Does the abrupt exit of MobMe Wireless Solutions of Kochi Startup Village fame from Sunrise Startup Village in Visakhapatnam tantamount to sunset on AP’s first facility to incubate a large number of startups?
The village was started in January 2015 a few days after Cyclone Hudhud devastated the infrastructure in Visakhapatnam. A five-year MoU was signed with MobMe at CEOs’ Conclave held here in September 2014 in the presence of Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
The opinion seems to be mixed with the startup promoters feeling that this development has dashed their hopes and the newly formed Innovation Society, an autonomous society formed by the State Government to translate its innovation policy into action, saying they are now in the process of redesigning and repackaging their approach to incubate, fund and make startups into commercial ventures on the model of Silicon Valley.
MobMe has already withdrawn its staff from the startup village. Most of the startups now have a skeletal presence. Heated discussions are heard in IT circles here on the future of the village after The Hindu broke the news on the exit of MobMe from the management of Sunrise Startup Village on June 7.
Sources told The Hindu that University of California, Berkeley, is being roped in to set up an elite accelerator at Startup Village. Confirming this, Innovation Society CEO Nikhil Agarwal said they would continue to encourage startups with focus on using digital platform for their successful incubation.
He said the University of California had agreed in-principle to take space at Startup Village housed in the Technology Research and Innovation Park (TRIP) at Rushikonda.
A Nasscom startup warehouse is likely to become a reality as the State Government will allot space to it in the TRIP. Nasscom will provide its space for incubation on daily and weekly basis to startups for six months.
The Centre has also plans to set up a research lab for Internet of Things at TRIP to ensure a comprehensive ecosystem for startups – which is lacking in the city despite so much of hype over startup fever.
Chairman of Kochi Startup Village Sanjay Vijayakumar told The Hindu that with the changing scenario there was no point in physically incubating startups at Sunrise Startup Village.
Justifying handing over possession of Startup Village to Innovation Society, he said, “This allows the Society to manage the physical infrastructure which is similar to how the physical infrastructure is managed by the Kerala Startup Mission in Kochi.”
He said the Centre had approved their proposal for scaling incubation by creating the digital incubator for the students at the campus level.