Govt to launch networking platform for start-ups in April

The new platform Virtual Start-up Hub will connect start-ups with investors, incubators and other service providers in the vicinity.

Come April, start-ups will have a Linkedin-like platform to discover and interact with investors, mentors, incubators and other service providers in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The new platform—an upgrade of Start-up India Hub launched in March last year—will intelligently connect start-ups, based on the sector they operate in and the area they are based out of, with investors that invest in those sectors or an incubator in the vicinity.

It will also have a feature that will show up relevant government schemes and incentive programme that the start-up is eligible for.

To be called Virtual Start-up Hub, the initiative by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) is being developed by Invest India and is expected to go live in the first week of April, a senior official in DIPP said.

For this, DIPP will invite all participants in the start-up ecosystem to register and create a profile starting Friday. Once a certain number of profiles are created, the portal will be integrated on Start-up India website and app, and replace Start-Up India Hub website that will be subsequently pulled down.

“We already have a list of investors, incubators, mentors, etc on Start-up India Hub. Now what we are building is more interactive,” Shailendra Singh, joint secretary at DIPP, said.

“We are collating all this information and making an intelligent system. So if a start-up wants to interact with a mentor, it will be able to do through the hub- it will be able to send and receive messages, and even fix appointments,” Singh said.

While the functionality for start-ups to access contacts and other resources already existed on Start-up India Hub, Singh said hurdles emerged when the information would become dated and had to be updated. Besides this, start-ups and entrepreneurs had to scout for information on various portals before finding the information they were looking for.

“The Hub will host start-ups, investors, funds, mentors, academia, incubators, accelerators, corporates, government bodies and more, with an aim to encourage collaboration among various stakeholders of the ecosystem to enable free flow of ideas, knowledge exchange and easier access to resources,” said Karan Anand, a senior assistant vice president at Invest India.

The portal, while serving as a business networking platform, will also integrate learning development modules like a step-by-step guide on how to incorporate a company, explainers for how to pitch to investors and templates for term sheets and other relevant documents useful for start-ups.

It will also have an active forum where participants will be able to hold discussion and learn about relevant events and conferences happening in the future.

Users will be given the capability to log onto the platform using their Facebook or Twitter accounts and the same account will used to access all government-run portals.

Anand also said Virtual Start-up Hub will support open API (application programming interface) architecture that will allow it to be integrated with outside systems and website.

“This may include other platforms under Digital India initiative, eminent Mentor and Investor networks, Incubator application management systems, etc. Going forward, based on the feedback received from the users of the Hub, we will work towards expanding the scope of integration with our potential partners,” he said.

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