IIT Madras sets up centre to study Indian startup ecosystem


The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M), has launched a Centre for Research on Start-Ups and Risk Financing (CREST) to kick off research in the field of innovation, entrepreneurship and risk capital, particularly in the startup sector of India.

The institute announced Wednesday that CREST was being set up to engage in scholarly research encompassing the areas of innovation, entrepreneurship, and risk capital. A data repository on Indian startups, ventures and investors will be created and made accessible to startups, investors and policy makers.

“There are several aspects of the Indian startup ecosystem that need to be studied. For example, looking at the factors that are crucial for decision making for investors when they back a startup or examining the mortality among startups to understand what worked for them and what didn’t. While there are many incubators across major educational and research institutes, we aim to also study how effective these incubators have been,” said A Thillai Rajan, principal investigator, CREST, and professor, Department of Management Studies at IIT-M.

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Rajan said such research outputs will help startups, investors as well as policymakers in taking quick decisions. “The role of higher education institutions in the area of start-ups and entrepreneurship is four-fold. The first is the creation of intellectual property that can be commercialised through startups. The second is to train for entrepreneurship through various formal and unstructured programs. The third is to provide a nurturing environment for startups by setting up incubators and providing access to various facilities to young startups. The fourth is to generate insights through rigorous research that can inform and guide policy making and practice. While substantial progress has been achieved in the first three, much needs to be done on the fourth,” Rajan added.

Bhaskar Ramamurthi, director, IIT-Madras, said, “These research initiatives we (IIT Madras) are creating, almost all of them, have very strong international collaborative connections. We are knitting together partnerships with leading groups across the world. We want to have a strong flow of people and ideas. We will have the interactions in online mode till the pandemic gets over.”

Rajan said that while the centre is primarily aimed at research, one of the goals is to increase cross-country research collaborations. “If we find an international collaborator and a need for some courses arises, we may plan such courses as well,” he added.


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