We spoke to Murali Vivekanandan, Founder, Ideas2IT about his EiR programme for supporting Tech Startups.
How does Ideas2IT’s EiR programme help the founding of startups?
The Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR) programme at Ideas2IT follows the model currently known as the startup studio model. Start-up studios are more prevalent in mature markets, while in India, it is still a largely under-explored concept.
In the Ideas2IT EiR programme, deep – tech product ideas are validated, developed and spuns off as separate companies. We seek the right people (they could be seasoned entrepreneurs or suitable employees within or outside Ideas2IT, who can build on these ideas and steer these companies with a long-term vision for growth and scalability. We support them with ideation, resources, talent pool, go-to-market strategies, raising venture capital and more throughout the process. In our EiR programme, Entrepreneurs enjoy all the rewards and none of the risks of the startups or the fear of failing.
What is your criteria for shortlisting the ideas?
All ideas that are developed as part of the EiR programme are primarily born in-house, but we also have the scope to undertake ideas that are brought to us by entrepreneurs. In-house, these ideas could come from the management which comprises highly experienced IT professionals, or, even come from our team junior members – there is no boundary of designation or a business function as we encourage everyone to innovate.
What we are interested to see is whether that idea has the potential to grow and scale, disrupt the current order and impact our world. We utilize our extensive experience to carefully evaluate the various ideas, we distinguish those that can flourish in the long term from those which can only gather short term mileage. With our collective decision to take these ideas forward as individual companies, we ensure that the startups would not have the risk of failing.
How did you come up with this idea of the EiR programme which fuels an innovation mindset? Was this idea primarily to serve the innovations in the IT field?
Before I founded Ideas2IT, I was working with Google in the Silicon Valley and during my time there, I came across many different start-ups. With Ideas2IT, I realised that services-based companies have a comparatively slower and very linear growth. I conceptualised the EiR programme with an aim to launch more product companies and to break this common notion that IT Services companies cannot build great product companies. I wanted to build a little tribe of creators who wish to make an impact on the world, and enable them to execute it. And the successful start-ups who are part of the program speak volumes about how far we have been able to achieve that.
What kind of technology Startups are a part of the studio?
All the startups are technology-driven and we believe they have the potential to become the next generation of companies shaping the future. Our focus has been on the use of new-age technology such as AI and ML, Cloud Native, IIoT to build products that can create impact in the world. So far, every start-up from the EiR program has gone on to raise VC funds. Some of them are –
- IdeaRX – A young healthcare startup and the fastest-growing group purchasing companies for hospitals in south India. It is currently helping over 50+ hospitals acquire critical medical supplies during the Corona crisis.
- Pipecandy – A market intelligence platform with insights on million+ online retailers. Funded by the founders of Infosys, amongst others.
- Element5 – Uses RPA to tackle operational inefficiencies and bottlenecks to post-acute care. Recently closed a funding round with over-subscription.
What kind of technical support do you extend to the start ups?
Our handpicked entrepreneurs start work only on ideas that are validated. Alternatively, they can bring their own ideas and the studio will help them jump start it. We are open to their vision and how they see the world.
They also receive all the support that an early startup needs. Right from day one, seasoned co-founders are ready to guide and mentor. The entrepreneurs have access to world-class resources including seed funds, premium engineering talent, design, HR, legal aid, financial and compliance advisory. We ensure that the companies reach a point where they can get VC-funded as well. On the other hand, entrepreneurs are responsible for early-stage testing, building relationships with stakeholders, generating client leads and growing engagement and so on.