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Ecosystem Enablers For Hardware And IoT Innovators: A Look At 25+ Makerspaces And Accelerators In India

Ecosystem Enablers For Hardware And IoT Innovators: A Look At 25+ Makerspaces And Accelerators In India

An Overview Of The Major Forces Fostering Innovation In Hardware And IoT

History is fundamentally a narrative of innovation, be it the invention of the wheel or the creation of computers. Innovation is the lifeforce of the ongoing global technological revolution. It drives economic growth and progress. In the words of Harold S. Geneen, innovation is also one of the five essential skills for entrepreneurial success. In recent times, the responsibility of promoting innovation, especially in hardware, has been shouldered to a great extent by a fast-growing network of ecosystem enablers, including makerspaces and startup accelerators all across the world for IoT and hardware innovators.

For the uninitiated, makerspaces are collaborative communities inside schools, libraries and other public/private entities. Makerspaces serve as platforms for makers, hobbyists, technologists, and enthusiasts to come together, exchange ideas and innovate. Makerspaces and accelerators also offer mentoring services to students and professionals in a variety of practical domains, including robotics, drones, 3D printing, coding and woodworking, among others.

Startup accelerators play the role of nurturer, offering support to early-stage, growth-driven companies. These accelerators provide ready-access to a well-connected community of experts, mentors, investors, and advisors. Startup accelerators facilitate the growth of fledgling startups through education, mentorship, and financing. Among the 60 most active startup accelerators in India are such names as 500 Startups, 50K Accelerator, Appy Hours, Jaarvis Accelerator, DesignGild, Intel India Maker Lab, and others.

Central to the concept of makerspaces and startup accelerators  is collaboration. This brings us to the next question. What makes collaboration among innovators so important? According to Canadian author and consultant Don Tapscott, “Collaboration is important not just because it’s a better way to learn. The spirit of collaboration is penetrating every institution and all of our lives. So learning to collaborate is part of equipping yourself for effectiveness, problem solving, innovation and life-long learning in an ever-changing networked economy.”

Although late to the scene, the Indian startup ecosystem is slowly opening up to the idea of makerspaces and startup accelerators for hardware and IoT innovators. To provide readers an overview of the fast-evolving segment, we at Inc42 have compiled a list of the top makerspaces and hardware accelerators currently existing in the country.

The Top 21 Makerspaces In India

Workbench Projects

Location: Bengaluru

Equipment Available: Laser cutter, CNC router, vinyl cutter, 3D printers, oscilloscopes, function/signal generators, power supplies, electronics prototyping tools, fully-equipped carpentry workshop, arc welding machine, filming and documentation (tripod, DSLR, lenses, recorder, mic, GoPros), basic metal working tools, air Compressor, 3D Scanner, Well Equipped Inventory for Project Requirements, Industrial Sewing machines, integrated PA system, HD projector, LPG gas and gas-based attachments for job work, basic biohacking lab.

Facilities Offered: High-speed Internet, coworking zones, meeting room, social space, smoking bay, innovation management, marketing solutions, capacity building, skilling, R&D consultation, critical curation, corp outsourcing, customised programs, build operate and transfer, hardware incubation, prototyping and job work, policy and advocacy, tech and startup events, strategy consulting, trainings, mentorship.

Community Strength: 80 members monthly (40 full monthly, 40 floating), 500 unique footfalls every month, 10,000 plus engaged per year, 15,000 subscribers in the email database.

Timings: 9.30 am – 8 pm (open all days)

Membership Starts At: $50/ INR 3000+ taxes per month

A Brief Overview: Founded in 2013, Workbench Projects is a coworking, prototyping and hardware innovation hub that provides state-of-the-art facilities for makers, entrepreneurs and innovators to come together and share ideas. It works to create a nurturing DIY culture among enthusiasts. The platform aims to become an intermediary channel for corporates, governments, startups, SMEs and MSEMs to connect and collaborate.

Project DEFY

Location: Bengaluru

Equipment Available: Garage tools, refurbished laptops, Arduino, classroom supplies.

Facilities Offered: Applied learning, community training, ‘nooks’ as makeshift classrooms.

Community Strength: Project DEFY boasts a social reach of over 2,688 people.

