DBT and BIRAC pledge to participate in the IIM-A’s Bharat Innovation Fund

The Department of Biotechnology and Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) pledged to participate in the Bharat Innovation Fund set up by IIM Ahmedabad’s CIIE to support innovative startups in real economy sectors


The Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT), along with the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), today announced its participation in the Bharat Innovation Fund. This fund, launched by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in September 2014 during the Startup Konnect event in California, will support innovation and innovative startups in areas of healthcare and life-sciences, sustainability, and digital technologies.

The DBT will engage with the Bharat Fund, as part of DBT’s efforts under the Startup India initiative, to help commercialize technologies from its labs and facilities, while also mentoring startups in the healthcare, agri-tech, and other biotech-related areas. The DBT will also invest Rs. 50 crore over the next 3 years to support startups through this Fund.

Dr K VijayRaghavan, Secretary of the DBT, said “Productive innovations from the department of biotechnology can make a huge impact in people’s lives, as has been seen in the advances of medicine in recent years. The DBT is committed to doing citizen-oriented research and to commercializing its research, especially through new startups that can identify market opportunities to serve the masses. We think the IIM A-CIIE’s initiative in setting up Bharat Innovation Fund will provide crucial support for innovative startups that can bring the benefits of innovation to the broader populations. We hope this partnership will lead to rapid commercialization of Indian science for Indian citizens, through Indian startups. These efforts will leverage the experience of BIRAC and will foster exciting innovations”

Kunal Upadhyay, CEO of CIIE, noted that “CIIE’s experience since 2007 in nurturing Indian startups will be critical to the next phase of Indian entrepreneurship, when entrepreneurs identify needs of the both rural and urban Indian citizens, and provide products and services in critical sectors such as healthcare, sustainability, and digital services. The Bharat Innovation Fund will use important tools such as labs, mentorship, funding, and networking to support entrepreneurs who take on hard challenges of an ever-broadening Indian market.”

Mudit Narain, vice-president at CIIE, mentioned that “Innovation-led economic development in a modern knowledge economy requires equal and consistent support from the public and private sectors. This Fund is an effort by one of India’s leading academic institutes to bring together public and private resources, such as experts, finances and labs, to provide the fertile ground for innovation that will seed the Indian multinationals of the next few decades. Our ambition for the Bharat Fund is to provide result-oriented support for innovators and entrepreneurs who want to solve the hard problems of India’s citizens in areas such as healthcare, sustainability, etc, and then take those solutions to the world. The DBT’s participation in the Bharat Fund is proof of the Government of India’s commitment to Indian science, technology, innovation, and most importantly, Indian entrepreneurship.”

Since its launch in the Startup Konnect event, the Bharat Fund has received pledges from several government and corporate entities, such as the Department of Industrial Promotion and Policy (DIPP), Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Tata Trusts, and others. It is expected to be operational later this year, and provide a range of support to Indian startups tackling real challenges.