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Trace opportunities from crises, Kris tells startup founders

KSUM’s two-day Seeding Kerala commences

Kris Gopalakrishnan

Infosys Co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan, who is also Chairman of Axilor Ventures, today said that startup entrepreneurs should be able to trace the best opportunities from unexpected crises.

Delivering the inaugural address of the sixth edition of ‘Seeding Kerala’, Shri Gopalakrishnan said that opportunities come with crises and startup founders must see how they can leverage the emerging new business models.

“We saw acceleration in the digital technology during the pandemic. We have also seen opportunities like working-from- home, focus on healthy living and digital content etc. during the Covid-19. It’s high time we leveraged emerging trends and technology,” he said setting the context for the two-day the virtual event.

Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) is holding the event that aims at better awareness about angel investment and encourage funding by high net-worth individuals (HNIs).

On the startup ecosystem in the state, Shri Gopalakrishnan said, “Kerala has more than 2,000 startups, which shows that around five percent of India’s startups are in the state. This is good number for us to grow.” 

“Kerala has been very strong in traditional model of agriculture. To get the benefit for farmers, we should be able to eliminate intermediate people while taking the produce from farm to ports. New models have to be embraced in agriculture where there are plenty of opportunities,” Shri Gopalakrishnan said. 

“The Cyberpark in Kozhikode has hit a milestone of 100-plus firms in four years. There were concerns about how we can create an ecosystem in the district. But we have been able to create a robust ecosystem,” he said.

Referring to  startups from non-metros, Shri Gopalakrishnan also highlighted the stupendous success of startups like Techgentsia, Jackfruit 365, and GenRobotics that have come with unusual ideas. “These are a few examples of success from Kerala, where interesting startups are coming up.”

Citing the ban on Chinese apps, he said that the government itself is creating opportunities by providing room for the growth of Indian apps. 

Delivering the presidential address, Shri Mohammed Y Safirulla, IAS, Additional Secretary, Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of Kerala, said “The government of Kerala has taken a decentralized approach for the growth of startup ecosystem in the state. Incubation facilities will be increased to five lakh sqft this year.”

Shri Safirulla said that despite the pandemic, around 26 startups were able to raise Rs 400 crore.  

Mr Riyas. P.M, Project Director, KSUM, welcomed the gathering.

‘Seeding Kerala’ will focus on start-up ecosystems beyond the country’s metropolises and tier-1 cities. Conceived in tune with Startup Bharat, it will strive to generate investments in second-rung cities and towns.

With 150 participants from across the state, the virtual event also accommodates 100 HNIs, 20 top investment funds, 14 angel networks, 30 startup entrepreneurs and as many corporate houses.

The event seeks to bring new HNIs as angel investors to Kerala, channel leading investors from other ecosystems to the state and to seed investments to the startups in the state. Besides boosting investor-entrepreneur interactions, there will be presentation of ideas to float startups and analyses of business models.

The event will give 30 select firms a chance to interact with experts at KSUM’s Investor Café — the monthly virtual one-on-one startup-investor meet.

KSUM, the nodal agency of the Kerala Government for entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in the state, undertakes planning, establishment and management of technology business incubators and accelerators so as to promote technology-based ventures by creating the infrastructure and environment.

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