exploring newer mechanisms for fostering Technology Business Incubators (TBIs) and science-led entrepreneurship.
  • Providing incentives for commercialization of innovations with focus on green manufacturing.
  • Prioritizing critical R&D areas like agriculture, telecommunications, energy, water management, drug discovery, material science including nano technology, climate change and space technology and promoting interdisciplinary research,
  • Promoting innovations through mechanisms including “Small Idea-Small Money” and “Risky Idea Fund” to support innovation incubators
  • Supporting STI driven entrepreneurship with high scaling coefficients and viable business models,
  • Investing in young innovators and entrepreneurs through education and training.
Treating R&D in the private sector at par with public institutions for availing public funds.
This idea giving in-house R&D units, SIROs and MNC R&D centers equal opportunities would be a game changer. Hope Secretary DST and DSIR would take this as a major challenge and implement it on priority. 

A PASSION TO BUILD India's Quest for Offshore Technology: A Memoir by Anil Kumar Malhotra

KG gas: In search of expertise
As per reports Reliance Industries has shut its seventh well  B4 on the main producing fields of Dhirubhai-1 and 3 (D1&D3) in KG-D6 block "due to high water cut/sanding issues," according to a status report of the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH). RIL has so far drilled 22 wells on D1&D3 fields but has put only 18 on production so far. D1&D3, which started gas production in April 2009, had touched a peak of 55 mmscmd in August 2010 before beginning of water and sand ingress in wells.The company had closed six wells since end-2010 and last month the seventh well was shut.

It appears there is no expertise in the country to carry out technology audit (assess the reservoir capacity, optimum production rate,technological challenges and solutions). In this background, reading the book on Bombay High offshore production was highly educative.
Capacity building in technical consultancy  
The author, graduate from IIT, Kharagpur, master from MIT and doctorate from University of California, Berkeley gives a first hand narration of how Engineers India Limited was groomed by enlightened policy makers & bureaucracy and delivered by competent public sector engineers.
Manmohan Pathak a MIT graduate was first Indian Managing Director of Engineers India Limited (EIL) in 1969- a joint venture initiated by Bechtel to build fertilizer plants. But Manmohan had a dream to build EIL as a company that would provide service for any kind of process plant concept to commissioning. The author a researcher with patents and papers on offshore structures was spotted and invited by Manmoha to start Offshore Engineering Department (OED) in EIL. The planning commission entrusted to EIL the responsibility to evaluate various options for India's first offshore terminal at Salaya. From this first assignment, the idea grew that OED could act as the consultant to IOC in the selection, design , fabrication and installation of the system and thereby ensure that the closely held technology in this area could be transferred to India.
The rational for selecting a consultant in preference to an institute or lab was spelled out by author.A consulting organisation is best placed to provide the country with increased skill and bargaining power when foreign technology is purchased, since technological packages can be broken down in a more meaningful manner, thus leading to competitive prices since maximum local participation in goods and services can be built into the total package being developed developed for a project. A cadre of professionals trained in the handling of the new technology over a short period can provide valuable staff support to the government, the domestic industry as well as national oil company in future development.
EIL started as subcontractor to French soil consulting firm TLM in 1973 to carry out studies for ONGC Sagar Samrat.  ONGC discovered oil offshore of Bombay Highway in 1974 and ONGC with NB Prasad as Chairman reatined EIL/ Crest consortium to carry out a design review of the $100 million turnkey contract awarded to McDermott. With the success of first well project, ONGC bagan entrusting design of simple well platforms to EIL.Crest combine. Next milestone was work in 1978 on ONGC's first major processing platform in Bombay Hig, the BHN platform. EIL designed the platform using offshore industry standards and norms. A turnkey contractor was selected to fabricate it in Dubai under EIL supervision. Moving on EIL helped Mazagaon Shipyard (MDL) to set up facilities and fabricate offshore platforms designed by EIL.Finally when ONGC decided to build India's fisrt gas based LPG plant with $100 million investment , EIL became the primary contractor with foreign consultant Kellog international for deign vetting and performance guarantee.
Concluding remarks by author
Life had indeed come a full circle. Thirty five years ago , the civil servant chief executive of the national oil company had told me that we were a nation of beggars and that developing offshore technology indigenously was beyond our ken and capabilities. Thirty five years later, another civil servant, the chief executive of another state owned oil company was telling me that we did not need to develop any frontier technology and that we could buy it instead-equipment, materials and even management.  

