Research can trigger deeptech startups?6 years ago Ramesh Loganathan
Great to see the steadily increasing startups traction in the city. More startups. Well experienced/enabled founders. Better curated ideas. Good market connect. Clear revenue focus. This year we will see many of these hit the knee if the growth curve. But..
So few startups that have a product coming out of deep research or a unique innovation. Why is this so? Just in this city we have so many research based academic institutions, CSIR and defense research labs, R&D of product companies. And a good amount of research prima factor does have real world uses. And yet so few products coming out of these research centers.
Of course the primary ground reality is that the researchers or professors have chosen to be in academic research as that is what excites them. And it is an industry function to get products out. But without the intersection, unlikely that deep tech and research IP based products would come out. How to bridge this gap?
Easiest will be if a startup (or a corp) has a product idea that needs research inputs and the startup meets the lab, era it and build product. Voila! 🙂 but things never this straightforward. Often startups are not clear exactly what deep research h inputs are needed. And researchers are not clear about the market view, specific needs and positioning.
Now a more lovely possibility is if a member of the research team has entrepreneurial inclination and is willing to productise the research. This is how some of the best products come out. When the researcher itself turns into the entrepreneur. But this is such a rarity.
An alternative approach would be if the startup works closely with the research lab to jointly work on the product. Startup comes with the market and customer view. And researchers come in with the deep tech and IP. And collocate to create the deeptech product. Basically co-innovate.
Yet another way would be if a tech entrepreneurs were to come out to a research lab for an immersive stint to understand the research IP and look for fitting market product opportunities. And both work with the lab to create the market MVP product, And with some basic field validation, hive the product into a startup with the research institution and team holding equity. Basically the EIR (Entrepreneur In research) model. An exercise commissioned by the research lab
At IIIT Hyderabad, apart from above one other endeavor underway is to have product seeding in deeptech workshops. An extended deeptech how-to workshop, where teams bring their own project: product (BYOP). And all hands-on exercises in the workshop are on the participants projects. Say if someone is building an NLP solution, join the NLP work shops organized by NLP researchers and in that build the first version of the solution.
Surely status quo is not going to get us many deeptech products. We have to disrupt to move towards and active productization of research. Every possible way must be explored enabled and attempted. Am sure we will see results in hyderabad.