Kerala is one of the states that has been striving to create a vibrant ecosystem for sustainable startups that work on exponential technologies, developing solutions that address the problems of society at large. The Government of Kerala has been an early adopter for startup products and services and is proactively working on creating various programs to nurture this trend. For this, it founded the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) in 2006, with a vision to promote technology-based entrepreneurship activities, by offering the appropriate ecosystem and infrastructure.
This state nodal agency was founded with a goal to promote technology-based entrepreneurship activities and to create the infrastructure and ecosystem required to support high-end technology-based startup businesses. Looking today, the organization has been able to build a vibrant startup ecosystem allowing technology entrepreneurs to pursue their goals and dreams by providing them complete support in the startup life cycle.
It is heartening to note that through multiple interventions under Kerala Startup Mission and its sector specific partner organizations, there are 3,900 registered startups, 6 lakh+ square feet of incubation space, 67 incubators, 370 mini incubators, future technologies lab, IOT labs, MIT Super Fab lab to promote digital fabrication and 22 fablabs including mini fablabs are distributed across different districts.
Enabling grants worth INR 25 crore in five years
Over the years, KSUM has been working relentlessly to help startups overcome competition and make their business viable. It has provided grants of over Rs 25 crore to new and old start-ups since 2017, to strengthen the start-up environment in the state. Innovation grants are provided as the first and major seed capital for product startups in Kerala, that intend to encourage ideas and turn them into full-fledged enterprises. In the last five years, KSM has received over 8,000 innovative ideas from tech startups, including 23 Vidyarthi startups. Of these, 2,000 startups were shortlisted and 550 ideas were awarded innovation grants. In a record-breaking effort, KSUM supported 170 startups by disbursing grants worth Rs 689.15 lakhs in 2021-22, across various sectors, despite the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
KSUM’s top achievements over the years
- Recognized by UBI Global as World No. 1 Public Business Accelerator in 2019
- State has been ranked as Top Performer in State Startup Ranking 2019 by DPIIT
- State has been ranked as a Top Performer in the State Startup Ranking 2018 by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade
- Chief Minister’s Award for Innovation in Public Policy for the year 2016
- T-TBI won the Award for the ‘Worlds 2nd Best Science Based Incubator’ instituted by CSES, UK And Techno-Policy Network, Netherlands
- T-TBI has won the AABI Incubator Award
- T-TBI has won the Golden Peacock national training award 2014
- T-TBI won National forum for People’s rights Appreciation award 2013
- State Startup Ranking – 2021 – Top Performing State by Startup India
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Kerala Startup ecosystem
A slew of social, economic and demographic factors have led to a paradigm shift in Kerala’s entrepreneurial landscape. The Government of Kerala has been proactively working on this by creating various programs to inculcate an entrepreneurship culture in the upcoming young generations of the state. The startup ecosystem is well equipped to mark the next quantum leap. Kerala Startup Mission has initiated various steps for setting up a startup ecosystem in the state.
To provide an excellent opportunity for the growth of innovation, investment and entrepreneurship, KSUM has developed varied programs to assist businesses at every step of their entrepreneurial journey.
- Student Level Programs: SALT, IEDC, Local Entrepreneurship Advancement Program and Future Labs
- Initial stage support: Fail Fast or Succeed, Idea Grant, Rent Subsidy, Incubation
- Acceleration Program
- Funding: Seed Fund and Fund of Fund programs
- Business support: Cross Cell platforms- Big Demo Days, Government as a Marketplace, Pitching platforms, Marketing Support, International Business Delegations.
- Research Innovation Network Kerala
- Fab Labs and Future Lab
- GRANTS: Scaleup Grant, Productization Grant
- Women Support: Soft Loan Scheme for Women Entrepreneurs, Seed Fund for Women Entrepreneurs, Technology Commercialization Support for Women, Productization Grant for Women/ Transgender
Enabling and accelerating startup success across diversified sectors
To provide startups with wonderful opportunities for growth and sustainability, KSUM is expanding its horizons in more ways than one. It currently focuses on priority sectors like agritech, fintech, healthtech, hardware, IOT and SAAS so that emerging startups within a slew of categories get the attention and support they require to make it big.
Let’s take a look at how KSUM is working across sectors to boost the entrepreneurial landscape.
Agritech: Farmers Fresh Zone (FFZ)
Farmers Fresh Zone (FFZ) is an agritech launched in 2016 to focus on the farm to fork model, offering fresh, safe to eat fruits and vegetables to urban consumers supported by strong technology, while also addressing the needs of local farmers. The company leverages technology throughout the supply chain starting from demand prediction, production planning, farmer module, supply chain, and e-commerce with traceability. FFZ ensures better income for the farmers and healthy and nutritious fruits and vegetables for consumers in less than 20 hours of the harvest.
TRaiCE is a B2B SaaS platform leveraging AI/ML and NLP to help financiers objectively analyze the future risk of the businesses they are associated with. A daily digital risk index – Business Sentiment Index (BSI), is calculated from the digital footprint of businesses such as news and social media, and a daily Early Warning Risk Index (EWR) is assessed by combining financial metrics with this digital index. For the financial metrics, TRaiCE consumes data from credit bureaus and the financier’s internal and published data.
Healthtech- Genrobotic Innovations Pvt. Ltd.
Genrobotics is a National-Award winning start-up headquartered in Technopark, Kerala, primarily focusing on designing and developing robotic solutions that help people to recover faster from disabilities, ensuring safety to those who face the extremities through human-friendly robotic solutions. Genrobotics was established on 21 June 2017, developing the world’s first robotic scavenger, Bandicoot, and robot-assisted gait training solution, G Gaiter for the faster rehabilitation of paraplegic patients. Genrobotics is backed by marquee investors like Anand Mahindra, Zoho Corp, Rajan Anandan, Unicorn India Ventures and SEA funds.
HR Tech- Zappyhire
Founded in 2018, Zappyhire is a global recruitment automation startup that leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate the end-to-end hiring processes of companies. This promising startup has a highly scalable and robust product that benefits both recruiters and job seekers alike with a simple, intuitive interface that is easy to use. It has shown consistent growth in terms of revenue and global expansion since inception and is used by over 1,600 recruiters worldwide including the Middle East, US and EU.
Drone- Fuselage Innovations
Fuselage Innovations Private Limited specializes in the manufacture of customized UAVs/Drones. The organization undertakes agricultural aerial plant survey and aerial plant spraying, to ensure agriculture solutions, surveillance, fire protection and other customized UAV solutions as per requirements. The technology helps to identify and address pests, tackle nutrient deficiency in crops and more. The predictive analysis has helped reduce agricultural inputs up to 70% and make the process 10X faster.
With KSUM’s 360 degree support, Kerala has emerged as the cynosure of the startup revolution in India in the past few years. The agency has created just the kind of opportunity for the growth of innovation, investment and entrepreneurship that the country urgently requires. Currently, the state is one of the optimal places to start a business in the country with KSUM’s technology-based entrepreneurship ecosystem and infrastructure.