WATCH: Startups can fuel hardware ecosystem’s growth, says Intel India’s operations director
Intel has one mission with its Maker Lab - to fuel hardware innovation and entrepreneurship in India.
Incepted in 2015, Intel India Maker Lab has till now backed 50+ hardware and systems startups by providing space, infrastructure, access to lab equipment, and connect to mentors.
Along the way, it has partnered with the likes of IIT's Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the government's Department of Science and Technology, and helped 60 startups convert their ideas into companies. The lab was also the birthplace of two very popular companies - Smartron, India’s first global OEM and IoT brand, and Skylark, a Bengaluru-based enterprise drone services company.
In a video interview with YourStory, Jitendra Chaddah, Senior Director - Operations and Strategy, Intel India, reveals how a lot that corporates and businesses can learn from startups, the value startups build, why India has to reduce its balance of payments by reducing its hardware bill, and his role as chairman of the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA).
Intel’s Maker Lab aims to make India “self-sufficient in electronics”. According to TiE, there are over 1,400 IoT startups in the country. However, a closer look at the numbers reveals that the Indian IoT industry is very nascent. Data from the Ministry of Commerce reveals that India imported $55.6 billion of electronics in FY19 as compared to $51.5 billion in FY18.
The National Electronic Policy 2019 wants the consumer product ecosystem to be part of Make in India (MII) and wants India to become a global hub for Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM). These clusters hope to create an enormous value; the government has an ambitious target of $500 billion in value by 2025.
Jitendra C, Intel
The role startups play
With the government setting ambitious targets, it’s clear that startups play a vital role in developing intellectual property.
“Startups in hardware have to understand not just the packaging of the software and the networking; they also have to think about the supply chain and distribution while building a hardware company," Jitendra says.
He calls for healthy collaboration with Chinese and Taiwanese manufacturers to make this possible.
Jitendra adds that India needs “a different ecosystem to promote the hardware industry”. “It takes time to build hardware products and to test them before the product is released. So they need the support of capital that can be patient with the idea,” he says.
According to Grand View Research, the Electronic Development Fund Policy has been approved under the Make-in-India initiative, with the intention of rationalising a transposed duty structure. Another effort, such as the Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (M-SIPS) has been introduced to provide a capex subsidy of nearly 15-20 percent. Consumer electronics manufacturers are set to elevate investments in production, distribution, and R&D in the next few years.
Grand View Research says the market for consumer electronics will be $50 billion by 2022. With consumer demand rising, startups can help consumer electronics manufacturers up their hardware game, including an unexplored area - manufacturing smart machines for industry.
Intel believes Indian startups can play a major role in the hardware industry's rise.