INTERVIEW – SANJEEV CHOPRA, CEO AT ELECTROPRENEUR PARK
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Q1. What are the recent developments at Electropreneur Park?
Electropreneur Park is only in the second year of operation and is currently incubating 11 start-ups developing ESDM based product and solutions. We concluded the “Season 3” selection process in the month of April 2017 and added 3 start-ups under Incubation program and few under pre-incubation program. The pre-incubation program was introduced to support the start-ups with great idea but not a validated proof of concept. These startups under pre-incubation are given access to the lab facility at Electropreneur Park to develop and demonstrate the implementation of the “Idea”. One such company which has successfully demonstrated and has now entered the Incubation program in June 2017 is EVI technologies in the field of electric vehicle charging stations. Few of the Incubated startups have now successfully launched the product and reached a revenue stage.
Q2. How is your incubator fostering ESDM start-ups?
Our program is primarily focused on start-ups working in the ESDM domain. An ESDM start-up necessarily needs a set of instruments to develop a fully functional product. Electropreneur Park has invested in a state of the art Power and RF lab for use by the Incubated start-ups. The start-up is also provided free office space, mentoring by successful entrepreneurs, Industry leaders and subject matter experts as part of the Incubation program. Electropreneur Park not only help these start-ups in development of successful product, refining of the business model, introduction to Industry and investors but also supports the start-ups in various market outreach activities through sponsored participation in relevant events.
Q3.On a national level how do you see efforts around incubation? What role is Electropreneur Park playing in the ecosystem?
We see a tremendous focus in the area of supporting the star-tups by central and state governments. Various engineering and management institutes have already started or are in the process of establishing Incubation facility with the support from Ministry of Electronics & Information technology and state govts. Besides this, many acceleration programs have been launched by venture capitalist for structured mentoring and support to promising startups. Electropreneur Park has entered into MoU.s with many such centers in the Ecosystem to increase the reach and support to the startup.
Q4.What kind of monetary/ non-monetary support do you offer to your incubatees? Give us some insights on the achievements of your incubatees.
An ESDM startup would generally need to invest 5 to 10 lakh capital in purchase of the test equipment required for development of product. In case a start-up joins our Incubation program the start-up saves this capital expenditure and uses our established lab facility which includes not only the testing facility but also PCB fabrication and 3D printing facility. The office space is provided free of cost and adds to a substantial saving for the start-up. We have also received CSR funding from Industry which is used to reimburse part of the prototyping expenses of the startup.
Few of the Incubated start-ups have already developed the product and while others are completing the prototypes and field trials. The startups at Electropreneur Park have already filed seven patents and have a collective order booking of around 6 cr. as on date.
Q5.Please elaborate on the benefits which EP is lending to other telecom or IT companies?
As many of our ESDM start-ups are working in the IOT space, we expect few of them to eventually become global player. These startups shall finally not only be a user of the service from large Telecom and IT companies but few of these may also collaborate or offer technology product to the large established telecom or IT companies in near future.
Q6. What are some of the few things you are doing different this year? How do you rate EP’s performance?
Considering only 14 months of operation of Electropreneur Park, we have been able to achieve substantial success in terms of nurturing the Incubated startups. As few startups are now already at revenue stage, we are reaching out to various Angel Investors and Venture capitalist to facilitate the funding. One of the startup has already received funding of 1.5Cr, while few others are at an advanced stage of discussions. External funding or revenue growth of startups is desired for successful exit these startups in next few months.
Q7. What do you hope to accomplish in 2018?
As we expect few start-ups to graduate and exit early 2018, we shall be launching the “season 4” selection process and would also like to get on-board remotely located startups in tier 2 or tier 3 cities.