Mentor-THE GAIN to boost India’s ESDM startup ecosystem

Mentor, a Siemens business, has announced a strategic collaboration program with THE GAIN (The Global Accelerator for Innovation Network) – a technology accelerator company, focused on product engineering IP startups.

MentorBoth organizations will work with innovative Indian startups to accelerate, develop and customize IP to address domestic and international markets. They will focus on accelerating India’s product engineering IP ecosystem by helping companies in the early stages of entrepreneurship.

Established to advance the ESDM (electronics system design and manufacturing) ecosystem in India, the collaboration’s goal is to foster excellence in the early stages of startup companies. Both will work closely with the startups and entrepreneurs looking to establish and launch companies in the product engineering space, with a special focus on engaging with startups in the early phase of entrepreneurship.

“Mentor has established an outstanding track record of supporting, developing and accelerating startup ecosystems, both in India and across the globe,” said Raghu Panicker, Mentor’s country sales director for India. ”Through this strategic collaboration, we look forward to further accelerating the India startup ecosystem by working closely with promising product companies to make them successful.”

“India’s ESDM ecosystem is on a growth trajectory thanks to the ‘Make in India’ focus by the Indian government,” said Poornima Shenoy, CEO of THE GAIN.

“This collaboration with Mentor, a global technology leader, will have distinct benefits to startups looking to grow and succeed. It is our shared vision to collaborate and support highly successful startups in India who deliver innovative products. We are looking at accelerating the growth of at least 30 companies in the next three years.”

Outlining the specific steps Mentor-GAIN will be taking to help India’s product engineering IP ecosystem, she said: “At THE GAIN, we are looking to “excellerate” no more than five to seven start-ups per year. This is after a multi-tier rigorous selection process. Our entrepreneurs are often with deep industry knowledge and experience, who need a lead time of two-three years to prove the business and product viability.

“Tools are amongst the highest overheads in this journey. Here, the role of companies like Mentor, would be crucial. They have use cases, knowledge of decades and special schemes for entrepreneurs. This provides the right balance between cost and success. They also have leaders who understand and ‘walk the talk’.

“India needs to have more success stories with IP companies. We are looking at product engineering as a step in that direction. It is necessary for us to accelerate growth by productizing IP and leveraging global partnerships. It is not about overnight success, but about long-time multiplier returns. Our country and the industry needs to move in that direction.

“This is a unique partnership where both partners understand what works and what are the factors relevant to success.”

Justifying innovativeness
How does one justify ‘innovativeness’, when the two entities will support startups with innovative products?

Shenoy added: “It is a global race for innovation. We are looking for companies for the development of products, services, and applications related, to smart living and industry 4.0. India is a big market, but one, which is hugely price-sensitive.

“Our focus is on the B2B space and how soon can we get solutions out into the market in these areas. Innovation can save you money, help the environment and widen your market base. It could address niche segments and verticals. We are seeing interest from start-ups in other geographies to address this vibrant and dynamic marketplace. Global solution providers, like Mentor, function seamlessly across borders.

“At THE GAIN, we partner with innovative entrepreneurs by providing them with access to funding, active mentoring and to business. We can move to the next rung if they create MVP and validate it with their target customer base. This is a key area where they need assistance.”

Old wine! New bottle?
Finally, hasn’t this exercise been tried before? How are they confident about its success?

Shenoy said: “Every partnership is the start of a new beginning. It is only when we try, that we can succeed. We are sure that as we embark on this journey on building the ecosystem and providing a platform for the Indian startups , we will learn and grow.

“We might slip up at times, but that is the beauty of a partnership. We learn together! In India, we have hardly seen any focus on this vertical. This understanding is a step in the right direction and a vital link to future success.”

Expressing his opinion on what Mentor is gaining out of this partnership, Raghu Panicker of Mentor, elaborated: “Mentor gains access to start-ups in the ideation stage itself. Mentor can, then, nurture them, and help start-ups with technologies in the areas of chips and system design. Start-ups are usually open to looking at new technologies.”

THE GAIN is a technology accelerator headquartered at Bangalore and founded by BV Naidu, former STPI director-turned-entrepreneur. The organization focuses on accelerating early-stage companies through access to funding, access to active mentoring and access to businesses.

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