Order copy:

Saturday, December 22, 2012

7th Annual Conference of the Indian STEPs and Business Incubators Association [ISBA] ISBA-2013

KIIT-Technology Business Incubator (KIIT-TBI)is  hosting  7th Annual Conference of the Indian STEPs and Business Incubators Association [ISBA] ISBA-2013 Incubation: Adding Dimensions, Spurring Growth Date:7-9th February 2013
Venue: KIIT University, Bhubaneswar
The event will bring together around 400 people representing from Indian Academia, R&D, Innovators/young startup companies, industries, technology providers, funding agencies, mainly Angel investors, venture capital funds and private equity and supporting government departments i.e DST, DBT, TDB, DSIR, DIT, TIFAC, and MSME along with many invited delegates from international Science Parks, business incubators, business consultants and financial institutions under one platform. This annual gathering fosters a bonding and sharing of contemporary thoughts in the fields of innovations, their management, execution and graduation to successful enterprises. 
Last date of registration: 20th January 2013 
For details visit

Sunday, December 16, 2012

India: A Fab-Less Wonder: Case of SMDP

From IPod to I Pad, millions of electronics goods have rolled out of China, the global manufacturing hub. India’s share of global electronic product market is less than 3%. Taiwan had $72 billion of investment in Fabs, where as India stands out as one the aspiring nation with no Fab. Yet, top 25 global semiconductor companies now have a presence in India through their captive centers, working in cutting edge technology nodes. Among the top twenty U.S. semiconductor companies, only two have not established a design center in India. While, Government of India is not successful in attracting manufacturing, appear to have made a significant contribution by focusing on talent supply. Department of Information Technology (DIT) implemented Special Manpower Development Programme in the area of VLSI design and related software (SMDP) and trained over 20,000 engineers. This paper is about SMDP as case study and is based on Impact Assessment of SMDP-II assigned by DIT on IIMA.

This paper was presented in the Forum for Knowledge Sharing annual meeting held at SIU, Pune on 30th November. Download the paper from SSRN

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Q&A By Abhishar team of IIITM, Gwalior

Abhishar is a student publication of IIITM, Gwalior. Vol 2 of November 2012 includes Q&A with me. See them below:

1. What do you presume to be like an X-factor in innovators for the  screening process?

Prior work and due diligence.student innovators could start business with  entry barriers for competitors provided the business is related to their  project/ institute IP.

 2. Whilst observing dozens of technopreneurs for so many years now, which  property would you consider was rarest amongst them?

Speed of conversion from proof of concept to commercial product. Being first timers, the technopreneurs do not have access to commercial enterprises production know-how.And commercially successful products need to be made of currently available commercial components/ sub-assemblies.

3. What was the prime advantage you considered the IP mapping project  would bring to the Indian education sector?

Awareness- the students need to know what someone in their institute knows and what students of other institutes knew. Prior-art is global and students should routinize tracking. 

4. In the thick of a number of successful entrepreneurs, whose name would  you consider worth mentioning as a source of inspiration for our readers?

Inspiration comes from innovators students can relate to in their field to emulate.If their dream is electronic gadgets , then Steve of Apple inspires millions. 

5. During your tenure at IIMA, which part of the curriculum did you reason was the most vital?

Integrating incubator with regular academic programs is an initiative with long term impact to transform great educational institute into a great entrepreneurial university.

6. In your view, what is “Innovation”?

The product sold in large numbers is innovation.Innovation adds to the stock of public knowledge when large number of users benefit from it.

7. What are the critical success factors for a start up in an IT domain?

Time to market- concept to beta version should be completed in less than 6 months and with boot strapping. 

8. In your view what are the three technical innovations that affected lives of millions all over the globe?

Internet, semi conductors and vaccines.

9.. Which is your favorite movie?

Like the (rare )Indian science fiction movies.The current favourite is `Eega in telugu/Makki in Hindi'

I am puzzled that most students do not connect with their academic projects/ learning in B plans of their dream start-up. Teaching may be generic but learning is specific. Can it not be leveraged  when starting enterprise?

Monday, November 05, 2012

Avaz (India Edition) is now available as an app for the iPad on the App Store

AVAZ is an innovative communication aid for children with speech-related disabilities, such as autism, Cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Aspergers, mental retardation, and other developmental delays . Avaz has received prestigious awards from the President of India, MIT USA, Times Now and Sankalp Forum, among others. Avaz is an 'artificial voice', and the most effective tool for communication development in children with special needs.

