Wednesday, May 4, 2016

IIT Bombay Technology Business Incubator SINE Completes 12 Years

SINE- Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship - the technology business incubator hosted by IIT Bombay, has just celebrated 12 years of its existence. What started as an IT incubation pilot project was formally set up as a non-profit society on April, 15, 2004, to incubate start-ups in all technology domains to address the lack of an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Today, IIT Bombay has a number of entrepreneurship -related initiatives, such as the DS Centre for Entrepreneurship, which offers formal academic courses; eCell- a student-led centre, and several RandD centres aimed at translational research. All these together with start-ups, entrepreneurs, investors, service experts outside the campus, rapidly are merging into what is being established as the “Powai Valley”. And SINE has today grown into a leading academic-linked incubator in India.

SINE has been the launch pad for over 80 product-based entrepreneurial ventures out of IIT-Bombay since its inception. More than half have graduated from incubation after becoming revenue-generating companies, several got acquired by larger companies, and some have also failed. Many have raised one or more round of funding, offering exit opportunity to SINE’s equity stakes in the companies. SINE currently incubates 27 start-ups, and more are in its pipeline. Current start-ups are in varied areas such as fin-tech, med-tech, clean-tech, big data, security, media.

Entrepreneurship environment for technology product based start-ups is still far from being mature in India. To address this gap, SINE has focused on product and intellectual property- based technology start-ups. Out of the total start-ups incubated so far, 25 companies are direct spin-offs of IIT Bombay technologies, and 6 are focused on social innovation via technology. 22 are founded or closely mentored by IIT-B faculty.  Nearly half of its companies have been able to raise multiple round of funding, several have crossed valuation in multiple of 100 cr., and few have achieved or close to achieving revenue of Rs.100 cr.

 Sharing her sentiments at the anniversary celebration, Poyni Bhatt, COO, SINE says, "the entrepreneurship initiative started in early 2000 with SINE at IIT Bombay, has now become mainstream not only within the campus, but also influenced the environment around in Powai, Mumbai. The entrepreneurial risk appetite amongst students and faculty-interest in technology commercialization via start-ups have exponentially increased over the years. "

SINE offers incubation support for up to 3 years. Incubated companies get workspace, seed support, easy access to IIT Bombay labs, technical and IP resources, business planning and mentoring, and expert services on softer terms. Association with the incubator also brings visibility and credibility for the startups, because of the due diligence and validation that happens prior to admission. SINE also offers prototype support to students in terms of money as also setting the first tinkerer’s lab at IIT Bombay.

The incubator is set to expand the depth and width of its activities. It aims to form partnerships with corporate entities as institutional mentors and financiers under their CSR initiatives. Plans are underway to enhance its capacity to house 50 plus start ups, and set up domain specific programmes in sectors such as bio/med tech and hardware products.

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