With an aim to boost the deeptech startup ecosystem in India and promote tech innovation in the Indian IT sector, MeitY Startup Hub has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the IPO-bound payments platform Paytm. The collaboration will provide a platform of knowledge series, experts, resources, and a large community of stakeholders to help deeptech startups scale.
The collaboration will focus on SaaS and app-based startups built on deeptech such as AI/ML cloud computing, blockchain, etc. It will provide mentorship, tech assistance and go-to-market strategies in partnerships with incubators, accelerators, investors.
Praveen Sharma, senior vice president, Paytm stated that the partnership will bring numerous benefits for the Indian startup ecosystem. “It will aid Indian startups by providing them access to mentorship, networking and business opportunities. We believe the collaborative approach will prove truly beneficial for Indian startups.”
A startup toolkit will be given to participants to address payments, distribution and growth challenges. A unicorn talk series will aim to inspire, mentor and guide startups to build unicorns out of India.
India has churned out 63 unicorn startups with Zetwerk entering the club in the last week. But, there are only 10 SaaS Unicorn startups in the list of 63. According to Inc42+ estimates, deeptech startups raised $136.14 Mn in 2019, representing a drop for the nascent deeptech sector. The sector had managed to enter among the top 10 choices for investors in the first half of 2020 but was phased out of the list by the end of the year.
India is also currently in its nascent stages of the AI revolution and according to a report by Accenture, when adopted with SaaS products, AI has the potential to add $957 Bn, or 15% of India’s current gross value to the economy, in 2035. The pandemic also led to an increased usage of AI and robotics in healthcare and agritech leading to increased adoption of AI in the SaaS B2B space. An interesting fact that emerged over the last 2-3 years is that 18% of all startups now leverage deeptech.
In an article, Inc42 outlined the need for support from industry titans and the government to mould deeptech startups in India. The MoU between Paytm and MSH is a strong indicator of the provision of much-need support to deeptech startups in India.