Avaz (India Edition) is now available as an app for the iPad on the App Store. This app marks the culmination of 4 years of research involving hundreds of persons from the community - including therapists, special educators, schools, parents, children etc. from India, the USA and Denmark. The US version of Avaz was launched recently and has been very well received by therapists and educators there, with an average 5-star rating

What sets Avaz apart from similar apps available on the app store, is that the Indian Edition of Avaz is culturally appropriate for India - in terms of food, festivals, clothes, greetings, currency, etc. It is the only solution of its kind for the Indian community. The price of the app is Rs.7,500, an affordable option compared to therapy and other speech generating devices. As an introductory offer during this festive season, we are making the Avaz App available at Rs.4,900 till November 30th.     
Contact: Anuradha N.Invention Labs,

Friday, November 02, 2012

Venkat Rao: Award winner of RED DOT Design competition

Visakhapatnam is not the place one associates with award winning designers. So I asked the winner to tell about him, here is the story in his own words:

I had my schooling in the small town of Jamshedpur, Had to struggle my way into Design as Engineering seemed a safer bet to my parents. 
We as school kids rarely knew of design as profession and by the time I wanted to get into a Design Institution most of the colleges had finished their entrance exams. I saw an interview of Professor S.Balaram one of the founders of NID (National institute of design Ahmedabad) and came to know that he has started a design college in Coimbatore (DJ Academy of design). I cleared the entrance and joined. I was in the 2nd batch of the college and had 16 students in my batch! we had just 7 seniors! But I knew I was in the right place.
I finished my Industrial Design in DJAD and received my convocation letter from the inspirational CEO of Titan Ltd. Mr. Bhaskar Bhat. During My education in DJAD i won the 1st prize in IIT Chennai (For the design of a Car's dashboard- Aesthetics and safety)
I also was among the top few finalists at IIT Kanpur (For Design of a intercity Bus) and won other small awards.
My designs are mostly functional, Innovative and Inclusive in nature, I believe there is always a smarter way!
Life around us is getting more and more complicated, by designing simpler and smarter products we can simplify it a bit.
Innovation in the Indian industry is the only formula for sustainable success.
During my 2nd year in college I designed a needle that can be easily threaded and made a working prototype. To my surprise that same year someone won a RED DOT DESIGN award for a very similar concept from Korea. I was young and felt really bad, but my professor Mr. S.Balaram said don't be disappointed but know that even your designs can win such awards one day. And It took me 4 years and I won it this year with my design " Half dose" It took lot of hard work and determination.
I worked in Icarus Design studios and developed a Low cost solar water heater. I then moved on and was consulting companies in various interface related products. I also worked for a furniture company for a while in Bangalore.
Now I am in Visakhapatnam my Native place and am developing some Lights for Hotels.
You can check out my works at the below links:

U.S.-India S&T Endowment Fund -Third call for proposals

Priority Areas:
Healthy individual: Affordable biomedical devices, diagnostic / preventive / curative measures, or food and nutrition products to improve health. (Drug development and clinical trials are not eligible activities in this category).
Empowering citizens: Reducing the digital/technology divide. This could include amongst others, information and communication technologies with societal impact in areas such as water, agriculture, financial inclusion, and education.
Proposals must include a minimum of one partner from each country. Bi-national teams applying to the Endowment will work together to commercialize technologies for societal impact.
  • The Bi-national teams can include:
    1. i) Start-up companies; or
    2. ii)Incorporated companies; or
    3. iii) Non-incorporated entities; or
    4. iv)Individuals or consortia from academia, government laboratories, non-government R&D institutions
  • Each bi-national team must include at the time of application an entrepreneurial (small-scale as opposed to large-scale) entity that will receive a portion of the grant and take the technology to the market. If partners are planning to form a new venture to commercialize the technology, the proposal should include planned incorporation date and the amount of grants requested for the new entity.
  • Relationships between the U.S. and Indian partners must be clearly defined, including ownership of intellectual property rights for the technology proposed to be developed and commercialized.
  • The proposed technology must have potential towards commercialization within 2-3 years
Grants of up to Rs. 2.50 crores or approximately $450,000 (subject to prevailing exchange rate).Proposals outside this range may be considered under exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the US-India Science & Technology Endowment Board (hereafter referred to as 'Board').

Submission deadline for executive summaries: 15 December 2012 (11:59 PM, Pacific Standard Time) 

For the second call the following teams were selected:

Healthy Individuals Category
i) Proposal Title:Mobile Phone based HbA1c Analyzer
Lead Partners: Sidhant Jena, Janacare Solutions Private Limited, Bangalore and Stephen Chen, Teco Diagnostics Anaheim, CA
ii) Proposal Title:A novel way to manage fecal incontinence in non-ambulatory patients
Lead Partners: Nishith Chasmawala Consure Medical Pvt. Ltd., Surat and Matt Durack Lunar Design San Francisco, CA)
Empowering Citizens Category
i) Proposal Title:Branchless Banking and Financial services for the Unbanked and Under-banked
Lead Partners: Abhipriya Gupta, Eko India Financial Services Private Limited, New Delhi and Angela Schmuck, IDmission LLC, Mesa AZ

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

INFUSE Venture Accelerator selects 12 start-ups.

