THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : The Kerala Startup Mission’s ‘startup infinity’ programme, which aims to encourage NRIs to launch their own businesses or invest in startups in the state or abroad, is all set to expand its horizons. Last June, the first startup infinity centre was launched in Dubai. Now, KSUM is preparing to open centres in Belgium’s Brussels, Australia’s Sydney, and New Jersey, in the United States, this year, with the Dubai facility generating a good response.
In Dubai, 50 high-net-worth individuals (HNIs) have expressed interest in working with the infinity centre to start their own business or invest in innovative startups in Kerala.
All 50 have been issued membership cards, and will now receive eight months’ training in investing in the technology sector and launching IT startups. Monthly investor education programmes, called ‘Ignite’, have also been planned. Launchpads in different countries will be formulated to give startups global exposure. Once the training is completed, they can either invest in Kerala-based startups or launch their own business based in West Asia.
So far, ten startups based in the state have been shortlisted for working with the Dubai infinity centre. These are: Doctosmart, Zero Earth, Edwin Infotech, B4brain, Orditt Enterprises, Estro Tech Robotics, Ethlink Blockchain Services, Indo Grace MS, Live to Smile, and Algimate Dental Systems. A tripartite agreement has been signed with the first six startups.
“The infinity programme has had an exceptional response in Dubai. The basic aim of the programme is to provide global exposure to 15,000 startups in the state so that they can connect with various investor communities abroad. In fact, we are introducing innovative startups to HNIs so that they can invest in them or start a new business. Since this venture is based in Dubai, we are expanding our presence to Australia, the US, and Belgium so that our startups will receive more exposure and business,” said Anoop Ambika, CEO of KSUM.
Sources close to KSUM said the infinity centres in Brussels and Sydney will be operational in April, while the one proposed in New Jersey will begin by the end of this calendar year. The mission expects 100 HNIs each in Brussels, Sydney, and New Jersey to join the programme, which will be a shot in the arm for startups in the state. Last October, KSUM hosted a delegation of more than 70 startups from Kerala.
According to Ashok Kurian Panjikaran, KSUM’s head of business development and incubation, the mission conducted networking sessions with the investment community, comprising major industrialists, government authorities, and co-founders in the West Asia region, during a pitch event. “We have also made exposure visits to the three major startup ecosystems in the UAE, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. A soft-landing seminar will provide further insight into the ecosystems and their workings. The same procedures will be replicated at the other new centres as well,” he added.
As part of the infinity programme, sector-specific incubation programmes will also be developed to support startups focusing on different technologies such as enterprise software, fintech, agri-tech, and health technology. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan formally inaugurated the Dubai infinity centre in June 2023 in the presence of prominent Malayali HNIs and venture capitalists from the region.
KSUM is preparing to open the startup infinity centres in Belgium’s Brussels, Australia’s Sydney, and New Jersey, in the United States, this year
The infinity centres in Brussels and Sydney will be operational in April, while the one proposed in New Jersey will begin by the end of this calendar year