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Nasscom opens first start-up warehouse in Bangalore

India's IT industry representative body Nasscom Tuesday opened its first start-up warehouse in this tech hub for young entrepreneurs to innovate software products and solutions for the domestic and export markets.

"The Karnataka government is collaborating with us to create an ecosystem where budding entrepreneurs can incubate their tech start-ups in the product space," National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) president Som Mittal said on the occasion.

Located on the upscale old airport road in the eastern suburb of the city, the warehouse has about 10,000 square feet space with 70 seats to accommodate 25 start-ups. The entrepreneurs will have leased internet line, power backup and four meeting rooms.

"We are unveiling the country's first incubation centre with six start-ups, selected from about 4,000 applications received for our '10,000 start-ups programme' initiated recently to support entrepreneurs in their early stage of operation with angel funding," Mittal asserted.

The tech-savy state government is funding the cost of the space and facilities to kick-starting the operations.

Among the start-ups are Bookpad by co-founder Aditya Bandi and Tookitaki by co-founder Abhishek Chatterjee.

"As the country's leading technology hub for innovation and product development, we are committed to steer the growth of Bangalore by fostering entrepreneurial culture through policy initiatives and logistics," state IT secretary I.S.N. Prasad said.

The warehouse will enable entrepreneurs to create a micro-ecosystem where early stage startup founders can work together, share their learning and best practices with each other, Mittal observed.

Based on the industry response and success of the first warehouse, Nasscom plans to set up similar facility in other centres across the country, including Gurgaon and Noida in the NCR (national capital region), Hyderabad and Pune.

"The model for such a warehouse is to identify a central, well connected, plug-and-play working space and offer it start-ups for the first six months of their operations.

"We will also build an investor network to provide one-on-one mentorship for start-ups and their entrepreneurs," Mittal added.

According to Nasscom chairman K.K. Natarajan, within four months of inception, the programme received an overwhelming response from stakeholders, especially smart techies who want to move up the value chain in the product space for global market.

"In the light of demand for such incubation centres in other parts of the country, we will roll out the warehouse concept with the support of the respective state governments," Nasscom product council chairman Ravi Gururaj said.

The programme gave insights into the emerging tech entrepreneurship landscape in the country, as 23 percent of the responses were from Bangalore followed by 20 percent from National Capital Region (NCR).

"One in every five application came from smaller towns and about 70 percent of them are under 30 years, while 15 percent of them are women," Mittal recalled.

One-fourth of the entrepreneurs are keen to provide solutions in education and skill development space, 18 percent in retail vertical, 15 percent in media and 11 percent in healthcare.