Timings: Normal school hours

Membership Starts At: Non-Profit Organisation

A Brief Overview: Standing for “Design Education for Yourself,” Project DEFY is a non-profit organisation that works to make quality education accessible to people from lower economic groups. Disillusioned with his job as an IT engineer, Abhijit Sinha decided to do something for the greater good. As the founder of Project DEFY, Sinha believes that “learning happens naturally” and that “information is available freely.” Unlike the other makerspaces listed in this article, Project DEFY takes an innovative, new approach to promote applied learning. The organisation creates makeshift classrooms, which they call “nooks,” with just 10 refurbished laptops, an Internet connection, a simple tool-set in a 500 to 1,000 square-feet physical space. Several of these nooks are currently situated in Bengaluru, Mangaluru, and Kaggalipura.


Maker’s Asylum

Location: Mumbai, Delhi

Equipment Available: 3D printers, Laser Engraver, Power Tools, CNC Router

Facilities Offered: Electronics lab, coworking spaces, hardware incubation

Community Strength: About 70 active members. Maker’s Asylum, Mumbai currently boasts more than 14,750 followers on Facebook, while the Delhi branch has nearly 5,000 followers.

Timings: 11 am to 9 pm

Membership Starts At: INR 2,500 for University students and INR 5,000 for adults per month.

Brief Overview: The inception of Maker’s Asylum makes for an interesting read. One afternoon in 2013, the ceiling of EyeNetra’s office in Mumbai collapsed, prompting Vaibhav Chhabra, a carpenter, to take to social media in search of people with a knack for building furniture. Soon afterwards, eight DIY enthusiasts came forward to create the first Maker’s Asylum. Nearly four years later, the makerspace platform has evolved into a fast-growing community of hobbyists, hardware entrepreneurs, engineers and problem-solvers. It boasts of over 6,000 square feet of coworking space that provides easy access to tools, technology and talent.

Curiosity Gym

Location: Mumbai

Equipment Available: 3D printers, power tools and hand tools, 3D doodlers, IoT tool kits.

Facilities Offered: Workshops, innovation hubs, product designing, prototyping, mentoring, science camps, DIY camps.

Community Strength: 650+ followers on Facebook.

Timings: 10 am to 7 pm

Membership Starts At: INR 500 per month

A Brief Overview: Curiosity Gym is a DIY-oriented makerspace platform with a focus on applied learning, tinkering, prototyping and product making. Open to technology enthusiasts of all ages, the platform offers members mentoring services to help learn design, 3D printing and DIY. It also conducts regular workshops showcasing the latest innovations in 3D printing, IoT, drones, Robotics and programming. To facilitate learning real-life applications, Curiosity Gym offers internships to local as well as international students.

FabLab Kerala  

Location: Kochi and Trivandrum, Kerala

Equipment Available: 3D printers, CNC machine, PCB milling machine, vinyl cutters, laser cutter, electronic work bench, hand tools, power tools.

Facilities Offered: 3D printing, CNC milling, vinyl plotting, molding and casting, laser cutting, sandblasting, electronic components testing

Community Strength: 2,330+ followers on Facebook.

Timings: 9 am to 7 pm

Membership Fees: INR 3,000 per month

Brief Overview: Backed by the Government of Kerala, Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) has created two FabLabs, one at Startup Village (Kochi) and the other at Technopark (Trivandrum). FabLab serves as a technical prototyping platform geared towards promoting entrepreneurship, innovation, and invention. Focussed primarily on digital fabrication, FabLabs help create a self-sustaining global knowledge sharing network by connecting learners, educators, technologists, researchers and innovators from around the country.


Location: CEPT University, Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Equipment Available: Othermill, GX-24, Legend Mini 18, Shopbot Gantry, MDX-20, MDX-15, Kinect V1, Ultimaker 2, Up Plus 2

Facilities Offered: Laser engraving and cutting, CNC, PCB milling, 3D printing, vinyl cutting

Community Strength: 50 to 100 (core group). FabLab CEPT has a total of more than 4,316 followers on Facebook.

Timings: 10 am – 7 pm

Membership Starts At: INR 1,000 per month.

