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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.