American taxi aggregation company Uber is looking at start-ups with a social impact in the next phase of its mentoring programme. The San Francisco-headquartered company started an exchange programme for start-ups in India earlier this year, coinciding with the Startup India initiative, a flagship scheme of the Narendra Modi government.
On Tuesday, Uber signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with T-Hub, a Telengana-based incubator, for partnering with UberExchange, its global mentorship programme.
Under the MoU, 20 start-ups will be short-listed through the existing networks of Uber and T-Hub. T-Hub will invite applications from start-ups through an online process.
Other American companies such as Amazon and Intel, too, offer similar programmes.
“I exchanged cards with the CEOs of all the start-ups in T-Hub and I will mentor them all,” Uber Asia Business Head Eric Alexander said after conducting a session.
Mentoring start-ups is one of the promises Uber's Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick made to Modi, when they met in the US last September.
As part of this commitment, Uber will provide mentorship for start-ups on matters such as funding, marketing, operations and scalability.
To begin with, 10 start-ups will be taken to San Francisco by January 2017 for further exposure at Uber. They would be introduced to global investors.
“Every one that built Uber had a mentor in life and we are here to give back by mentoring start-ups. We built a very successful and great business in India and the governments have been incredibly generous to us,” Alexander said.
Responding to a question, he said regulatory freedom in states like Telangana has helped the company grow. Uber has a technology development centre in Hyderabad that employs 2,000 people.
This centre develops crucial solutions that are being used across all the businesses of Uber globally, Alexander said.
He added that issues like surge pricing would not come in the way of forging a bigger partnership with the people of India.