Homegrown digital payments unicorn Paytm has announced plans to launch an incubator for startups, with the aim of facilitating the development of innovative tech solutions in India. Through its “Build for India” initiative, Paytm is gearing up to invite tech enthusiasts, including students and professionals, from across the country.
As part of the incubator programme, the digital wallet will assist developers in designing open source-based solutions and sharing these projects with the global tech community.
Commenting on the development, Paytm Senior Vice President Deepak Abbot said, “In our country, we use a lot of open source projects but do not contribute back enough to the developer community. We aim at correcting this by promoting new open source projects developed from India. We will also create communities around these projects to maintain them. With the Open Source Project Incubator, Paytm aims to give back to the developer community.”
According to reports, some of the virtual incubator’s key focus areas will be education, financial inclusion, digital lifestyle and emerging technologies such as machine learning, virtual reality and augmented reality.
Through the programme, Paytm’s premises will be used for mentoring sessions, bootcamps, hackathons, etc. Furthermore, participating candidates will be provided technology as well as design support from the country’s developer community.
To that end, the company is currently engaged in talks with student bodies and faculties of over 20 institutions, including the IITs, Delhi Technology University, Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology (NSIT), Amity University and BIT Mesra.
Although the incubator has not promised any immediate monetary support to the participants, promising solutions and developers will be recognised by Paytm. Of these, the top developers will likely be offered scholarships as well as employment opportunities.
The Noida-headquartered fintech giant recently introduced ‘Paytm Loyalty Points’ that can be accumulated by its users and can be used in all platforms and the offline merchant base of Paytm.
This came on the heels of the company’s recent announcement that its QR feature now allows offline merchants to accept unlimited payments directly to their bank accounts at 0% charge. As part of the announcement, the company also revealed plans to invest $77.5 Mn (INR 500 Cr) to conduct merchant training and awareness drives.
A Look At Some Of The Startup Incubators Launched Recently
In the last couple of months, a number of startup accelerators and incubators have been launched in the country. In September, for instance, Chinese accelerator and venture fund ZDream Ventures announced the launch of its incubator, ZDream Labs, in Gurugram. In the same month, Bengaluru-based Startups Club opened the doors of an incubator called SC Incubator (“SCIN”), which is focussed on incubating, investing and accelerating early-stage startups over a 12-month period.
A week later, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath announced that the state was gearing up to establish the biggest incubator centre in the country. The move followed the launch of a $156.2 Mn (1000 Cr) fund for helping startups in UP.
In the second week of October, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) announced the launch of a dedicated incubator programme for IoT-based startups. Dubbed as “IoT.IN”, the initiative was launched in collaboration with Napino Auto and Electronics and Mobile10X.
Around the same time, Chennai got its first women biotech incubator. As per reports, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Science & Technology inaugurated the incubator at Golden Jubilee Biotech Park for Women Society.
Last month, Jindal Stainless, in collaboration with Japanese VC firm ANEW Holdings, launched an accelerator programme for agritech startups. Located in Gurugram, the initiative is aimed at strengthening ties between the two countries. Towards the end of November, Pune-headquartered AutoNebula, India’s only incubator/accelerator that focuses on connected transport, secured a Category I AIF (alternate investment funding) of $7 Mn (INR 45 Cr).
Through its incubator programme, Paytm is not only looking to support promising tech startups and developers in the country but is also aiming to take advantage of the newly-developed solutions to strengthen its presence in the Indian market.