Skip to main content

Nirma Labs: An incubator that advertises and charges fees

While the incubation programs at several of the country's business schools are figuring out their model, NirmaLabs, located in the Ahmedabad, Gujarat based Nirma University campus, has come up with an unique model that actively seeks out and markets itself aggressively to entrepreneurs. NirmaLabs is taking out prominent advertisements campaign in leading business magazines as part of its efforts to seek out "individuals (and) groom them to be a global player in select high tech fields, and incubate them to create viable high tech ventures by providing a nurturing environment and needed support."

More from the NirmaLabs web site:
NirmaLabs is a not-for-profit Section 25 Company set up by Nirma Education and Research Foundation (NERF). NirmaLabs has been established with an objective to nurture talented individuals in their pursuit of high-tech, knowledge-based wealth generation. NirmaLabs has a corpus of over Rs. 5 crores earmarked to incubate promising individuals and projects. The Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, has decided to support NirmaLabs as one of their Technology Business Incubators...

Selection ProcedureEntrepreneurially inclined bright engineering / science graduates or MBA with 2-3 years of experience, aspiring to make a mark in the high-tech arena are eligible. M.Tech/M.E. without experience are also eligible. Individuals with a remarkable academic record, sound technical knowledge, good business sense, conviction and strong perseverance are identified through a specially devised selection procedure. Freshers with outstanding achievements may also be considered.

Financial Structuring
..Each project funding will be treated as a loan to the project from NirmaLabs. Repayment of the loans by the incubated ventures will sustain NirmaLabs’ activities and reduce the need for recurring funds.

As the concept of NirmaLabs is based on grooming individuals and not specific ideas, direct candidates are expected to pay for the grooming exercise (Rs. 50,000), and also for use of facilities, lodging and boarding (Approximately Rs. 46,000).

The rights to intellectual property, for NirmaLabs funded projects belong to NirmaLabs and will be assigned to the start-up company when it is venture financed. When a NirmaLabs funded project is ready to be spun-off as a “start-up” company, the equity structure will be as shown below:

The other unique feature of NirmaLabs is the concept of a “Pool Company” to create a mechanism to share success. The Pool Company has a 5% equity in every start-up company incubated/funded by NirmaLabs. Every start-up company is given equity in the Pool Company. As the number of incubated enterprises grows, this pool will become larger. Thus, any enterprise which makes it big will yield more gains for the rest of NirmaLabs incubated start-ups.

* The NirmaLabs' "Grooming Program" curriculum:
1. Entrepreneurship: Madhu Mehta
2. High-tech Entrepreneurship: B H Jajoo
3. Creating Entrepreneurial Organizations: K Thyagrajan
4. Challenges of Entrepreneurship: Madhu Mehta
5. Designing Break-through Products: Madhu Mehta
6. High-tech Marketing: B H Jajoo
7. Entrepreneurial Finance: Vishnu Varshney & Bharat Kanani
8. Emerging technology trends in ICT: Saumil Shah & B H Jajoo
9. Legal aspects of global business: M C Gupta
10. High-growth strategies: B H Jajoo & Madhu Mehta
11. Intrapreneurship:. B H Jajoo
12. Business Ethics: K Thyagrajan
13. Managing with a global mindset: K Thyagrajan

“What brought me to NirmaLabs was my desire to start something on my own. After my studies I was struggling to freeze on the right idea and then to take the initial steps to make a business out of it. I would honestly recommend NirmaLabs to anyone, who passionately wants to become an entrepreneur. I feel the grooming here will allow a person to select the right idea, plan well for the idea and take it to commercialization in the best possible way. My grooming here will help me avoid many of the early mistakes that kill early entrepreneurial ventures,” the web site quotes Madhukar Pai, a graduate from the first batch of NirmaLab's "Grooming Program".

NirmaLabs is currrently conducting roadshows across major cities in India to enroll entrepreneurs for its second batch.

UPDATE: Business Standard has an article about the NirmaLabs program.

Arun Natarajan is the Editor of TSJ Media, which tracks venture capital activity in India and Indian-founded companies worldwide. View sample issues of TSJ Media's Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.

Popular posts from this blog

How I Raised Funding - Priyanka Agarwal, Wishberry

You have to be confident and shameless while crowdfunding. Priyanka Agarwal, Wishberry shares on how to succeed in crowd funding with Venture Intelligence in this  interview. Priyanka also candidly shares how the team built Wishberry, raised funding from top angel investors like Rajan Anandan, on pivoting, and difficulties in raising capital for entrepreneurs operating in niche spaces not chased by VCs. Q: What does Wishberry do?Priyanka Agarwal: In its latest avatar, Wishberry has pivoted into crowd financing of low budget films (INR 1-5 Cr). We are essentially trying to create an internet platform for investment opportunities for HNIs in films including Marathi, Tamil, Kannada, or films targeting the global diaspora.

L-R: Co-founders Anshulika Dubey & Priyanka Agarwal, Wishberry Given that you are building a marketplace, how did Wishberry solve the Chicken and Egg problem? Beyond the “all or nothing” model what did Wishberry do to pull in more artistes and investors? First, you…

Interview with One97's Vijay Shekhar Sharma

Venture Intelligence featured an interview with Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder & Managing Director of One97 Communications as part of the July issue of the US-IVCA / Venture IntelligenceIndia VC report. One97 is one of the pioneering start-ups in the Indian Mobile VAS space and recently raised its first round of funding led by SAIF Partners.

Some extracts from the interview:

VI: How were you funding the company until now?
VSS: We were the first company to put a revenue sharing model in place with operators. That gave us recurring revenue and made the company cash positive.

VI: What were your challenges in fund raising?
VSS: Two challenges: first, deciding on the network the fund could provide and second, the kind of size commitment they can make for future investments. A third factor was the comfort with the VC: what kind of team it was, the chemistry between team members, the kind of person who will come onto our board. The VC on the board becomes your everyday business partner.

V…

Think Big! - By Sanjay Anandaram

I remember reading an Akbar and Birbal tale many years ago. In this story, Akbar and Birbal wager on something. Akbar tells Birbal that if he (i.e. Akbar) loses, he could give Birbal as much gold as he wanted since he was the emperor, but what would Birbal give Akbar if he lost? Birbal said that if he lost, the first person who comes to the royal durbar the day after the loss would be asked to name the highest number he could think of. And Birbal would give Akbar as many gold coins as the number mentioned. Sure enough, Akbar wins and asks Birbal to prepare himself for the following day when he’d have to pay Akbar a huge sum in gold. The next morning, a beggar is the first person to come to the royal durbar and upon being asked to name a big number, says “100”. Birbal with a knowing smile promptly hands over a bag of 100 gold coins to Akbar. He later mentions to Akbar that for someone like a beggar who has to struggle for survival, the sum of 100 gold coins was an unimaginable amount a…