Kerala is one of the states that has been striving to create a vibrant ecosystem for sustainable startups working on exponential technologies, developing solutions that address the problems of society at large. The Kerala Government has been an early adopter of startup products and services and is proactively working on creating various programs to encourage this trend. To this end, he founded Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) in 2006, with the vision of promoting technology-based entrepreneurial activities by providing the right ecosystem and infrastructure.
This state hub agency was founded with the aim of promoting technology-based business activities and creating the necessary infrastructure and ecosystem to support high-end technology-based start-ups. Looking today, the organization has been able to build a vibrant startup ecosystem that enables tech entrepreneurs to pursue their goals and dreams by providing full support throughout the startup lifecycle.
It is encouraging to note that through multiple interventions under Kerala Startup Mission and its sector specific partner organisations, there are 3,900 registered startups, 6 lakh+ sq ft of incubation space, 67 incubators, 370 mini incubators, future technologies lab, labs IOT, MIT Super Fab lab to promote digital fabrication, and 22 fablabs, including mini fablabs, spread across different districts.
Enabling grants worth INR 25 crore in five years
Over the years, KSUM has worked tirelessly to help startups outperform the competition and make their business viable. It has provided grants of more than Rs 25 crore to new and old companies since 2017, to strengthen the start-up environment in the state. Innovation Grants are given as the first and foremost start-up capital for product start-ups in Kerala, which are intended to nurture ideas and turn them into full-fledged businesses. Over the past five years, KSM has received more than 8,000 innovative ideas from tech startups, including 23 Vidyarthi startups. Of these, 2,000 startups were shortlisted and 550 ideas received 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.
The main achievements of KSUM over the years
- Recognized by UBI Global as the world’s No. 1 Public Business Accelerator in 2019
- The state has been ranked as the best performer in the 2019 state start-up rankings by DPIIT
- The state has been classified as a Top Performer in the State Startup Ranking 2018 by the Department for the Promotion of Industry and Domestic Trade
- Chief Minister’s Award for Innovation in Public Policy for the year 2016
- T-TBI won the “World’s Second Best Science-Based Incubator” award instituted by CSES, UK and Techno-Policy Network, Netherlands
- T-TBI has won the AABI incubator award
- T-TBI has won the 2014 Golden Peacock National Training Award
- T-TBI won the 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 number of social, economic and demographic factors have led to a paradigm shift in Kerala’s business landscape. The Kerala Government has been proactively working on this by creating various programs to instill an entrepreneurial culture in the next young generations of the state. The startup ecosystem is well equipped to mark the next quantum leap. Kerala Startup Mission has initiated several steps to establish a startup ecosystem in the state.
To provide an excellent opportunity for the growth of innovation, investment and entrepreneurship, KSUM has developed various programs to help companies at every step of their entrepreneurial journey.
- Student level programs: SALT, IEDC, Program for the Promotion of Local Entrepreneurship and Future Labs
- Support at the initial stage: Quick fail or success, idea grant, rent subsidy, incubation
- Acceleration Program
- Money: Seed Fund and Fund of Fund Programs
- Business support: Cross Cell Platforms: Big Demo Days, Government as a Marketplace, Launch Platforms, Marketing Support, International Trade Delegations.
- Kerala Research Innovation Network
- Fab Labs and Future Lab
- SUBSIDIES: Expansion Grant, Production Grant
- Support for women: Soft Loan Scheme for Women Entrepreneurs, Seed Fund for Women Entrepreneurs, Technology Commercialization Support for Women, Production Grant for Women/Transgender
Enabling and accelerating the success of startups in diversified sectors
To provide new businesses with wonderful opportunities for growth and sustainability, KSUM is expanding its horizons in more ways than one. It currently focuses on priority sectors such as agtech, fintech, healthtech, hardware, IOT, and SAAS so that new start-ups across a myriad of categories receive the attention and support they need to succeed.
Let’s take a look at how KSUM is working across sectors to drive the business landscape forward.
Agritech: Farmers Fresh Zone (FFZ)
Farmers Fresh Zone (FFZ) is an agritech launched in 2016 to focus on the farm-to-fork model, delivering fresh, safe-to-eat fruits and vegetables to urban consumers supported by robust technology, while that addresses the needs of local farmers. The company leverages technology across the supply chain from demand forecasting, production planning, farmer module, supply chain, and e-commerce with traceability. FFZ guarantees better income for farmers and healthy and nutritious fruits and vegetables for consumers in less than 20 hours from harvest.
TRiCE is a B2B SaaS platform that leverages 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 evaluated by combining financial metrics with this digital index. For financial metrics, TRiCE consumes data from credit bureaus and internal and published financier data.
Healthtech- Genrobotic Innovations Pvt. Limited.
Genrobotics is a national award-winning start-up company based in Technopark, Kerala, primarily focused on designing and developing robotic solutions that help people recover faster from disabilities, ensuring the safety of those facing limbs through of human-friendly robotic solutions. Genrobotics was established on June 21, 2017, developing the world’s first robotic scavenger, Bandicoot, and a robot-assisted gait training solution, G Gaiter for faster rehabilitation of paraplegic patients. Genrobotics is backed by prominent investors such as Anand Mahindra, Zoho Corp, Rajan Anandan, Unicorn India Ventures, and SEA funds.
HR Tech – Zappyhire
Founded in 2018, Zappyhire is a global recruiting automation startup that leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate companies’ end-to-end recruiting processes. This promising startup has a highly scalable and robust product that benefits both recruiters and job seekers with a simple and intuitive interface that is easy to use. It has shown steady growth in terms of revenue and global expansion since its inception and is used by more than 1,600 recruiters around the world, including the Middle East, US, and EU.
Drone airframe innovations
Fuselage Innovations Private Limited specializes in custom UAV/Drone manufacturing. The organization conducts agricultural plant aerial survey and aerial plant spraying to ensure agricultural solutions, surveillance, fire protection and other customized UAV solutions as per requirements. The technology helps identify and address pests, address nutrient deficiency in crops, and more. Predictive analytics has helped reduce farm inputs by up to 70% and make the process 10 times faster.
With the 360-degree support of KSUM, Kerala has become the center of the startup revolution in India in recent years. The agency has created just the kind of opportunity for growth in innovation, investment and entrepreneurship that the country urgently needs. Today, the state is one of the best places to start a business in the country with KSUM’s infrastructure and technology-based entrepreneurship ecosystem.