MeitY Partners Meta To Support 40 XR Startups, Announces Grant Of INR 20 Lakh Each

MeitY Partners Meta To Support 40 XR Startups, Announces Grant Of INR 20 Lakh Each

SUMMARY

Backed by Meta’s $50 Mn XR Programs and Research Fund, the accelerator will focus on building technological capabilities for the Metaverse

Meta also unveiled ‘Grand Challenge’ that will encourage and support early-stage startups from areas such as education, healthcare, gaming and entertainment, among others

Indian startups, especially from Tier-II, III cities, will play a significant role in emerging tech areas like Web3.0, blockchain, AI, Metaverse: Rajeev Chandrasekhar

The MeitY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) Startup Hub on Tuesday (September 13) formally announced its partnership with social media giant Meta to launch an accelerator program to support extended reality (XR) startups in India.

The event was attended by Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar and Meta’s vice president of global policy Joel Kaplan.

Backed by Meta’s $50 Mn XR Programs and Research Fund, the XR Startup Program will focus on building technological capabilities for the Metaverse. The program will also work in the domain of skilling startups and will help shape the ecosystem for emerging technologies in the country such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

“It is also an important milestone in the area of Metaverse which is an important part of the emerging future of the internet. I look forward to the collaboration with Meta and I hope it provides the necessary impetus towards fueling the growth of investments in future technologies in line with the government vision for making India a trillion-dollar economy by 2025,” said Chandrasekhar.

Under the scheme, 40 early-stage XR startups will receive a grant of INR 20 Lakh each. The startups will also be provided mentorship on a range of domains from research and development phase to developing workable products.

The initiative will be implemented by four institutions – IIT Delhi; International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad; Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology, Rangpo; and Gujarat University.

Besides, the social media giant in collaboration with MeitY also unveiled the ‘Grand Challenge’ that will encourage and support early-stage startups from areas such as education, healthcare, gaming and entertainment, agritech, tourism and sustainability, among others. 

The Grand Challenge will initially shortlist 80 startups for a bootcamp and will subsequently select 16 of them for a grant of INR 20 Lakh each to help them develop minimum viable products.

“The accelerator and the grand challenge will also support startups and innovators with establishing customer connections, partnership opportunities and fundraising among other things,” the ministry said in a statement. 

Adding to this, Meta’s Joel Kaplan said, “India will play a pivotal role in defining future technologies. Decisions and investments made here in India now shape global discussions on how technology can deliver more economic opportunity and better outcomes for people. It is critical that we help to create an ecosystem that will enable India’s tech startups and innovators to build the foundations of the Metaverse.”

Touting the government’s Digital India programme, Chandrasekhar said that India is no longer going to be a consumer of technology but will become a leader in producing emerging technologies.

“Young Indian startups, especially from Tier-II and Tier-III cities, will play a significant role in emerging tech areas like Web3.0, blockchain, AI, Metaverse etc. and will shape the future of technology and the internet for India and the world,” the MoS added. 

The partnership is the work of MSH which has as many as 3,161 startups and 473 incubators under its tutelage. 

Meanwhile, the ministry has ramped up its focus on emerging technologies and shored up efforts to spur the overall early-stage startup ecosystem. Earlier this month, MeitY said that it plans to support more than 10,000 startups in the next 5-6 years under its GENESIS (Gen-Next Support for Innovative Startups) programme. 

The government also launched SAMRIDH (Startup Accelerators of MeitY for Product Innovation, Development and Growth) last year to provide support and funding to early-stage startups. 

According to a report, the global augmented reality systems market is projected to soar to $88.4 Bn by 2026.

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