A workshop on innovators on Day 3 of CII Agro Tech India 2018 that’s taking place at Parade Ground, Sector 17, Chandigarh, proved to be a very enlightening talk on industry partnerships that are helping new and innovative businesses succeed. With the country witnessing a surge in start-ups in the past few years, corporate incubation has become the latest buzzword.
Throwing light on the topic were eminent personalities who are backing technology like never before, including Muniraju Pulipalyam, CTO-In-Residence, Microsoft for Startups; Issac Emmanuel, Head, Industrial Marketing and Advocacy, Covestro India Private Limited and Rakesh Gehlot, Head, Business Strategy and Planning, Srinivasa Farms.
If there are two things that corporates look for in start-ups, they are innovation and the use of technology. Driving home the point was Mr Muniraju, who said running a start-up is all about doing one thing really, really well. “We focus on start-ups and pick products that we can transform to businesses,” he said. Muniraju advised young entrepreneurs to think on terms of what they’re doing differently that others would find hard to replace or build themselves. “If you do that, it means you’re innovating. It entails solving a problem that people don’t yet know exists,” he added. Muniraju was of the belief that an entrepreneur’s safety net is the depth of their product. “We provide start-ups with access to technology and customers. We look for people who simplify life for man on the street with simple technology. We look for extending Microsoft assets to drive joint success,” said Muniraju.
The symbiotic relationship between corporates and start-ups, said Rakesh, was explained by the capital, industry expertise, networks and relationships and administration support that the latter bring, while the former bring innovation. His venture, Srinivasa Farms, for instance, invested in a start-up called ‘The Egg Factory’ for creating synergies to promote innovative egg-based products. The India Poultry sector, he added, was valued at Rs. 1150 billion in FY2017 and the sector is growing at an annual rate of about 8%, proving it to be a safe bet to invest in in the coming times.
Issac, meanwhile, said their company believed in sustainable innovation, such as urban cold storage to help reduce wastage and losses for the farmers. “We invested in a Pune-based start-up called ‘Mr Carrot’, which places smaller cold storage units (weighing one or two tonnes) at strategic locales in neighbourhoods to help provide clean, hygienic food. The investment is as low as Rs. 1 or 2 lakh,” he informed.