Brief Overview: Jointly run by CEPT University and The Motwani Jadeja Family Foundation, FabLab CEPT is part of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms-run Fab Foundation. The design-oriented makerspace is envisioned as a platform that provides entrepreneurs, thinkers, and problem-solvers access to requisite resources for invention in art, engineering, medicine, biology, agriculture, economics, business and social science among others. Its aim is to foster strong, mutually-dependent communities through learning, doing and sharing.

Maker’s Loft

Location: Kolkata, West Bengal

Equipment Available: 3D Printer, CNC machines, MultiCNC prototyping machine, laser cutter, knitting machine, block printing, screen printing, sewing machine, machine embroidery, hardware incubation, Styro cutter, printer and scanner, hand and power tools.

Facilities Offered: Woodworking, laser cutting, 3D printing, textiles, upcycling projects, art installation, robotics, virtual reality, digital fabrication.

Community Strength: On Facebook, Maker’s Loft boasts more than 2,110 followers.

Timings: 11 am – 7 pm

Membership Starts At: INR 3,000 per month

Brief Overview: Maker’s Loft functions as a makerspace dedicated to children. Aimed at promoting hands-on learning through creative activities and fun science projects, the platform strives to pique the interest of children in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. Maker’s Loft provides an environment that facilitates learning through self-discovery and collaboration across different age groups. It is currently supported by a fast-growing community of artists, designers, architects, engineers, hackers, students, hobbyists and professionals.



Location: Koramangala, Bengaluru

Equipment Available: WIP: PCB milling, Electronics assembly, 4-Axis CNC, chemistry and biotech lab.

Facilities Offered: Metal-working, woodworking, injection molding, 3D printing, electronics

Community Strength: 180+ members

Timings: 24/7 open

Membership Starts At: INR 4,000

Brief Overview: IKP-Eden, as its name suggests, focusses on three basic things: engineering, design and entrepreneurial network. Established in 2015, the 25,000 square-feet coworking space is modelled after US-based TechShops and FabLabs. The platform is open to makers, entrepreneurs, and hobbyists looking to start a hardware product revolution in the country. It currently conduct workshops for students (both schools and colleges) as well as professionals on a variety of topics, including IoT, Robotics, medical devices, electronic toys, industrial design and graphic design.

Nuts and Boltz

Location: Delhi

Equipment Available: Soldering iron, etching station for PCB, multimeter, DC power supply (variable), Arduino and compatible shields, batteries and charging stations, 3D FDM printer, mini CNC-Shapeoko, woodworking tools, etc.

Facilities Offered: PCB manufacturing, 3D printing, online product marketing, additive manufacturing, Robotics and automation, woodworking.

Community Strength: The number of makers on Nuts and Boltz’s platform stands at 1,280. It also boasts a community of over 4,760 people on Facebook.

Timings:  10 am to 7 pm

Membership Starts At: INR 1,500 per month.

Brief Overview: Boasting a 1,800 square feet work space in Delhi, Nuts and Boltz is a makerspace platform that provides programmers, enthusiasts, scientists and engineers access to latest technologies, resources and tools to handcraft the next generation of gadgets, robots, UAVs and 3D printing creations. It serves as a channel for interaction and collaboration among members. The platform currently offers hardware incubation and rapid prototyping services aimed at facilitating the development of future technologies in different domains, including aerospace, defense, healthcare, architecture and consumer goods.  

JMoon MakerSpace

Location: New Delhi

Equipment Available: Soldering stations, hand-held power tools for woodworking (drill, jigsaw, dremel, grinder), 2 FDM 3D printers, laser engravers, materials for moulding/casting, and electronic products from Basically, products and tools for making projects in Robotics, home automation, Internet of Things, wearables, 3D printing and cosplay.

Facilities Offered: WiFi, books (technical books, management books, some competitive exam books, novels, comic books etc.), renting and buying of electronics (not tools), startup incubation for entrepreneurs working in Robotics, Internet of Things, wearables, Augmented/ Virtual Reality, machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchain, distributed Internet, or app-based solutions.

Community Strength: At any given time, the community’s strength is half a dozen to around 20. Also, on Facebook, the makerspace has a community of 1940, while on Meetup it is 990+.

Timings: Changes according to seasons and school/college vacations. Currently, 10 am to 6 pm.

