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IT Ministry, Meta to fund 40 start-ups working in extended reality tech

The programme will give Rs 20 lakh each to the start-ups and it will include a challenge aimed at promoting XR

IT ministry | Metaverse | Startups

BS Reporter  |  Mumbai 

The programme would encourage investments in education, learning and skills, healthcare, gaming and entertainment, agritech, climate action, tourism and sustainability

The ministry on Tuesday launched a programme in collaboration with Meta Platforms Inc., the parent company of Facebook, to support 40 early-stage Indian start-ups in extended reality technology (XR).

The programme will give Rs 20 lakh each to the start-ups and it will include a challenge aimed at promoting XR, a term that refers to immersive technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality, which are regarded as the building blocks of the .

“The innovators (participating in Grand Challenge) will be provided support to upscale from the R&D phase to developing workable products and services. At first 80 innovators will be shortlisted to attend a boot camp, out of which, a total of 16 innovators will be provided grants of Rs 20 lakhs each and further support to help them develop Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or prototypes,” the ministry said in a statement.

The programme would encourage investments in education, and skills, healthcare, and entertainment, agritech, climate action, tourism and sustainability, it said.

'XR Startup Program' is supported by Meta’s XR Programs and Research Fund, a two-year $50 million investment in external research with industry partners, civil rights groups, governments, non-profits, and academic institutions.

“India will play a pivotal role in defining future technologies. Decisions and investments made here in India now shape global discussions on how technology can deliver more economic opportunities and better outcomes for people. It is critical that we help to create an ecosystem that will enable India’s tech and innovators to build the foundations of the metaverse,” said Joel Kaplan, vice president, global policy, Meta.

The XR Startup Program will be implemented by four institutions: International Institute of – Hyderabad Foundation (CIE IIIT-H), Sikkim’s AIC SMU Technology Business Incubation Foundation (AIC-SMUTBI), Gujarat University Startup and Entrepreneurship Council (GUSEC), and Foundation for and Technology Transfer (FITT), IIT Delhi.

According to a study by Analysis Group, the is estimated to add $240 billion or 4.6 per cent to India’s GDP by 2031.

“Immersive technologies like XR have the power to transform the digital landscape and can have significant economic benefits for the country. I look forward to the collaboration with Meta and I hope it provides the necessary impetus towards fuelling the growth of investments in future technologies in line with the government's vision for making India a trillion-dollar economy by 2025,” said Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics and .

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First Published: Tue, September 13 2022. 22:06 IST