12 energy start-ups shortlisted elected by CIIE:

  1. EnerGram Energy Solutions, Bangalore, (Ravi Annavajjhala)
  2. GramPower, Jaipur, (Yashraj Khaitan)
  3. Green Brick Eco Solutions, New Delhi, (Prasun Jain)
  4. Electricity Free Egg Incubator (EFEI),Mumbai, (Shital Kasat)
  5. Nuru Energy, Mumbai, (Deepak Punwani)
  6. Indrion Technologies India,Bengaluru, (S Uma Mahesh)
  7. PowerHac,Kharagpur, (Gaurav Gupta)
  8. Fourth Partner Energy,Hyderabad, (Vivek Subramanian)
  9. Revive eWaste Management Co.Mumbai, (Siddarth Shivkumar)
  10. Biokitch Waste Management.Thrissur, (T. R. Rajesh)
  11. REConnect Energy Solutions,Bengaluru,(Vishal Pandya)
  12. VisViva Renewable Energy,Hyderabad, (Siddhartha Srivastava)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Approval of National Policy on Electronics 2012

The policy proposes the following strategies: 

(i) Creating eco-system for globally competitive ESDM sector: The strategies include provision of fiscal incentives for investment, setting up of electronic manufacturing clusters, preferential market access to domestically manufactured electronic products, setting up of semiconductor wafer fabrication facilities, industry friendly and stable tax regime. Based on Cabinet approval, a high level Empowered committee has been constituted to identify and shortlist technology and investors for setting up two semiconductor wafer manufacturing fabrication facilities. Based on another Cabinet approval a policy for providing preference to domestically manufactured electronic goods has been announced. Separate proposals have also been considered by the Cabinet for approval of Modified Special Incentive Package for the ESDM Sector and for setting up of Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMCs). 

(ii) Promotion of Exports: The strategies include aggressive marketing of India as an investment destination and providing incentives for export, 

(iii) Human Resource Development: The strategies include involvement of private sector, universities and institutions of learning for scaling up of requisite capacities at all levels for the projected manpower demand. A specialized Institute for semiconductor chip design is also proposed. 

(iv) Developing and mandating standards to curb inflow of sub-standard and unsafe electronic products by mandating technical and safety standards which conform to international standards. 

(v) Cyber security: To create a complete secure cyber eco-system in the country, through suitable design and development of indigenous appropriate products through frontier technology/product oriented research, testing and validation of security of products. 

(vi) Strategic electronics: The strategies include creating long-term partnerships between domestic ESDM industry and strategic sectors for sourcing products domestically and providing Defense Offset obligations for electronic procurements through ESDM products. 

(vii) Creating ecosystem for vibrant innovation and R&D in the ESDM sector including nanoelectronics. The strategy includes creation of an Electronic Development Fund. 

(viii) Electronics in other sectors: The strategy includes supporting and : developing expertise in the electronics in the following sectors of economy: automotive, avionics, Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), Industrial, medical, solar photovoltaics, Information and Broadcasting, Telecommunications, Railways, Intelligent Transport Systems, and Games and Toys. 

(ix) Handling e-waste: The strategy includes various initiatives to facilitate environment friendly e-waste handling policies. 

Microqual -pioneer in provisioning passive microwave components, service and solutions to Mobile Telecom Operators and Telecom Equipment Manufacturers in India.

Deloitte list of fast 50 India often contain a sprincle of hardware firms and Microqual is on the list in 2011, 2009, 2008, 2006 and 2005.
Microqual was founded by a young entrepreneur Mahesh Choudary in 1999 starting with Splitter used to connect  customers using WLL (Wireless in Local Loop) technology. Microqual today is a Rs 235 crore company provides complete and integrated lifecycle solutions for passive infrastructure to the telecom companies' right from site selection, civil and electrical construction to installation and maintenance. 
Under the RF feeder cable manufacturing business, Microqual has a manufacturing unit in Aurangabad, Maharashtra where copper-core and aluminium-core cables are sheathed for indoor and outdoor application. A second RF equipment facility is operational in Rudrapur (2 units) where active and passive RF components like repeaters, connectors, jumpers, antenna, splitters, couplers, combiners etc are manufactured. The company has an R&D laboratory in Bangalore, where product development and research work is done. Apart from being a manufacturer and material supplier, Microqual is also a Turnkey Service Provider (TSP) to telecom operators and tower companies. Microqual erects telecom towers (Ground Based Towers and Roof Top Towers) on small parcels of land (less than 0.25acre) procured and selected by the customer (telecom service provider). Microqual also undertakes the operations and maintenance contract for telecom operators. Microqual was one of the  first companies to win a contract for active maintenance from Huawei. Microqual is also engaged in the business of In-Building telecom Services (IBS) where it is involved in activities like RF planning and designing inside buildings (such as institutional areas, corporate campuses, shopping malls, hotels etc), leasing space from the builder/owner of the building, deploying RF infrastructure and then leasing out this RF network to telecom service providers to cater to the tenants /occupants of the building.
How did a hardware product company survive in India? The firm did not plan to become world's largest manufacturer of any electronic component and did not set up R&D center to develop next new material for components. Instead, the firm's business priorities have been driven primarily by its customer's needs and it uses technology innovatively to enhance value for them by offering products, services and innovative solutions resulting in reduction of Capex, Opex and Space (ROCS), thereby increasing their overall profitability and time to market. 
Mahesh  formula for scaling an IP driven business in India and product development provides great insights to factors that led to the success of Microqual."I think most people are good product developers, but something that we learnt very early on is that people lack in the final phase of customization. We realized that if we can do that part well, then we are a very good value proposition. I think this is one of the most important aspects of scaling. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