Membership Starts At: INR 2,499 per month

A Brief Overview: JMoon MakerSpace is a self-sustaining community space, open for all passionate makers to access the resources of JMoon L.A.B.S. Ideated by Jasmeet Singh in April 2013, it claims to be Delhi’s first Makerspace and started operations in September 2014. It helps innovators collaborate with members for projects and prototypes as well as provide incubation, network and training facilities.

THE Workshop

Location: Bengaluru

Facilities Offered: Woodworking, metalworks, computational design, corporate training, electronics/ IoT work, and design thinking workshops.

A Brief Overview: THE Workshop stands for Think Happy Everyday Workshop and was founded by Anabelle M Viegas and Craig M Dmello in January 2015. The makerspace aims to collaborate with academics from leading universities, cutting-edge industry experts, innovative thinkers, makers and doers, to develop and sustain a cross-disciplinary design community built from the ground up. Mentors from across the world will run a variety of workshops, research modules and host open discussions.

Collab House

Location: Hyderabad, Bengaluru

Facilities Offered: Service consulting; programmes for engagement, business, product

innovation, design and engineering.

Community Strength: 40+ local and international communities like Global Shapers Hyderabad, Startup Grind Hyderabad, TEDx Hyderabad, and more. Plus, a 6,000 supporting community of hackers, makers, entrepreneurs and designers.

A Brief Overview: Collab House was founded by Vineel Reddy Pindi in June 2014. The makerspace is working at the intersection of technology, innovation and community, focussing on the future of collaboration, learning and building things. It is basically a collaborative hub that supports hacker, maker, startup and creative activity.


Location: Pune

Equipment Available: Basic hand tools and power tools, soldering irons, laser printer scanner copier, projector, side-glow optical fibre, 3D printer, 3D pens, conducting threads and fabric, 96Boards DragonBoard 410c, 96Boards BLE Carbon, Arduino UNO, Arduino Lilypad, Banana Pro, BPi-R1, Grove Sensor Kit for Arduino, Intel Edison, Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, CodeBug, NodeMCU ESP8266, Adafruit Gemma, Adafruit Flora, BBC micro:bit, SEELablet, iBeacon bare boards

Facilities Offered: Wired Ethernet and WiFi Internet, Air-Conditioned open seating, Library and books, Lockers

Community Strength: 3,000+ followers on Facebook

Membership Starts At: INR 23,990 per month

A Brief Overview: With a motto of “Learn, Make, and Collaborate”, Reserved-bit is envisioned as a maker space that provides members access to cutting-edge tools, toys, computers, electronics, canvas, art and craft supplies, legos. The makerspace serves as a platform for like-minded people to come together and build a social circle. The goal in the end is to encourage technology enthusiasts to collaboratively design and build anything, while also learn new skills and discover new ideas.

Heramb MakerLab

Location: Pune

Equipment Available: 3D printer

Facilities Offered: 3D printer distribution, 3D printing service, Raspberry Pi, Arduino microcontroller.

A Brief Overview: Heramb MakerLab was founded in April 2014 with a vision to spread knowledge of the latest technology advancements to students and professionals. The company is currently dealing with 3D printer (FDM) distribution and 3D printing services. The team is also developing new products like Robotic ams, intelligent lamps, DIY circuits etc.

Research Innovation Incubation Design Laboratory (RiiDL)

Location: Somaiya Vidyavihar, Mumbai

Equipment Available: Laser cutter, vinyl cutter, CNC wood router, milling machine, Avion 3D printer, Dream 3D printer, Guider 3D printer, Fromlabs2 3D printer

Facilities Offered: Incubation Space, Conference Room, Meeting Room, Cafeteria (shared facility), Office Space, Seminar Hall (shared facility)

Community Strength: 5,000+ innovators

Timings: 10 am to 7 pm

Membership Starts At: INR 5,000 per annum

A Brief Overview: Backed by Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology, RiiDL is a non-for-profit makerspace/incubator located at the Somaiya Vidyavihar campus, which comprises of 34 institutions with 39,000 students. RiiDL currently boasts a Technology Business Incubator, in addition to FabLab Supernode and Bioriidl, a DIY Biolab and Bioincubator. To boost the country’s startup ecosystem, the makerspace also offers a 2-month accelerator programme, Refine, as well as Bio Entrepreneurship Programme.

