The Government’s MeitY Startup Hub (MSH) has launched a startup programme in collaboration with Meta to help early-stage startups in the Extended Reality (XR) technology space. XR includes Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR).
The programme aims to accelerate India’s contribution towards building the foundations of the metaverse and nurturing the development of XR technologies in the country. It will encourage innovators in sectors like Education, Healthcare, Gaming and Entertainment, Agritech & Climate Action, and Tourism & Sustainability.
The XR Startup Program, launched on 13 September, includes an Accelerator and a Grand Challenge. Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that it is an important step in achieving the Prime Minister’s vision of making the next 10 years as India’s ‘Techade’.
“The PM’s vision was that India would move from being a consumer of technologies to being a producer and architect of emerging and future technologies. Immersive technologies like XR have the power to transform the digital landscape and can have significant economic benefits for the country,” said Chandrasekhar.
Programme to support 40 early-stage startups
The Accelerator will nurture and foster 40 early-stage startups through a six-month programme. Each startup will get a grant of Rs 20 lakh, mentorship by industry experts and researchers, and opportunities to participate and present at relevant industry events.
The Grand Challenge will help these innovators develop their products from the R&D phase to Minimum Viable Products (MVPs). Eighty shortlisted innovators will attend a bootcamp. Of these, 16 will be given further grants of Rs 20 lakh and help to develop their prototypes.
This programme will especially help young startups from Tier II and Tier III cities.
“Young Indian startups, especially from Tier II and III cities, will play a significant role in emerging tech areas like Web 3.0, blockchain, AI, metaverse etc, and will shape the future of technology and the internet for India and the world,” added Chandrasekhar.
“India is one of the most vibrant markets due to its tech talent, entrepreneurial spirit, and fast growing startup ecosystem. Technologists from Tier 2 or 3 cities in India will shape the future of Metaverse,” said Joel Kaplan, vice president, Global Policy, Meta.
According to a recent study by Analysis Group, the metaverse could contribute 4.6% or an equivalent of $240 billion to India’s GDP by 2031.
“India will play a pivotal role in defining future technologies. Decisions and investments made here in India now shape global discussions on how technology can deliver more economic opportunity and better outcomes for people. It is critical that we help to create an ecosystem that will enable India’s tech startups and innovators to build the foundations of the metaverse,” Kaplan added.
The MeitY Startup Hub (MSH), launched in May 2019, aims to serve as an integrating platform for startups and incubators. According to the government, it has supported more than 3,000 startups and plans to enable more than 10,000 in the next three to five years.
Edited by Divya Sethu