Starting up in India is not easy and it is harder for early stage entrepreneurs in tier 2 cities and towns, which generally do not have the infrastructure and support that is needed to foster entrepreneurship. While it is difficult to change this scenario overnight, India is seeing some progress as many educational institutions and organisations are setting up E-Cells, incubation centres and accelerators to help startups make it big. One such example is Manipal University Technology Business Incubator, located in the coastal university town of Manipal, Karnataka.
In the 1950s, Manipal was a barren hill with a few trees. Over the years, this hill was transformed to a university town by Dr T M A Pai, Founder of the Manipal Group. The town now has 21 universities imparting education in various streams such as engineering, health sciences, communication etc.
Manipal was most recently in the news when its alumni Satya Nadella and Rajeev Suri took over as CEOs of Microsoft and Nokia respectively. An area where Manipal had been lacking was entrepreneurship, as there were no noteworthy companies or startups that had started out of the university town. With about 15,000 students graduating every year in different disciplines, the university saw huge entrepreneurial potential in the region and decided to set up MUTBI in 2010 to cater to the needs of startups.
Manipal University Technology Business Incubator (MUTBI)
MUTBI was established in March 2010 with the aim of nurturing and developing innovation and entrepreneurial skills among the faculty and students, as well as people of the region. It is one of the 54 TBIs funded by the National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, to promote innovation driven start-ups in the Udupi District.
MUTBI offers the necessary infrastructure support and critical mentoring during the first three years of a venture. It also provides startups exposure and the needed networking among academic, R & D institutions, industries and financial institutions and also funding.
Startups incubated at MUTBI
In a span of five years, MUTBI has tasted success with new startups being incubated and others graduating and going out into the real world every year. These include:
(This list is a work in progress and will be updated soon)
ADD on GYAN Educational Services Pvt Ltd [Graduated]
Timeline of incubation: 2011-2014
Founders : Priyadeep Sinha, Sonali Gupta, Tanushree Sinha
Gyan Labs was the first student startup out of MUTBI in 2010. It started out as a hardware-based kinesthetic and experiential learning facility for school students of grades 3–9. Their USP was and is ‘funducation’ ie fun- education and they utilized the STEM learning pedagogy for school kids.
Though they were successful, they realized that it would be difficult to scale this in the long run and find the right product market fit and and hence decided to pivot. They currently help school kids by providing educational resources, programs, school finder platform for parents and organising their flagship event Kidovators Challenge.
“Starting up at MUTBI definitely helped us. We found very good mentors such as M Chandrasekaran and Luis Miranda who have supported the company in every way possible and still keep doing so. MUTBI also helped in the seed funding stage through various funds- like DST Seed and MSME Grant,” says Priyadeep.
Current situation: Gyan Lab is currently based in Bangalore and will be breaking even this financial year. They recently raised an undisclosed round of funding.
Website : Gyan Lab
Expiscor Technologies Pvt Ltd [Graduated]
Timeline of incubation: December 2012 to March 2014
Founders: Gopal Krishna, Manan Issar and Aviral Kedia
“Under MUTBI, we started Expiscor Technologies which helped us gain a lot of insights on doing business and also the basics of product development life cycles. It was a great experience and it certainly helped us start our venture Global 3D Labs after graduation from MUTBI. I would certainly ask my juniors to take the startup experience during college days,” says Gopal.
Current Situation: Global 3D lab, a startup in the 3D printing sector, has successfully developed three products and is working on two more. They have been able to cater to various reputed clients like Indian Railways and have installed 3D printers for other clients. They also recently launched Chocobot, which they claim is India’s first commercially available Chocolate 3D Printer.
Fracktal Works Pvt Ltd
Timeline of incubation: 2013-2014
Founders : V Vijay Raghav and Rohit Asil
Fracktal Works is a developer of a high resolution, affordable FDM type 3D printer series with a focus on product and service offerings in rapid prototyping.
“Every industry, eminent personality who would come to Manipal was taken to our lab/office at MIT. Such meetings were amazing for networking and have helped us make sales, or get us out of, and into, bad/good situations/predicaments. They also connected us with amazing mentors from Manipal Group and Aarin Capital who have helped us at every step, from filing for our patents to learning about the policies and procedures involved,” says Vijay.
Current Situation: The startup recently shifted base to Bangalore and the founders felt that they were able to make the transition smoothly as they did not have to start from scratch.
WLS Solutions Pvt Ltd
Timeline of incubation: March 2012-present
Founders : Gaurav A Prakash and Kunal Gandhi
WLS caters to the IT needs of startups ranging from website development to chalking out social media strategies. They also offer services in mobile application development, high end graphics and content writing.
“MUTBI helped us with getting our office up and running, the office space, all the infrastructure and support that a startup would need. We didn’t need funding but MUTBI was more than happy to grant us funds if we needed them,” says Gaurav.
Current situation: WLS is operating out of their Mumbai office with a few full timers onboard. The Manipal office is still active and mostly consists of students from Manipal University. They are also in the process of starting a branch in Delhi soon.
Papertree™ Creations India Pvt Ltd
Founders: Shashank Tulsyan, Siddharth Bhasin and Sumeen Garg
With the aim of keeping the environment clean and green, Papertree utilizes waste and recycled paper to manufacture paper and pencils.
Manipal Printronics Pvt Ltd
Founders : T Guatham Pai and Bharath Krishna Nayak
Manipal Printronics builds integrated photovoltaic and off-grid energy generation for disposable applications. Organic photovoltaics are relatively cheaper to fabricate using inexpensive and readily available coating and printing processes on flexible substrates.Their focus is on cost effective, light weight and flexible printed organic solar cells aimed at the development of OPV technology.
