MeitY and Meta Launch XR Startup Program

Article By : PIB India

MeitY and Meta have launched an accelerator program to support and accelerate XR technology startups across India.

MeitY Startup Hub (MSH), an initiative of the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), and Meta have launched an accelerator program to support and accelerate extended reality (XR) technology startups across India.

The XR Startup Program focuses on skilling and building technological capabilities for the metaverse, and will help shape the ecosystem for these emerging technologies, including augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in the country.

“It is an important day in terms of achieving Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of making the next 10 years as India’s Techade – full of opportunities for young Indians. It is also an important milestone in area of Metaverse which is an important part of emerging future of the internet. I look forward to the collaboration with Meta and I hope it provides the necessary impetus towards fueling the growth of investments in future technologies in line with the government vision for making India a trillion-dollar economy by 2025,” said Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology, and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship.

Speaking on how the Digital India Program launched in 2015 has transformed citizens lives, governance and democracy, catalyzed India’s digital economy, and created significant capabilities in emerging technologies, the Minister said India is no longer going to be a consumer of technology but become a leader in producing emerging technologies.

Emphasizing on the potential of Indian Startups from tier 2/3 cities and how the Narendra Modi government is committed in encouraging them, the Minister further added, “Young Indian Startups, especially from tier 2/3 cities, will play a significant role in emerging tech areas like Web 3.0, blockchain, AI, and metaverse, and will shape the future of technology and the internet for India and the world.”

“India will play a pivotal role in defining future technologies. Decisions and investments made here in India now shape global discussions on how technology can deliver more economic opportunity and better outcomes for people. It is critical that we help to create an ecosystem that will enable India’s tech startups and innovators to build the foundations of the metaverse,” Joel Kaplan, Vice President, Global Policy, Meta, said. He noted the significant strides India has made under the Digital India Program and maintained that Meta is committed to partner with the Indian government in supporting next generation startups in Tier 2/3 cities.

“India is one of the most vibrant market due to its tech talent, entrepreneurial spirit, fast growing startup ecosystem. Technologists from Tier 2/3 cities in India will shape the future of Metaverse,” he added.

The Accelerator Program will support 40 early-stage start-ups working in XR technologies with a grant of Rs20 lakhs each. Further, the Grand Challenge will encourage early-stage innovators in sectors like education, learning and skills, healthcare, gaming and entertainment, agritech, climate action, tourism, and sustainability.

The innovators will be provided support to upscale from the R&D phase to developing workable products and services. At first, 80 innovators will be shortlisted to attend a bootcamp; out of which, a total of 16 innovators will be provided grants of Rs20 lakhs each and further support to help them develop minimum viable product (MVP)/prototypes.

The Accelerator and Grand Challenge will also support start-ups and innovators with establishing customer connections, partnership opportunities and fundraising among other things.

The XR Startup Program will be implemented by four institutions: International Institute of Information Technology – Hyderabad Foundation, Hyderabad, Telangana (CIE IIIT-H); AIC SMU Technology Business Incubation Foundation (AIC-SMUTBI), Rangpo, Sikkim; Gujarat University Startup and Entrepreneurship Council (GUSEC), Ahmedabad, Gujarat; and Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT), IIT Delhi, New Delhi. These institutions will strategically enable the startups across the length and breadth of the country creating a pan India movement in the XR technology space.

The XR Startup Program is supported by Meta’s XR Programs and Research Fund, a two-year $50 million investment in programs and external research with industry partners, civil rights groups, governments, nonprofits and academic institutions.


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