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Facebook to expand innovation hubs for AR, VR tech to groom start-ups

Facebook has set up an innovation hub in Hyderabad in partnership with T-Hub, and is looking for tie-ups in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru to build hubs in these cities

Karan Choudhury  |  New Delhi 

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In a bid to reach out to more start-ups and create India-first tech solutions, social media giant Facebook is planning to launch three more innovation hubs for Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies.

The company said it was also focusing on providing a platform to developers through its initiative named Developer Circles, which has around 50,000 members in 15 cities. It is planning to expand to 100,000 developers in 20 cities by June 2019.

Facebook has set up an innovation hub in Hyderabad in partnership with T-Hub, and is looking for tie-ups in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru to build hubs in these cities. In almost a year, the company has mentored 200 start-ups in various fields and plans to expand the number next year.

“Within this year, we have worked closely with over 200 start-ups through our programmes India Innovation Hub, SheLeadsTech and Code for the Next Billion, to help them build better products and grow their businesses. Our initiatives seek to empower India's start-up ecosystem; be it helping them with the use of emerging technologies like AR/VR, giving women-led start-ups the right channels, or supporting companies that are building solutions for social impact,” said Satyajeet Singh, head of Platform Partnerships, Face­book India and South Asia.

The firm said with the initiatives such as SheL­eadsTech, it would target women entrepreneurs in tier 2 cities such as Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, Bhubaneswar, Guwahati, and Shillong to help convert ideas into start-ups.

Amitabh Kant, chief executive officer, NITI Aayog, said regulation would always be far behind innovation. “It is very important for policymakers to really draft regulatory regimes, which keep abreast of all the innovations that happen in the society. If you look at a vast number of start-ups across India, within the tech sector, cutting edge technology is being used to enable India to leapfrog technology.”

Recently Facebook, in a bid to consolidate its presence in India amid calls to curb fake news and other sinister campaigns on social media platforms, announced appointment of Ajit Mohan, CEO of popular video-streaming platform Hotstar, as managing director and vice president, Facebook India.

Set to begin his Facebook innings early next year, Mohan will be responsible for driving Facebook’s overall strategy and continued investment in India where it has over 270 million users, reporting directly to the Menlo Park- (California)-based headquarter and not to the Asia Pacific team.

First Published: Wed, October 10 2018. 05:33 IST
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