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C-CAMP enters agri to back start-ups with farm-transforming initiatives
Monday, 06 August, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
The Centre for Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP), a part of the Bangalore Life Sciences Cluster, has forayed into the agriculture sector to support start-ups with novel initiatives that could transform farms in the country.

It has collaborated with the University of Agriculture Sciences-Bangalore (UAS-B) to set-up the K-Tech Agri Innovation Centre, Karnataka Start-up Advancement Programme (K-SAP-Bio 50) and the K-Tech Technology Business Incubator.

While the K-Tech Agri Innovation Centre and Karnataka Start-up Advancement Programme are on the C-CAMP campus, the K-Tech Technology Business Incubator is located on the UAS-Bangalore campus.

“Agriculture is key for the progress of India. We have being doing a lot of work in identifying deep science ideas among life sciences to succeed early. A lot of developments are happening in biotechnology related to diagnostics, medical and drug discovery,” Taslimarif Saiyed, chief executive officer and director, C-CAMP, told F&B News, at the sidelines of the inauguration of the statewide launch of the three initiatives.

“Now, we realised that such innovation is not happening in the agriculture sector. The  observation is that agnostic to sectors, there are several start-ups with ample potential that are emerging in agriculture. They need funding post the early stage and require deep-dive mentorship to advance them to the next level. Otherwise such promising start-ups are seen to struggle,” he added.

“Funding and incubation allow start-ups to kick off operations. But these are seen to struggle after a while, especially when the business is at a crucial phase and when the future of the start-up is to be decided. That is why C-CAMP is keen to intervene here. The objective is to support them and help them move forward during the decision making stage,” Saiyed said.

“For C-CAMP, it is a maiden effort to focus on the agriculture sector, and it is most appropriate because it is located in the GKVK campus which houses UAS-Bangalore,” he added.

The funding has come in from the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India [which plays a pivotal role in supporting information technology and biotechnology (IT and BT)] and the Karnataka government.

While K-SAP- Bio 50 received a grant worth Rs 4 crore to spur its initiatives, the  K-Tech Technology Business Incubator received about Rs 6 crore. For the K-Tech Agri Innovation Centre, funds are yet to be disbursed.

“We are hoping that in a few years, we will be able to bring out globally transforming agriculture technologies,” Saiyed said.

About six start-ups have approached C-CAMP and been identified to be set up at the K-Tech Agri Innovation Centre. Two calls for incubation are through and now the screening is concluded.

“The inaugural event at C-CAMP campus highlighted the efforts to recognise the previously invisible problems in agriculture and the start-ups are here to provide the much-needed solutions. Over the next three years, C-CAMP is confident to house 50 start-ups,” said Saiyed.
 
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