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DST, Intel India, and SINE-IIT Bombay announce the third edition of Plugin, a collaborative incubation program for hardware and systems startups

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The Department of Science & Technology (DST) – Government of India, Intel India, and Society for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (SINE)-IIT Bombay has announced the third edition of Plugin, a one-year collaborative accelerator program for hardware and systems software startups. Eleven startups have been selected from over 200 entries from across the country in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), security and platform to receive mentoring and coaching, access to labs for tools and platforms, technical and financial support, local and international ecosystem connect and visibility.

Plugin aims to address challenges that hardware and systems software startups face with respect to product design, development, commercialization, and scaling their business. The collaborative program facilitates infrastructure and technical support, prototyping, product development and manufacturing connect from Intel India Maker Lab and SINE-IIT Bombay. In the final phase, the startups will be able to showcase their solutions to investors and ecosystem players at a demo day, with the top performing startups also qualifying for post-program funding support.

Nivruti Rai, Country Head, Intel India and VP – Data Platforms Group, Intel Corp said, “Intel continues to be committed to advancing the systems startups (hardware and software) ecosystem in the country in collaboration with the government and academia. Our Intel India Maker Lab incubation program has so far supported over 70 startups in accelerating their innovation journey and scaling their businesses. We have also seen tremendous success with the last two editions of Plugin, with several participating startups having taken their products to market and generating revenue. In its third year, Plugin is supporting startups that are using data-centric technologies to drive innovation in the healthcare, manufacturing, industrial, retail, automotive and banking domains. Together with our collaborators, we are confident that the current batch will make meaningful progress with access to best in class technology infrastructure and expertise.”

Anita Gupta, Scientist – G/ Advisor and Associate Head, NSTEDB, DST, Government of India saidWe are very pleased with the success of the Plugin program over the last three years. We believe the program has made a tangible contribution to the Indian hardware and systems startup ecosystem and continues to attract the best entrepreneurial talent from all over the country. The international collaboration facilitated by the program has enabled startups to start local and go global in their approach. We value our continued collaboration with Intel India and SINE-IIT Bombay in this endeavor as we look to provide the best technical and industry expertise to these startups.”

Poyni Bhatt, CEO, Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE)-IIT Bombay said, “The most important stakeholders in any startup ecosystem are Government, Academia, Industry and Investors. Plugin combines all of them in terms of partnership and program benefits. Plugin being in its 3rd edition, also means that program continues to remain relevant for hardware and systems startups in the country.”

A total of 20 startups were shortlisted from over 200 entries from across India for an initial four-day bootcamp. These focused on innovative applications of emerging technologies such as AI, ML, Internet of Things (IoT), edge computing, among others, in the healthcare, manufacturing, industrial, retail, automotive and banking domains. The final 11 startups were chosen post the initial bootcamp and due diligence, of which eight have customer validated products in the market.

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