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Public sector oil and gas company Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) has agreed to provide grants and investments to two promising startups, managed by IITM-K at Maker Village. The startups are being incubated under Project Ankur, which aims to provide financial help to new businesses that show a considerable amount of traction.

The two startups are EyeROV Technologies and Resnova Technologies.

As part of the new initiative, BPCL  will facilitate the development of an underwater drone created by EyeROV Technologies and a cattle milking machine that Resnova Technologies is building to enable early detection of dairy cattle diseases.

BPCL has also signed an MoU with Kerala Startup Mission to provide aid and investments to  startups from various technology domains. Additionally, it has extended its R&D facilities, expertise and network to the startups.

Commenting on the development, Saji Gopinath, CEO of Kerala Startups Mission said, “It is great that companies like BPCL are coming forward to support startups in the country. KSUM would be actively working with initiatives like Project Ankur to help startups reach market faster”

Aravind Krishnaswamy, General Manager, BPCL, said, “Compared to other states, Kerala has a very good system for the promotion of startup cultures. Projects like the KSUM and Maker Village are bringing the best out of the startups. When BPCL was looking for the best ideas to grant funds to, Kerala came into the picture and we were happy to support these deserving ideas.”

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BPCL and the Kerala Startup Mission are working together to find promising new startups in the state. Through the Ankur Scheme, they have allotted $3.9 Mn (INR 25 Cr) to fund the promising ventures that are selected.

“It is a moment of pride for Maker Village that our startups should be the first to be chosen by BPCL for funding through Project Ankur. These innovations are an example of the great work that is being done by our startups and an indicator of more such ideas that will emerge in the future”, said Prasad Balakrishnan Nair, CEO, Maker Village.

A Look At The Two Selected Startups

EyeROV Technologies: EyeROV is an underwater drone technology that performs visual inspection/survey of submerged structures. It is a cost effective underwater intervention that can work at depths of up to 50 m. EyeROV is a light rover that can be easily controlled using a laptop/joystick. A camera fitted on to the underwater drone gives live video feed of the underwater environment.

The startup is currently incubated at Maker Village, Kerala. It was founded by electrical engineer and IIT Delhi graduate Johns Mithai and IIT Madras alumnus Kanappa Palanniapan.

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Resnova Technologies: Resnova specialises in developing custom electronic products and special purpose machines to cater to the myriad needs of the clients. The company designs and develops solutions in the sectors of advanced electronics, robotics and automation and Internet of Things (IOT), etc.

In the last couple of months, the Kerala government has launched a number of initiatives to bolster fledgeling startups in the state. In August, for instance, the Government of Kerala notified state departments to approach startups for developing mobile apps to be used in their official projects.

Later in September, the state’s government announced that it was looking to create a fund of funds for startups. At the time,Saji Gopinath, Chief Executive of the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) confirmed the reports, stating that the government was planning to earmark a corpus of about $78 Mn (INR 500 Cr) for Kerala-based startups over the next three years.

Last month, the Kerala government also announced that it would be extending financial support for startups in the state by two more years to a total of seven years.

With PSUs like Bharat Petroleum coming forward to foster entrepreneurial developments in Kerala, the future for startups and innovation looks bright in the region.

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