Note: This is a list of the most prominent tech startup incubators in India, based on editorial discretion and market acitivity alone. It’s not intended to be a ranking of incubators in any manner.
Speaking at the “Howdy, Modi” in the US in September 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi boasted about India’s tech industry growth and innovations. Modi emphasised that the tech startups and ecosystem will lead the country into the ‘Industry 4.0’ wave and India’s open business climate is suited for tech companies looking to expand overseas. Even an opinion poll, conducted by the World Economic Forum (WEF), noted that people from India are among the world’s most optimistic about technology.
Of course, much of this optimism comes from the fact that India has created a massive IT services industry. A report by IBEF says that the Indian IT industry contributes close to 7.7% to the country’s GDP. And startups have come through this rite of passage and joined the tech ecosystem in the past decade, backing up the IT industry and fueling the growth of Indian tech.
The Indian tech industry has grown to become one of the largest startup ecosystems in the world. In 2019 alone, Indian startups raised over $12.7 Bn and by 2021, startups are likely to cross the $15 Bn mark in terms of funding too, as per Datalabs by Inc42 predictions.
But it’s not just about funding. Startups in India have had the good fortune of having some of the best incubators in the world play a vital role in shaping ideas and guiding budding entrepreneurs. Incubators turn ideas and vision into scalable products or services by providing workspace, mentorship, technical support and access to investors and funding.
India’s incubator ecosystem is spread far and wide with presence across regions and states. From state-backed incubators to private incubators run by corporations and VCs, the Indian startup ecosystem is home to plenty of these enablers.
The Leading Tech Startup Incubators In India
- Founded: 2013Locations: Bengaluru, Noida, Gurugram, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Kochi and Vizag.Focus Areas: Sector-agnosticStartups Incubated: 400+Portfolio: Headway.ai, BombayPlay, Giscle, Canopy, Pasfar, among others
NASSCOM’s 10,000 Startups is a vision to incubate, fund, and provide ambient support to impact 10,000 technology startups in India by 2023. Nasscom’s incubator facilities are available in Bengaluru, Noida, Gurugram, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Kochi and Vizag.
The trade body wants to nurture budding and early-stage startups through the scale-up and growth stage. For this, Nasscom supports Indian startups through incubation programmes, global accelerators, access to mentors, angel investors and venture capitalists, and regularly conducts startup support workshops. It also facilitates collaboration between startups and corporations.
- Founded: 2006
Location: KeralaFocus Sector: Sector-agnosticStartups Incubated: 550+Equity Funding: $117 K (INR 12 Lakh)Portfolio: Codesap Technologies, Axen Software, Eatabhi, Kappian, GenRobotics
Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) was formerly known as ‘Technopark Technology Business Incubator’ and is a shining light when it comes to tech incubators in India. It is one of the best non-academic startup incubators and houses Asia’s largest IT Park called Technopark.
KSUM has been set up in a joint association with Technopark, Trivandrum and the department of science and technology (DST) of the Government of India. The incubator started its operations in 2007 and is among the best startup incubators in India spread over 20K sq ft. It supports and nurtures over 550 startups in the state of Kerala. KSUM has over 193 boot camps that have accommodated over 10K engineering students across the country.
- Founded: 2004Location: MumbaiFocus Sector: Sector-agnosticStartups Incubated: 150+Portfolio: IdeaForge, Mysuz, Voyager Infotech, Eisodus Networks, Collcraft Technology
Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE) is a broad spectrum tech business incubator hosted at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay. It incubates tech startups that are founded by students of IIT Bombay. SINE provides a maximum incubation support for three years.
Besides incubation, SINE also provides shared workspace, access to technical resources, facilitates business network, provides seed fund of upto $37K-44K (INR 25-30 Lakhs) to incubated companies. Unlike other incubation centers, SINE does not have a batch system, it accepts incubation proposals all year.
