Electropreneur Park, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY)-funded electronic system design and manufacturing (ESDM) incubation centre at the Delhi University campus, is built with the aim to accelerate the Indian ESDM startup ecosystem. As it gets ready for the fourth incubation season, Sanjeev Chopra, CEO, Electropreneur Park, shares with Paromik Chakraborty of Electronics For You their criteria for selecting startups and facilities for shortlisted startups
Q. How do you shortlist startups?
A. The most important factor for a startup to succeed is to have an idea that is commercially viable and can be monetised. We evaluate applications based on multiple factors, including the product idea, completeness of the proposal, business plan, proof of concept and a basic product demonstration. At the end of the day, we look at startups that can monetise their products and might be able to create a unique IP. We also take into account which projects will be able to utilise our facility the most.
Q. How do the incubated startups benefit from the labs at Electropreneur Park?
A. A big challenge faced by startups in their development phase is the time lost in building the prototype. Starting from planning the design to getting a PCB prototype made and then creating the mould, startups have to reach out to external service providers due to lack of infrastructure in their facility. This is where they spend a lot of time, money and effort, which they could otherwise invest in something productive. The main motive of our labs is to provide ESDM startups the facilities to do all of it under one roof without any distraction.
Once an intended design is cleared and the first round of prototyping tried, a startup can easily create the second prototype within 48 hours—that too with minimal or no error if it has access to all the right equipment and facilities.
Q. Are there any expenses to be borne by the shortlisted startups?
A. There are no charges for startups to use any of our facilities. The cost structure will remain so for the five years tenure that is funded by MeitY. Once the funding is over, we will have to move forward on a self-sustained basis, and may have to revise the finances. Even for startups which exit the incubation, support for the next six months since their exit is free of cost. Thereafter, cost model may be revised, and will be communicated once a final call is taken. Exiting startups will also have access to our lab facilities and our assistance.
Q. How do you help startups in esta-blishing contacts with the industry?
A. The Electropreneur Park project ensures easier availability of components, necessary mentorship and complete guidance to incubated startups. Many leading bodies of the ESDM scenario are associated with the project. IESA is a part of this association, bringing in a lot of connections from the semiconductor industry.
We have tied up with components manufacturers like Element14, who provide benefits like minimum order quantity waiver and discounted price to incubated startups. We also support startups in creating a network—by way of introducing them to more industry players, potential customers, competitors and mentors, or by sending them to events where they can connect for further business, approach for funding or make sales pitches.
Q. What support is provided to develop their skills in sync with the latest technologies?
A. There is active participation from the industry to help out startups with the latest technology and skill development. CXOs and industry experts take out some time to introduce them to the latest technologies and business opportunities. Startups can seek guidance from them in case of any bottleneck in their product development. For instance, Infineon Technologies is helping out with some technical mentoring. We organise workshops on all angles of a business—technical, legal, management, financial and so on—to familiarise startups with the practical environment. Organisations like Cadence and HCL also support us.