Website: Manipal Printronics
The Smart Techies Pvt Ltd (Satellite Centre - Jaipur)
Timeline of incubation : July 2012-Jan2014 and Aug-2014-Feb 2016
Founders : Aditya S G Vyas, Madhavi Vyas and Yash Sharma
Consisting of a team of technical consultants, engineers and developers, this startup creates products like electronic hardware systems and online software applications for clients in India, the Middle East and Europe. They offer solutions in both hardware and software of various levels of complexity, providing outsourcing services for electronics design for different markets. These include embedded devices, security devices, consumer electronics, solar industry, automation etc.
"We are located at MUTBI extension centre at Manipal University Jaipur. Being the first incubatee at MUJ has given us a special privilege of growing as the University progresses. The guidance provided by Dr. Sandeep Sancheti, President and Dr. BK Sharma, Dean(FOS) on technical matters has been an immense help in development of some of our best works till date." says Aditya.
Current situation : The startup opened another office in the centre of Jaipur city for easier access. They now count several large firms such as Bosch and Analog Devices as their clients. They are also integrating their hardware developments with their own custom online software to provide end to end solutions to their clients.
Website: The Smart Techies
Udupi Sri Krishna Technologies Pvt Ltd
Founders : Ramachandra Gambheer and Bhagyalakhsmi Kerekare
UdupiTech offers hand-craft creative web solutions with strategies They manufacture digital set top boxes designed with built in projector and TV tuner and also manufacture hospital bed automation controllers.
Apps2eaze Tech India Pvt Ltd
Founders : Daniel G DSouza, Abhishek K Bhaduri and Mayank Khandelwal
They provide application solutions to SMEs for Android, iOS and web and consultancy services to refine business plans and business reports. They also provide customised design solutions to SMEs and develop offshore electronic projects/components.
Firexit Software Pvt. Ltd.
Incubation Timeline: 2013-present
Founders : Vatsal Ambastha and Priti Ambastha
Firexit is a video game development for web and mobile platforms. They also provide porting and publishing services for multi-platform games.
MUTBI has provided hardware and network infrastructure along with office space. It has arranged frequent meetings, visits and reviews where we met experienced entrepreneurs and industry persons. They have also offered help with intellectual properties, incorporation and finance,” says Vatsal
Firexit has developed and published three games on the Android platform which recently crossed one million downloads. They also offer development services for clients and partners in Ukraine, Spain and Netherlands.
Current Situation: Their research on AI and computer vision is being put on an application in partnership with the university’s self-driving car project for the Mahindra Rise Challenge. They are working on the updates and Windows Phone versions of their existing games and developing the next game title set to release in February.
Website : Firexit
Dental Innovations India™ Pvt Ltd
Founders : Dr Kumar Siddharth, Dr Divya Mishra and Dr Ankit Jha
Started with the vision of revolutionizing the field of bio-dental technology in India, Dental Innovations India has developed four products : Optiqur, a light curing device; Portable DU, a foldable and reclinable dental chair; Tripartitie, an automatic ‘three-in-one system’ unit consisting of suction system, lighting source and mechanical retractor; and VDentist, a dentistry smart phone application.
Website : Dental Innovations India
Tonse Technologies Pvt Ltd
Timeline of incubation : 2014-2015
Founders: M Yunus R Tonse and Prashanth G Acharya
Tonse Technologies caters to IT needs by providing mobile application development, social media management, embedded systems development, web portals and content management services. It also provides services in the areas of renewable energy and VLSI design.
Yunus and Prashanth did their bachelors' at Sahyadri College of Engineering and Management. Yunus then went on to do his MSc at Manipal Centre for Information Sciences, Manipal University where he started Tonse Technologies.
"MUTBI helped by providing infrastructure, space and facilities and also assisted with the the seed funding and NSTEDB round" says Yunus.
Current situation : The startup is working on a a global data system and a security CRM at the moment.
Website: Tonse Technologies
Isa Technologies Pvt Ltd [Graduated]
Founders: Dr Prabhakar Sastri and Savita Sastri
TransInn Technologies Pvt Ltd . [Graduated]
Founders : Kiran V Cornelio and Christine Cornelio
TransInn provides services in IT/software services, print and digital media and mobile development so that SMEs can focus on their core business and outsource the rest. They aim to establish a new and more improvised Contract Research, Exploration and Deliverables Organization (CREDO).
Website : TransInn Tech
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- Student Startup
- satya nadella
- Priyadeep Sinha
- Manipal University
- Manipal Group
- Sonali Gupta
- Ankit Jha
- Fracktal Works
- Kunal Gandhi
- Gyan Labs
- Isa Technologies Pvt Ltd
- Smart Techies Pvt Ltd
- Expiscor Technologies Pvt Ltd
- TransInn Technologies Pvt Ltd .
- Manipal Printronics Pvt Ltd
- Udupi Sri Krishna Technologies Pvt Ltd
- Apps2eaze Tech India Pvt Ltd
- Tonse Technologies Pvt Ltd
- Dental Innovations India
- Global 3D Labs
- Firexit Software Pvt. Ltd.
- WLS Solutions Pvt Ltd
- Kiran V Cornelio
- Mayank Khandelwal
- Divya Mishra
- Priti Ambastha
- Abhishek K Bhaduri
- Luis Miranda
- Sumeen Garg
- Vatsal Ambastha
- Prabhakar Sastri
- Shashank Tulsyan
- Aviral Kedia
- Gaurav A Prakash
- Kumar Siddharth
- Siddharth Bhasin
- Manan Issar
- Krishna Nayak
- Rajiv Suri
- Gopal Krishna
- Christine Cornelio
- T. M. A. Pai