- Founded In: 2014Location: HyderabadFocus Areas: Sector-agnosticStartups Incubated: NAPortfolio: Lemon Flip Solutions, PuREnergy, WiSig Networks, OSure Care
DLabs incubator is set up by the Indian School of Business (ISB) to strengthen entrepreneurship and foster innovation in India. ISB supports DLabs through its faculty and research expertise by providing guidance, knowledge and mentorship to entrepreneurs whose ventures are selected for incubation.
- Founded: 2007Locations: Ahmedabad and PuneFocus Areas: Sector-agnosticStartups Incubated: 500+Portfolio: Ridlr, Banyan Nation, Zuvvu, Mobident, MedCall, InSolare, Agricx
The Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) is set up by the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad with support from Gujarat and the central Government. The incubator operates through an autonomous not-for-profit entity model and comprises IIM-A faculty, alumni, other individuals and partners with to boost entrepreneurship through incubation, academic initiatives and several other programmes.
- Founded: 2015Location: HyderabadFocus Areas: Sector-agnosticStartups Incubated: 550+Portfolio: Hug Innovations, AnyTimeLoan, Radikal Tribe, Banyan Nation
T-Hub works on Helix model and is a public/private partnership between the government of Telangana, some private players, and three academic institutes — IIIT H, ISB and National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR).
T-Hub wants to transform Hyderabad into a startup city and Telangana into a startup state. The incubator and accelerator was founded by the Government of Telangana, IIIT Hyderabad, Indian School of Business, National Academy of Legal Studies and Research. T-Hub’s campus is spread over an area of 70,000 sq. ft.
- Founded: 2010Location: New DelhiFocus Areas: IT, telecom, media and entertainment, edtech, healthtech, manufacturing, cleantech, retail and enterprise techStartups Incubated: N/APortfolio: HungryZone, PrettySecrets, StyleDotMe, Druva, Box8
Indian Angel Network (IAN) is one of the leading angel networks in the country. IAN has not only seed-funded various startups in the Indian ecosystem, but has also helped the budding innovations through incubations.
The incubator works with entrepreneurs in stabilising products and services for seed-stage and pre seed-stage startups. It also helps in developing strategic tie-ups with other Department of Science and Technology (DST) supported incubators, corporate, research and development (R&D) labs, and industry associations. Each of these ventures is incubated for over 18 to 24 months.
Founded: 2018Locations: 41 locations across IndiaFocus Area: BiotechnologyStartups Incubated: 674Portfolio: Synthera Biomedical, AdGenics LifeSciences, Evelabs Technologies
Bionest is a scheme established by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) to set up special incubators that caters to the needs of biotech startups — a landing space to test ideas, run operations, high-end instrumentations, mentorship and networking space. The initiative focuses on the innovation ecosystem in the biotechnology sector.
Bionest facilitates the establishment of bio incubators as a standalone entity or as a part of the academic institutions — IIT Kanpur, Ahmedabad University, BITS Pilani, and Mizoram University, among others. BIRAC supports 41 bio incubators across India that is spread over 441K sq ft. Bionest has supported 198 women entrepreneurs and created over 767 jobs.
- Founded: 2008
Location: NoidaFocus Areas: Sector AgnosticStartups Incubated: 100+Portfolio: ApnaCircle.com, Anduril Technologies, GVC Microsystems, ITCons e solutions, Circuitsutra Technologies, RITSAN Media ventures, Biziga Solutions, Heuristics
Amity Innovation Incubator is supported by the Department of Science and Technology of the Central government. The incubation center has been launched by Amity University to promote innovation in various sectors, which includes biotechnology as well. The biotech incubator has been recognised by Red Herring Global winner, Tata NEN, ‘The Power of ideas’ and NASSCOM Innovation Awarda.
- Founded: 2013Location: ChennaiFocus Areas: FintechStartups Incubated: 100+Portfolio: Finbox, Neoeyed, Paymatrix, Scalend, Tybo
The PayPal Incubator started off in 2013 as a sector agnostic accelerator and tech incubator programme, but gradually shifted its focus onto what it knows best — fintech. Paypal runs a five-month incubator programme for fintech startups. The incubated startups are offered technology and business mentorship, infrastructure support and networking opportunities from both investors and customers.