EU-INDIA STI COOPERATION DAYS 2012 Hyderabad, 8-9 November

The 3rd Edition of the EU – India Coop Days will take place the 8 and 9 November in Hyderabad at the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGIR- CSIR). This joint event, focusing on water related challenges is organized by New INDIGO, Euraxess links India, EBTC and INDIA GATE. The EU India STI Coop Days 2012 will bring together scientists, policy makers and representatives from the industry in a great opportunity to exchange around water-related challenges.

For more information and registration, visit

Crowd funding Healthcare entrepreneurs-health tech hatch

Health Tech Hatch is an online forum where innovators can showcase their projects and appeal to the public and members of their social media networks for funds. This can add up to significant seed money, if enough members of the “crowd’’ respond. The platform aims to foster the development of products that transform health care, such as channels where patients can communicate with their doctors, or devices that track people’s health habits and reward them for improvements. It also sees a potential client base among social entrepreneurs interested in global health and underserved communities.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Rapid Nutrition seek to acquire firms in healthcare sector

Rapid Nutrition seek acquisitions with the following criteria:
* Sector: Healthcare sector with particular interest in distribution, eccommerce, manufacturing businesses.Life Science, Biotechnology, FMCG in the health food sector.
* EBITDA: Minimum $2m
* Must be already successful ( no start ups please)
* Ideally will contain healthy cash flowing assets with minimum liabilities.
* Must offer synergy with what we do.
Contact : , Alvin Donovan, Managing Director
Equity Partners Fund SPC,

Erli Bird for Startups

One of the biggest challenges for every startup is finding initial customers. Many companies invest thousands of dollars creating a new product only to fail out of the gate, without ever achieving a userbase large enough to truly test an idea. Others waste months developing complex new technology, and upon launching, quickly find out that they’ve made very big mistakes or solved the wrong problem altogether.

Erli Bird was created to help solve these problems by allowing startups to find the right early adopters, incentivize product evangelists, and quickly learn from their customers, iterate, and build more compelling products.
How it Works:
• Your startup is featured for 1 – 3 weeks. Your company will appear on our homepage and have a dedicated “feature” page.
• While your startup is featured, you can list a limited number of slots available for early adopters to take part in your startup (25 – 500 users). During this time, Erli Bird users have the opportunity to “Claim a Spot”.
• You can optionally provide an incentive to users for extra motivation to sign up. Examples include freebies (e.g. $10 gift card), promotional items (e.g. free t-shirt or magnets), discounts, or anything creative (e.g. beer with the founder, free pizza party have been done on Erli Bird).
• Our service includes an optional gamification system to encourage high-quality user behavior.
• You will have access to the list of users that have claimed a spot for your startup and can
communicate with them directly.


The European Commission (EC) is keen on enhancing the partnership with India in the ICT R&D domain  via the Framework Programme (FP). Several projects were funded under FP6 and again FP 7 was formulated with focused areas. Joint Working Group (JWG) also identified technology priority areas common to India and EU member states. Despite all this, doubt lingers what is a priority area for India? Identifying R&D projects of relevance to industrialized countries was relatively easier as the thrust was on State- Of- Art  (SOA) knowledge . Catching up economies like India the demand is for State- of-Market (SOM) technology and contours of SOM appear hazy.
Scenario writing, Expert opinion are some of the popular Technology  Forecasting (TF) techniques  and Delphi technique was widely used in Japan and USA. Dr Mary Mathew of IISc has taken up this study and came up with a set of expert opinion using Delphi. The process is more important than the result and I feel this process gives much better insights than typical committee meetings. This study by Dr Mary Mathews is one of the few Indian cases on Delhi and a must read for all those interested in TF.
For copy of the report, write to
For tutorial on TF, download paper:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Genes of Gold- from ICRISAT

United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is now underway in Hyderabad, India. Plenty of talk- time to highlight real work. 

