Facebook announces accelerator programmes to boost tech innovation in India


Facebook launches India Innovation Hub and School of Innovation to help tech startups, developers and students in India play with VR and usher in the future. 

Facebook, in partnership with T-Hub, is launching a tech-centric accelerator, India Innovation Hub, which will work with 10 VR-focused startups to accelerate their business in new and innovative ways. A part of Facebook's effort to augment India’s digital economy, the series of accelerator programmes will benefit Indian tech startups, developers and students to build products using emerging technologies like VR.

(L) Satyajeet Singh, Head of Platform Partnerships, Facebook India and South Asia. (R) A section in the India Innovation Hub

Having made the announcement at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad, Facebook explained that each startup will get access to training, mentors, workshops, research and Facebook’s VR Innovation lab as part of the six-month accelerator programme.

Satyajeet Singh, Head of Platform Partnerships, Facebook India and South Asia, said, “At Facebook, we are committed to investing in the future of India’s digital economy. We know from experience how fast great ideas can thrive when startups are given the opportunity to grow and learn from each other.” 

Applications for the Innovation Hub programme will open in January 2018, and the first accelerator programme will begin in early 2018.

To help foster future talent in emerging technologies, Facebook is also introducing the School of Innovation programme in partnership with Startup Village Collective. Ten student teams will be selected from millions of engineering students across the country to build a next-generation product idea using VR. The teams will participate in a 20-week programme that includes online and in-person learning to flesh out their ideas, build a low and high-fidelity prototype, and finally launch in the market.

Sanjay Vijayakumar, Chairman of Startup Village Collective, said, “For India to be a technology powerhouse, our engineering talent needs a transformational change from theoretical classroom projects to building practical industry products. Through our partnership with Facebook for the School of Innovation programme, we will enable this transformation for our universities, faculty and students to learn how to build real products and create positive change in the world around us.”

So far, more than 60,000 small businesses have been trained by Facebook in India, including 12,000 women entrepreneurs, through Boost and SheMeansBusiness. Facebook’s network and reach have ensured that more than 250 million people from around the world are connected to a business in India. In fact, Facebook’s new offering, Workplace, also saw India become its largest market.

Jay Krishnan, Chief Executive Officer, T-hub, said, “We encourage Facebook's efforts to support and mentor startups to explore the possibilities of future technologies such as VR.”