Nass­com, States mull data sci­ence cen­tres

Plans in­clude a cen­tre of ex­cel­lence for cy­ber­se­cu­rity

The Hindu - - BUSINESS - Jay Shankar

The Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Soft­ware and Ser­vices Com­pa­nies (Nass­com), in con­junc­tion with State gov­ern­ments, plans to set up two cen­tres of ex­cel­lence in data sciences and an­other one for cy­ber­se­cu­rity soon, K.S. Vishwanathan, vice president, In­dus­try Ini­tia­tives, said in an in­ter­view on Wed­nes­day.

“Along with the gov­ern­ment of Kar­nataka and gov­ern­ment of Te­lan­gana, we will be an­nounc­ing two cen­tres of ex­cel­lence in data sciences,” Mr. Vishwanathan said. “The process of ex­e­cut­ing these cen­tres is go­ing on in both the states. Both are sup­ported by the Min­istry of Elec­tron­ics and In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy.”

“The Cen­ter of Ex­cel­lence for IoT (In­ter­net of Things) will be ex­panded to three other cen­tres. The lo­ca­tion will be de­cided by the Gov­ern­ment. An­other Cen­ter of Ex­cel­lence will get es­tab­lished in Kar­nataka on cy­ber­se­cu­rity,” he said. “We are also open­ing a cen­tre in Gu­ru­gram soon.”

The Cen­ter of Ex­cel­lence is an ini­tia­tive started in 2013 to build up an ecosys­tem in In­dia to con­nect var­i­ous en­ti­ties such as start-ups, en­ter­prises, ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists, Gov­ern­ment and academia. It is sup­ported by the fed­eral and State gov­ern­ments.

“The main ob­jec­tive of the cen­tre is to help In­dian start-ups lever­age lat­est tech­nol­ogy to build mar­ke­tready prod­ucts.”

‘No. 3 in 4 years’

“Be­fore we em­barked on the pro­gramme, coun­tries like Is­rael, China, Canada, Hong Kong and U.K — all of them had got the start-up mo­men­tum.,” Mr. Vishwanathan said. “U.S. is the largest with about 60,000 start-ups. Within a span of four years, we have emerged among the top three. We are close to num­ber two with U.K. This year we should pos­si­bly over­take U.K.”

Ac­cord­ing to Nass­com, 27% of the start-ups are based in Ban­ga­lore and about 24% each in North­ern re­gion (NCR) and West­ern re­gion (Mum­bai, Pune). “The bal­ance is scat­tered.”

In the ini­tial phase, 60% of the start-ups were in the busi­ness-to-con­sumer and 40% in busi­ness-to-busi­ness cat­e­gory. In B2C, a bulk of them were in the e-com­merce seg­ment, mo­bil­ity com­merce, and In­ter­net com­merce, ac­cord­ing to Nass­com.

“Now the equa­tion has changed. Sixty per­cent is in B2B and 40% in B2C. B2B is also sup­ported by tech­nolo­gies like IoT, AI, en­ter­prise ready start-ups and blockchain,” he said.

‘Im­pacted 3,000’

In­dia has about 6,000 star­tups and close to 140 ac­cel­er­a­tors and in­cu­ba­tors. Both cor­po­rate, pri­vate and gov­ern­ment ac­cel­er­a­tors put to­gether have reg­is­tered a 35% year-on-year growth last year and Nass­com ex­pects the growth rate to be main­tained this fis­cal year too.

“In the coun­try there are close to about 30,000-seats that got cre­ated in start-up ac­cel­er­a­tion ac­tiv­ity. And ven­ture cap­i­tal in­vest­ment has also dras­ti­cally gone up. Gov­ern­ment of In­dia has come out with a start-up policy. Ev­ery state gov­ern­ment has a start-up policy. On the whole..., we have im­pacted 3,000 start-ups against the goal of 10,000 in 10 years.

“Our es­ti­mate is that, last year, ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist spend was $4.2 bil­lion for start-ups in In­dia. In the pre­vi­ous fis­cal, it was $3.8 bil­lion. Our pro­grammes are also un­der­go­ing a change and we are rein­vent­ing our­selves for the next five years,” Mr. Vishwanathan said. In­dia is on the verge of cash­ing in on “a big op­por­tu­nity” in start-ups as the world is in­creas­ingly be­com­ing “app-based.”

“We be­lieve we have a unique po­si­tion. If In­dia’s own prob­lems can be solved by apps or start-up so­lu­tions, say, in wa­ter-re­lated or garbage-re­lated or ed­u­ca­tion-re­lated ar­eas, that so­lu­tion can be used for ev­ery part of sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa, where peo­ple can­not af­ford tech­nol­ogy which West­ern coun­tries can. The op­por­tu­nity is huge,” ac­cord­ing to Mr. Vishwanathan.

Start­ing to count: About 27% of start-ups are in Bengaluru and about 24% each in the north­ern and west­ern re­gions.

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