IIT-Madras Launches Research Centre on Start-ups, Risk Financing

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The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has launched a ‘Centre for Research on Start-Ups and Risk Financing’ (CREST) to provide academic and thought leadership in innovation, entrepreneurship, and risk capital.

The centre would also create a data repository on Indian start-ups and ventures to address major hurdles for engaging in high-quality research. This information resource would be made accessible for researchers and policymakers that can result in top-tier publications.

Several pojects and studies have already been initiated by CREST including role and effect of corporate venture capital investments: Evidence from Indian Corporations, performance of start-up incubators: do host organizations matter?, and entrepreneurship at the grassroots: challenges faced by rural women entrepreneurs of Tamil Nadu.

CREST aims at pursuing research in the areas of creation, development, and financing of innovation, start-ups, and entrepreneurship. Cross country collaborative research, said the IIT. The creation of entrepreneurship-specific language models will facilitate a better understanding of the entities in the ecosystem while facilitating the use of the latest research in AI, ML to generate new insights, the institute claims.

“With risk capital investment in Indian technology start-ups touching $68 Billion (₹4,76,000 crore approx) in the period between 2011-20, academic research and thought leadership can play an important role in sustaining and furthering this growth in entrepreneurship,” said IIT in an official statement.

Prof. Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School, delivered the inaugural keynote lecture. He said, “There is a need to build trust between scientists and business leaders. Amazing technology is coming out of the labs but the condition to get the maximum out of such innovations is not there.”

Providing an overview of CREST, Prof. A. Thillai Rajan, Principal Investigator, CREST, IIT Madras, and Faculty, Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras, said, “The role of higher education institutions in the area of start-ups and entrepreneurship is four-fold. The first is the creation of intellectual property that can be commercialized through start-ups. The second is to train for entrepreneurship through various formal and unstructured programs. The third is to provide a nurturing environment for start-ups by setting up incubators and providing access to various facilities to young start-ups. The fourth is to generate insights through rigorous research that can inform and guide policymaking and practice.”

Further, Prof. Thillai Rajan said, “While substantial progress has been achieved in the first three, much needs to be done on the fourth. CREST is a big step in that direction.”

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