A major part of work at ICRISAT was generating benefits for the poor from agricultural biodiversity (agro-biodiversity). ICRISAT scours the world for genetically-diverse types of five focus crops that it can use in plant breeding to improve crop productivity and crop tolerance/resistance to diseases, insects and environmental stresses.
Pearl millet

1. Resistance to the downy mildew fungus

Before resistance became available farmers often lost half of their yields of millet grain to this disease. ICRISAT scientists found resistance in land races (farmer-evolved varieties) from Africa and Asia, and incorporated it into high-yielding modern varieties on both continents. We estimated in 1996 that the annual benefits were worth US$50 million, and have surely grown since then.

2. Iniadi land races from West and Central Africa

Iniadis are a distinct genetic type of pearl millet that have contributed a number of important qualities to our breeding pools: high dry matter, early maturity, cytoplasmic male sterility and good combining ability (requirements for breeding hybrid varieties), tolerance to drought, high levels of nutritious iron and zinc in the grain, and resistance to downy mildew. Iniadi genetic heritage has contributed to most of the varieties developed by ICRISAT. The benefits of these many traits are difficult to isolate and quantify in dollars, but have been enormous.


3. Higher yields from intercrossing between Caudatum, Guinea, and Durra races

Cultivated sorghum encompasses five sub-types or ‘races’. Intercrossing among the above three, which originated in different regions of Africa and Asia, combined a number of strengths. A particular benefit was that some crosses resulted in ‘hybrid vigor’, that is, more vigorous growth and approximately 40% higher net income from the crop for millions of farmers in India. Efforts are underway to develop hybrid seed systems and varieties in Africa.

4. Resistance to grain mold

The densely-packed grains of high-yielding Caudatum varieties of sorghum can become moldy when rains are unusually frequent, causing 30-100% yield losses, lower market value and even nutritional hazards for humans that consume them. In 1992 ICRISAT estimated the annual economic losses in Asia and Africa as US$ 130 million. Moderately-resistant land races were found and grain mold tolerant hybrids have been released in India. In West and Central Africa, Guinea land races are inherently resistant, though lower-yielding.


5. Resistance to fungal leaf spot diseases

Groundnuts (peanuts) are particularly susceptible to attacks by fungi. Moderately resistant land races have been found and utilized in breeding in both Africa and Asia. For example, ICG 7878 was selected directly from germplasm collections as resistant to both early and late leafspots and was released by Mali in 2002 as ‘Waliyar Tiga’; similar successes have occurred in other regions.

6. Early maturity

Early maturation of the crop is a trait that is greatly appreciated by poor farmers worldwide. It enables them to harvest food and receive income sooner, and to escape many droughts. The groundnut line most utilized in breeding this trait, ‘Chico’, has contributed earliness to cultivars released across Africa and Asia such as ICGV 91114, now having major impact in Anantapur district, India – the largest groundnut growing district in the world; and Nyanda (ICGV 93437), cultivated on about 50,000 hectares in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, and South Africa.


7. Early maturity

Early-maturing chickpeas are having major impact in Ethiopia, India and Myanmar. Benefits to Ethiopia alone over the period 2001-2030 are projected to be worth US$111 million. The land area sown to chickpea in Myanmar, and also the grain yields per unit land area both doubled during 2001-09. In Andhra Pradesh state, India the early-maturing varieties stimulated a fivefold increase in sown area plus a 2.4-fold increase in yield over the same period.

8. Fusarium fungal wilt resistance

Fusarium wilt strangles a plant by cutting off the flow of water to its shoot. We identified resistant chickpea land races such as WR 315 and deployed this resistance in varieties around the world. In combination with early maturity this enabled the chickpea revolution in Andhra Pradesh that I described above.


9. Fusarium wilt resistance

Fusarium wilt resistance has also generated enormous impact in pigeonpea. Its agro-biodiversity source is an Indian landrace ‘ICP 8863’ that was released in 1986 as ‘Maruthi’ for cultivation in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh states. The value of wilt resistance from ICP 8863 was estimated at US$ 61.7 million by 1996, and continues to deliver enormous benefits in both Asia and Africa to this day.

