HYDERABAD: City-based entrepreneur Sreedevi Devireddy, CEO of not-for-profit enterprise SR Innovation Exchange (SRiX), was recently at JNTU Jagtial as part of a hunt for student innovators, who are invited to SRiX campus to create their prototypes.
Speaking about the incubator programme, Sreedevi says, “The duration of the student internship is two months, from May to July. This time, we are looking for an intake of 80 students.”
Founded in March 2018, the incubator programme ‘Sprint’ aims to train innovators and provide all assistance with their prototypes, along with ways to design and bring it in the market.
About the uniqueness of their project, she adds, “Today, very few incubators in the country have what is needed for a product startup. We have such a facility. For a startup, product development cost is prohibitively high. SRiX felt it should help innovators, along the lines of ‘Catapult zones’ found in UK. We have an IoT / ESDM (Electronic System Design and Manufacturing) Centre of Excellence where all startups related to connected devices can use our services, in-house mentors, fine tune their product and launch it in the market. We also have our own Makers Space, where there are laser cutters, 3D printers, lathe and milling machines, etc. which aid in product development”.
Interestingly, while the Centre has been giving National Entrepreneurship Awards for the last four years, Sreedevi is the only woman who received the “Ecosystem Builder” Award in November 2019 for her contribution to innovation and entrepreneurship, the first for a person from the Telugu-speaking states.
What must be done to further promote the startup culture? Sreedevi emphasises, “India is at the cusp of growth. Our demographic dividend is our strength. It is time for us to focus on creating more entrepreneurs. India has the potential to become the innovation capital of the world.
All these years, we have focussed on the service sector, especially the Information Technology industry. For India to become a product-oriented economy, entrepreneurship skills must be included in the curriculum and taught from school-level itself. Students must be taught to become job creators, not just job seekers.”
On the steps to be taken by the Centre, she informs, “The product development cost of any product startup is very high, and the phase lasts for two to three years depending upon the sector and technology. Startups will have zero revenue in those initial years. The Centre must provide adequate tax benefits to startups, which will enable them to grow further and at the same time, provide an incentive to entrepreneurs.”
Lauding the efforts of the state government, Sreedevi points out, “In Telangana, the basic infrastructure is concentrated in the capital city. Secondary cities like Warangal are trying to join the league. However, Telangana is empowering Tier-II cities with more infrastructure and this has been creating more opportunities for the local innovators in the past few years.”
It is a startup in the electric vehicle domain which is developing cost efficient battery swapping stations and swappable batteries for use in two-wheelers and three-wheelers. They have raised an undisclosed amount of funding from private investors in the seed round.
Varaha Innovation Studios
Varaha Studios is into building solutions through next-generation human computer interfaces such as AI, AR/VR/XR. Varaha Studios core product, WonderShop (an AI-enabled m3D/mixed reality application) is reportedly the world’s first mixed-reality virtual trial room to solve the returns problem for all e-commerce stores globally. It is currently on a pilot run mode in some popular e-commerce stores.
It provides an out-of-the-box IoT platform that is developed to collect, process and visualise the IoT data for agriculture, energy, manufacturing and oil & gas industries.
— Shyam Yadagiri