Vigyan Ashram

Location: Pune

Equipment Available: LED lighting solution, Egg incubator, Precision Agri control devices, Sanitary incinerator, traditional fabrication tools

Facilities Offered: Laser Cutting, Vinyl cutting, CNC – PCB milling, Plasma metal cutting, Electronics and micro processors, 3D printing & scanning

Timings: 9.30 am to 5.30 pm

A Brief Overview: Vigyan Ashram currently houses a Fab Lab and a DIY Lab. Members of Vigyan Ashram uses latest technologies and tools to solve rural problems, especially in the area of agriculture. Its DIY Lab has workplace , fabrication tools, agricultural setup, biogas, solar systems, electronics, 3D printing. The organisation conducts regular workshops as well as a Fab Camp for school students and makers based in Pune.


Location: Gurugram, Haryana

Equipment Available: DIY Kits

Facilities Offered: Makers playground, invention space, workshops, electronic fabrication, collaboration.

A Brief Overview: Banaao was established in October 2015 by Prem Sagar and Sumit Kathuria. It is a community-based organisation with a focus on providing a collaborative environment in order to create unimaginable things, and, in the process attain a sense of fulfilment.

E4D Banjarapalya [Mini Fab Lab]

Location: Bengaluru

A Brief Overview: Started as an experiment in 2013, the Banjarapalya Makerspace aims to create scalable, alternate, but self-sustainable schools. It is a first-of-its-kind rural tech space, run completely by the local community itself, engaging people from all backgrounds and ages, in a bias-free, self-customised environment of learning. About 200 local people, aged between 7 and 55 have, at different points of time, interact with the space in learning and making. It basically makes use of the Internet to find cool ideas/projects and then building and designing their own.

Chennai Makerspace

Location: Chennai

Equipment Available: Kossel 3D Printer, an array of microcontrollers ranging from BeagleBone Blacks to Intel Galeleo, tools for PCB fabrication, sensor tools, drills.

A Brief Overview: Chennai Makerspace was founded in July 2015 to nurture an individual’s inner childlike curiosity and zeal. It also conducts hands on workshops introducing concepts linked to IoT, image processing, Robotics, PCBs and more.

Vigyan Ashram Fab Lab

Location: Pune

Equipment Available: Laser, 3D printer, CNC milling, hardware incubation, plasma cutting, vinyl cutting, electronics, computer graphic, traditional fabrication & welding tools.

Facilities Offered: Fab Academy offers 6 months training on digital fabrication, a DIY Lab, which has a workplace, fabrication tools, agricultural setup, biogas, solar systems, electronics, 3D printing, workshop for school students and Makers from Pune.

Timings: 9.30 am – 5 pm

Membership Starts At: INR 3,000 per annum

A Brief Overview: Dr. Neil Greshenfeld, Director, Center for Bits and atoms at MIT (US), led the foundation of Vigyan Ashram Fab Lab in 2002. The makerspace aims to provide LED lighting solution, Egg incubator, Precision Agri control devices, Sanitary incinerator and more.


Location: Karnal, Delhi, Noida

Equipment Available: Laser etcher, 3D printing, beginners electronics and Arduino learning kit, Robotics kits, Raspberry Pi boards, Lego kits.

Facilities Offered: Access to working space with Internet, mechanical and power tools, training on the tools, priority event invites & discounts, electronic workstations, woodworking workstation, soldering workstations.

Timings: Tuesday to Sunday, 9 am to 6 pm

Membership Starts At: INR 3,999 (professionals) per month. INR 1,999 (students) per month

A Brief Overview: MakersBox Lab in Karnal was launched in April 2016 in a Public Private Partnership with the Government of Haryana. It has been positioned centrally to spur education and innovation amongst students and learners of all age groups. It is a community Makerspace, with a vision to inspire people to innovate and invent. The founders, Harpreet Kaur Sapra, Dhruv Bhutani (left in July 2016) and Harkrisha Singh (left in October 2016), initially started in October 2015 as an idea in Delhi, and were incubated at SproutBox.


Image Credit: Memento Nora

Potential Labs

Location: Hyderabad

Equipment Available: All kind of equipment.

Facilities Offered: Online ecommerce store, three offline stores to buy project components.