10. Hybrid seed system

ICRISAT and partners utilized Cajanus cajanifolus, a wild relative species of pigeonpea, to develop the world’s first hybrid seed system for any grain legume crop. In more than 2,000 on-farm trials conducted in five states of India these hybrids produced an average 30% higher grain yield than the best available local variety. We expect enormous impact over the rest of this decade as seed enterprises make these hybrids widely available to farmers.
(source: DG' blog)

Insight India 2012 , Mumbai 23rd November 2012

Insight India 2012 is a one day interactive conference, organised by Onio Design Pvt. Ltd., to discuss the Megatrends for India and derive insights for innovation & growth. The very first conference was held in Mumbai in 2006 and then on we have successfully organized this conference year after year in Delhi, Pune, London & Copenhagen. Megatrends are the changes operating at the intersection of cultural, social, economic, political, technological, regulatory and market forces. This study is increasingly becoming a tool of choice for organisations around the world to chart out innovation & growth strategy. It equips organizations with an understanding of emerging preferences and aspirations of the people and develop better products, interactions and brands.
Ms. Genevieve Flaven, Managing Partner, Style-Vision (a trend research company based in Nice & Shanghai ) will discuss global megatrends
Mr. Pradeep Lokhande
(Managing Director, Rural Relations, one of the pioneers of rural marketing will discuss the contours of new consumers in rural India )
Ms. Parvati Balagopalan(Director: e-MotionPictures Pvt. Ltd., A film director and producer, will discuss the emerging influences on and from Bollywood)
Mr. Karthik Nandyal (President,, a visual search portal on global fashion, will discuss the trends in eRetail& new consumers)
& Manoj Kothari (Director and Principal Strategist, Onio Design Pvt. Ltd., will discuss the megatrends & insights for India)

WHEN: 23rd Nov 2012, 9.30am to 5pm
Melhua The Fern Hotel, Central Avenue, Hiranandani Gardens, Powai, MUMBAI-400076 (20 min. drive from the Mumbai airport)
COST: Rs. 12,500/USD 250 per person ( 10% discount, if invoiced before 30th October, )

Monday, October 08, 2012

Second International Conference on Creativity and Innovation at Grassroots (ICCIG’2012): Dec. 3rd –5th at TUFE, Tianjin (China), and, Dec. 7th - 8th, 2012 at IIM, Ahmedabad.

Pursuit of inclusive innovations today is considered not only essential but also inevitable for sustainable development. However, the role of grassroots innovators in achieving such a process of development has remained less appreciated except may be in India, China and to some extent Malaysia, Indonesia and a few other countries.
Including the excluded in the process of development has become a worldwide concern because the patience of the excluded is running out. The need for harmonious or inclusive development is being articulated by the major Asian economies like China and India. Other countries including the OECD ones are also debating different ways of harnessing the creative potential of masses to make the process of development more participatory and also innovative. The concept of the national innovation system has undergone complete transformation in India by incorporating the knowledge and innovations of common people in the formal S&TI system. There is a need to bring about such a transformation everywhere. No more is the formal R&D system considered equivalent to the innovation system. Even the large corporations have begun to look for ideas from strangers, users, observers, supply chain members and other people outside the organisation. There is no way that national governments can ignore the role grassroots innovations can play in the redesign of policies, institutions and social interactions to make society more fair and just.

Persistent efforts by numerous volunteers of the Honey Bee Network around the world over the last two and a half decades have considerably expanded the global understanding of the potential of grassroots innovators in alleviating poverty and generating sustainable development. However, a lot more remains to be done and understood. The second international conference on Creativity and Innovations at Grassroots [ICCIG] follows up the recommendations of the first ICCIG held at IIMA in collaboration with SRISTI in January 1997. The impact of the first conference was witnessed in the form of founding GIAN (1997) and later NIF (2000). Another international workshop on Building a Global Value Chain around Green Grassroots Innovations (GRI) and Traditional Knowledge [May 31st – June 2nd , 2007, TUFE Tianjin University of Finance and Economics] was organised to provide mentoring, incubation and online support to innovators and entrepreneurs in China, Brazil and India through a project supported by infoDev at SRISTI. The Tianjin Declaration for Promoting Green Grassroots Innovation for Harmonious Development was issued on the occasion [see annexure]. It commemorates the international solidarity for harmonious and inclusive development to support merging of grassroots, scientific, technological and institutional innovations and traditional knowledge. SRISTI had also organised capacity building workshops in six south-eastern countries in collaboration with APCTT and DSIR, GOI to trigger GRI movement during 2007-8.

