Hyderabad-based T-Hub incubator scales up operations, widens outreach

Visual from T-Hub website

Three years after its inception, Hyderabad-based start-up incubator T-Hub has managed to scale up its operations and outreach, connecting start-ups and corporate entities to encourage more innovation.

With 16 corporate partnerships having been formed through various programmes, $64 million has been raised in funding so far through T-Hub’s corporate innovation division (CID).

Having started as a co-working space in 2015 November, the incubator has come a long way, given that it has big names such as Facebook Inc, HSBC, YES Bank, etc working (or worked) with T-Hub (or startups in it).

“What’s happening for us is that a lot of corporations are becoming intrigued and interested in working with startups to leverage the kind of innovation that are coming from these small entities,” T-Hub chief executive officer Ravi Narayan told Mint.

Narayan said the future for innovation will likely be a combination of start-ups and research coming from universities that will create some very innovative solutions going forward.

“So we have now a whole set of programmes for corporate innovation itself. As of now, four or five corporate companies are resident in T-Hub,” he added. The innovation varies from a wide range of subjects like fintech (financial technology) to artificial intelligence (AI).

Some of the CID programmes are T-Hub and Facebook’s ‘India Innovation Hub Accelerator Program’ and the ‘YES Fintech Accelerator’. Under the former, launched in 2018, the idea was to help start-ups focus on using emerging technologies by providing support and mentorship to accelerate their businesses in new and innovative ways, for which a cohort of nine start-ups focused on VR were selected.

Similarly, the YES Bank’s ‘YES Fintech Accelerator’ programme, launched in partnership with T-Hub and Anthill, with Let’s Talk Payments as a knowledge, was designed to create a platform for the bank and fintech startups to co-create innovative solutions and together take the solution to the bank’s vast retail and corporate customer database.

“We were part of the 11 startups YES Bank shortlisted for its programme and credit goes to T-Hub for bringing YES Bank as an organization to a startup like us,” said K. K. Jain, representing Anytimeloan (anytimeloan.in), a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) registered online peer-to-peer platform which enables borrowers to take loans from individual lenders from across the country.

Jain’s platform leverages technology and connects lenders with curated eligible borrowers so that the former gets the complete interest a borrower is paying.

“We curate and evaluate a borrower based on our patented tech and our revenue comes only when the borrower returns back the money. What we did with YES Bank is that we started expending them to give small and medium enterprises business loans (for smaller amounts). The bank leveraged on our assessment model, and we helped them discover a new (business) model,” explained Jain.

Other big companies that have worked with start-ups through the CID programme are American chipset maker Qualcomm, the elevator division of United Technologies Corporation Otis, HSBC Holdings Plc, etc.

Apart from the CID, T-Hub has worked with 1,443 start-ups through mentorship, connects and programmes. So far, 457 startups have been incubated at T-Hub, and startups from the first cohort of Lab32 (an incubation programme for early-stage tech product startups) have created over 2,000 jobs and raised over 112 crore in total.

Narayan also said big corporations are now looking to create open platforms so that their internal tech teams can work closely with other innovation teams. “They are saying that everything that has to be built for the next system can come from a combination of inside and outside (collaboration). As of now, 4-5 corporations are resident here and we are adding more,” he added.

This article was first published on livemint.com