A Brief Overview: It is a research lab, focussed on areas such as Android, Robotics, Arduino, embedded systems, open source dev, sustainable energy, 3D motion gestures and more. The makerspace also helps set up IoT Labs and R&D Centers in industries, MNCs, companies, engineering colleges, academic institutions and training centres. The team curates, advises and helps in selecting the right mix of IoT components based on preferences, requirements and budget.They have an online ecommerce portal to buy materials such as 3D printers, DIY Kits and other project components. Also, they have three offline retail stores available in different areas within Hyderabad.

IoT And Hardware Startup Accelerators


Launched In: 2015

Headquartered In: Bengaluru, Shenzhen and Taipei

Founded By: Avinash Kaushik, Satish Mugulavalli

Focus area(s): Internet of Things, Augmented /Virtual Reality, Robotics, drones, blockchain, wearables, connected automobiles.

Some Startup Graduates: The first startup batch consisting of five startups graduated in May 2016. The list included SeaHow, Fragging Monk, The Things Cloud and Senze. A total of 15 startups have been incubated under its first two batches. In February 2017, Revvx announced to invite startups for the third batch in association with Nasscom.

A Brief Overview: The Revvx hardware accelerator programme helps startups with prototyping, mass manufacturing and distribution. Apart from Nasscom, Revxx has also partnered with a Chinese hardware company NexPCB and has collaborated with NASDAQ-listed Global Sources, a worldwide electronics sourcing trade show.

Haxx Accelerator

Launched In: 2012

Headquartered In: Shenzen, China. It announced recently that it will invest in Indian startups as well.

Founded By: Sean O’Sullivan, Cyril Ebersweiler

Focus area(s): IoT, Robotics, healthcare, infrastructure.

Some Startup Graduates: Since its launch in 2012, it has invested in over 160 startups globally. In India, the accelerator has invested in startups such as Ray IoT and Diabeto.

A Brief Overview: Hax Accelerator organises a four-month programme for around 12 early-stage hardware startups in China’s Shenzhen district and Silicon Valley. It is a global hardware startup accelerator, backed by venture capital firm SOS Ventures, working with a $250 Mn fund. It announced to invest $100K each in 10 Indian startups working in the hardware segment in July 2016.


Launched In: 2015

Headquartered In: Pune, Bengaluru, The USA

Founded By: Sanjay Puri

Focus area(s): LIDAR, RADAR, cyber security, Artificial Intelligence, IoT, autonomous vehicles

Some Startup Graduates: The current accelerator portfolio includes 18 startups such as Trackyo, Streak Helmet, Wiper, Raksha Safedrive, near Park and more.

A Brief Overview: AUTONEBULA is catalysing the startups that produce new applications, systems and data for the advancement of transportation worldwide. Startups are screened on the basis of their business model, Minimum Viable Product (MVP) status, Target Addressable Market (TAM) and other metrics. The selected startups undergo a year-long programme covering areas such as product development, scaling a business and digital marketing. Seed funding may also be provided once selected by AUTONEBULA.

Center of Excellence for IOT

Launched In: 2016 (Ideated in 2015)

Headquartered In: Bengaluru, Karnataka

Founded By: Ministry of Electronics & IT (DeitY) and Education and Research Network (ERNET) in association with Nasscom.

Focus area(s): Affordable healthcare, Smart Energy, IoT.

Some Startup Graduates: The current portfolio includes around 22 startups such as SeeHow.

A Brief Overview: The accelerator was launched in line with the vision of Digital India and Make In India. It provides lab infrastructure and active participation from industry to the startups and is supported by the Electronic Development Fund, which is the fund of funds and has a corpus of over INR 10,000 crore. The fund, which supports the COE, is managed by CanBank Venture Capital Fund Ltd (CVCFL). The COE aims to provide a unique facility, equipment and a place for the product startups to work on their ideas and take them towards completion.

GSF Global Accelerator

Launched In: 2012

Headquartered In: Gurugram, Haryana

Founded By: Rajesh Sawhney

Focus area(s): Internet, mobile

Some Startup Graduates: The portfolio mentions companies like Little Eye Labs (acquired by Facebook in 2014), SilverPush, Zapr, Overcart, HackerEarth and more.