It is therefore  the second ICCIG Conference is organised from December 3rd – 5th (noon) at TUFE, Tianjin City, China and December 7th – 8th , 2012 at IIMA to discuss:

a) How open and collaborative innovation platforms can be used to generate reciprocity between the formal and informal sector,
b) How the pursuit of innovation as public good can be blended with the protection of intellectual property rights of grassroots innovators,
c) What kind of eco-system interventions are needed to reduce transaction costs of innovators, investors and entrepreneurs, and regulators;
d) How policies favoring scouting, spawning and sustaining GRIID can be negotiated at national and international level providing incentives for disclosure by local communities,
e) How the youth can be engaged to overcome persistent inertia at different levels and in various sectors and spaces in various countries,
f) How to replicate emerging models of supporting grassroots innovations such as the micro venture innovation fund [MVIF], Grassroots Technological Innovation Acquisition Fund [GTIAF] and the social initiative, innovation and entrepreneurship [SIIE] fund for creating public goods based on sustainable knowledge systems,
g) How the goals of sustainable conservation of biodiversity, other natural resources and local institutions can be blended with the goals of rapid economic growth being pursued by most countries despite current economic slowdown.


Thursday, October 04, 2012

ISA Vision Summit, January 28th & 29th Bangalore

Topic for 2013 is ESDM 2020: Product Innovation, Global Collaboration & Policy Alignment
Salient features of ISA Vision Summit 2013
  • Eighth successive summit
  • Two days, 500 industry and government leaders, various international business delegations, 40 speakers
  • Focused sessions on sector opportunities, market trends, policy directives
  • Exclusive sessions with innovators and entrepreneurs
  • Business networking opportunities - one on one meetings
  • Meet and interact with the Technovation Awards 2012 winners

Building the Next Gen Startup : A workshop by Technion, Israel at Ahmedabad, 12th & 13th October

Technion, in association with iCreate is doing a 2 day seminar in Ahmedabad on the lines of "Building the next gen startup" at GMDC Auditorium. The dates of the event are 12th and 13th October. Technion is Israel's flagship of world-class education, bringing Israel its first Nobel Prizes in science. From the cornerstone laying ceremony in 1912, Technion's over 70,000 alumni have built the state of Israel and created and lead the majority of Israel's successful companies, impacting millions of scientists, students, entrepreneurs and citizens worldwide.

The speakers include : 
Dr. Harry Yuklea:
Advisor to Israeli National Economic Council, the Israeli Chief Scientist Office, the UNECE and to EUREKA (EU Industrial R&D Network). He is also a serial entrepreneur who has managed VC Funds, and is an academic researcher and a senior lecturer of Entrepreneurial Finance and Economics of Innovation at Technion, Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University.
Hadas Kroitoru 
Program Manager, Israel India R&D Co-operation from MATIMOP (the official National Agency for inter-national industrial R&D cooperation in Israel)
Tehila Sabag 
Projects Manager, Bronica Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center at Technion
Yakov Barac 
Director, BizTEC at Technion
Major Amitava Mittra 
Chief Operating Officer (India), BGI Engitech Pvt. Ltd.

Members of Indian Innovators Association are offered  a 30% discount. 
Use the code "icreatenextgen" on Ayojak.

Monday, September 24, 2012

E Book- Promoting Innovation in Clusters

I have raised several issues in building innovation cluster in countries like India where academic spin-off/ pay-offs are not significant.

Clusters are groups of firms, related actors, and institutions that are located near one another and that draw productive advantage from their mutual proximity and connections. Clusters arise and grow because the firms within them profit materially from the presence of powerful “externalities” and “spillovers” that bring them important competitive advantages, ranging from the presence of a specialized workforce to supplier specialization and the exchange of leading edge knowledge. Today, the US economic maps show scores of local agglomerations: biotech in Boston, information technology in Silicon Valley, entertainment in Hollywood, horse trailer manufacturing in north Texas, marine technologies in eastern North Carolina and wine in southern Washington. Clusters are prominent in Europe too. On average, every fourth company (employing at least 20 persons) in the European Union (24%) work in a cluster-like environment characterized by close cooperation with other local businesses and strong ties to local business infrastructure. 

Based on US and European success a new movement started all across the globe to promote regional innovation clusters. The paradox is that while all agree that no where governments succeeded in creating an innovation cluster out of nothings, all nations are working to promote clusters and to make them more innovative. The search is for identifying a cluster that already exist but not passed the market test as hot spot though potential exists. Some factors are considered more important than others to determine the potential, like University linkages, Social Capital of cluster, Access to heterogeneous knowledge, Intervention by public authorities. 

In India, Innovation Cluster project was initiated at three places, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and NCR region and in this paper we present our learning on managing white spaces to make a cluster innovative.

Download paper from SSRN:

The learning from Indian pilot to build innovation clusters is captured in this 130 pages E Book. Topics covered:
  • Overview of Clusters in India
  • Global Models of Innovation
  • Technology Upgradation for Promoting Innovation in Indian Clusters
  • Implementation Challenges and Opportunities Analysis in the Indian Context
  • Proposed Implementation Framework at Cluster Level
For copies contact: