KOCHI: A co-working space, which doubles up as an accelerator for startups. That’s what inQ Innovation Global offers to do at its newly opened 6,500 sq.ft facility at Palarivattom, Kochi.“We will have three major groups viz., startups, creative community of architects etc., and enterprises,” says Irfan Malik, co-founder and director at inQ Innovation. The company is also different from other co-working or accelerators in that it connects the companies at its facility in Kochi with mentors and investors in Sydney, Dubai and Bengaluru, where it operates similar facilities.
Startups in Kerala move lock, stock and barrel to Bengaluru once it grows to a certain size as the city, considered the Silicon Valley of India, offers better growth prospects. “Our objective is to bring and connect the startups in Kochi with mentors, prospective investors and clients without them moving to bigger cities,” explains Malik.
Right now, inQ Innovation has three firms operating in Australia, one in Dubai and another three in India. “We hope to have about 20 startups in 6-12 months,” he says. The facility in Kochi is capable to expand 15,000 sq.ft, if the demand increases, he adds.
Rajesh Johny, co-founder, of inQ Innovation, said the company is in talks with two startups Fable Cart and Paschim, and both have agreed to operate its office from the co-working space at Palarivattom. “We also plan to get well-known seeds fund to invest in the startups at our facility. We at inQ will also invest up to $50,000 in a startup,” says Johny.
Malik points out that inQ Innovation is closely associated with TiE, KMA, Nasscom and Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) for building the infrastructure for startups to thrive in the state. He says across the globe, the tier-II cities are emerging as a sought after space for startups. “In a similar way, Kochi which is much cheaper in costs, can build on the advantages, provided we give them access to investors and clients. Our co-working space will do this,” says Malik.
Recently, Varadarajan Krishna, managing director, 100 Open Startups India, said “we will be working very closely with inQ Innovation on this project to not only help Indian start-ups bridge the gap to scale globally but also inculcate open innovation methodology within the corporate sector. Towards this end, the company will be running Executive Management Programs with Certification from Katz School of Business, University of Pittsburgh and Darden Business School, University of Virginia. 100 Open Startups will also provide Soft Landing services for Startups worldwide that want to enter markets in India, Middle East and Australia through InQ.