A Brief Overview: In early 2015, GSF launched an accelerator and an early-stage fund to invest in IoT and cloud startups in collaboration with Cisco Investments. The GSF Global Accelerator is a 13-week programme wherein startups are provided access to venture and business networks, personalised and intensive mentoring, and initial capital. It invests $30-$60K at 8-9% equity in selected startups and also does follow-on rounds of up to $500K into select startups after the programme.

Target Accelerator Program

Launched In: 2014 (Launched in India)

Headquartered In: Bengaluru, Karnataka

Founded By: A subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Dayton Department Stores.

Focus area(s): Marketing, mobile, big data analytics, merchandising and supply chain technologies.

Some Startup Graduates: The portfolio includes startups such as Lechal, Preksh, MintM, Uncanny Vision and more.

A Brief Overview: With its four-month extensive programme, the Target accelerator aims to help early-stage startups to develop concepts that could improve Target’s business and the broader retail industry. The final selection will be based on the team and its talent and, most importantly, the relevance of the idea to Target. It provides Seed funding up to $30K. Apart from this, it also has a focus on hardware and has subsequently funded and mentored startups in this domain. The American retail chain has been selecting startups relevant to its business for its accelerator program in India and its fourth batch of startups was majorly focussed on AI, AR and IoT.

Qualcomm® Design in India Challenge

Launched In: December 2015

Headquartered In: Bengaluru (Globally, it has 188 offices)

Founded By: Qualcomm®’s QDIC in collaboration with the NASSCOM

Focus area(s): Product design, development, and manufacturing of hardware and IoT startups in healthcare, education, banking, automotive as well as smart cities.

Some Startup Graduates: Some of the startup finalists of the challenge in different years included iSquare Mobility Pvt. Ltd, Avanijal Agri Automation Pvt. Ltd, Alexapath Private Limited, iBot Control Systems India Pvt. Ltd., and more.

A Brief Overview: In the first round, 10 companies are selected and given $10K, as well as incubation and access to Qualcomm’s innovation labs. Post this, in the final round, the top three startups get a total prize money of $100K.


With the advent of revolutionary new technologies like 3D printing, Robotics and nanotechnology, the world’s hardware sector has seen substantial growth. While the IT and software market was imperative to the growth and development of the Indian economy in the 1980s, hardware innovation could be what drives India to global dominance.

When asked about the potential of the industry, Soaib Grewal, former Venture Partner at 500 Startups, told Inc42, “I truly believe that Indian startups can lead in hardware enabled-solutions (people call this IoT but I hate that term).  In my opinion hardware ecosystems of the future will require three things to succeed: excellent software engineering, a knowledge of enterprise sales and customer support and hardware design and manufacturing expertise and infrastructure. I think we are pretty good at the first two and if we can figure out the third component, we’re golden.”

Despite limitations in terms of inadequate manufacturing infrastructure and lack of proper funding, the country’s electronics and hardware sector is expected to reach $112-$130 Bn by 2018. To bolster the growth of this industry, the government has taken several initiatives in the last few years. For instance, last month, NITI Aayog announced plans to build 500 Atal Tinkering Labs under the Atal Innovation Mission. Earlier in June, it was reported that the state-run think tank was looking to install up to 1,000 tinkering labs in schools around the country, in an attempt to get children hooked on STEM-related subjects.

While the potential of makerspaces and accelerators as drivers of hardware and IoT innovation has already been realised in the western world, these concepts have only recently made their way into emerging digital nations like India. With rising technology adoption and the government support, future generations will definitely be tinkering with innovation and creativity. For the hardware industry to thrive and scale, a robust network of ecosystem enablers, including makerspaces and startup accelerators, will likely be indispensable for this to occur. After all, it is called ‘Make In India’ for a reason, to make and create in India, for the world.

InnoNation (earlier Innofest), which is an iSPIRT initiative, has announced the third edition of its annual showcase to be held in Bengaluru. The two-day event is focussed towards bringing the best experts, innovators, and makers under one roof to inspire the next generation of innovators building IoT, Robotics and other related hardware startups. Interested IoT and hardware innovators interested in participating for InnoNation by iSPIRT can apply here! And for attending the event, click here.

[Written by Meha Agarwal and Sukanya Mukherjee with the help of Abhijeet Khandagale.]

PS: Do not worry if we haven’t included your accelerators or makerspaces in the list. Just send in your details in the comments below and the list will keep growing. Stay tuned for more in the series!

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