Evolution of Open Innovation Ecosystems

There is a lot written about the need for Innovation in every sphere and corporates have been spending significant amount of time, effort and money to design, evolve and sustain such effort in order to achieve desired outcomes. Till recent past, Innovation stayed within the four walls of corporate world as it was considered to be the key differentiator, giving them the competitive edge. In the last few years, the concept of ‘Open Innovation’ has picked up pace as more and more corporates started opening their doors to working with entities outside their ‘boundaries’. Engaging with ‘Open Innovation Ecosystems’ [and T-Hub is one such entity] takes the narrative to the next orbit, which is to imagine, design and create the future through multiple ‘collaboration touch-points’, all of this made possible ‘by design’ to a large extent. 

Collaborations – Key to value creation!

The collaborations between corporates and startups by fostering innovation, creating dynamic ecosystems, are resulting in disruptive changes and propelling industries forward with unprecedented speed and agility. Startups, characterized by their agility and fresh perspectives, inject a spirit of exploration and risk-taking. They challenge the status quo, pushing boundaries to unveil novel solutions.

The Corporates, on the other hand, leverage their experiences and resources, bring stability, scalability, and industry insight. For the corporates, its essential to partner with startups to stay ahead of technological trend curves, both for growing their market shares and enhancing their competitive edge in an ever-evolving business landscape. Such collaborations not only enable corporates to tap into the innovative spirit and agility of startups but also facilitates the adoption of cutting-edge technologies, ultimately positioning them as industry leaders with a forward-thinking approach.

When these two forces converge a synergy unfolds that transcends the conventional realms of innovation. A case in point, one of the largest Oil & Gas majors that used to train its new employees working on under-sea maintenance and operations of pipelines and rigs, re-imagined their ways of training and engaging employees, by switching to a cutting edge AR/VR solution, created by a startup which created real-time experience for these employees by using geological and refinery data, providing safe and remotely-administered training, and site inspections with real-time asset data.

Another startup working closely with the Automobile Industry leaders, provides a computer vision and IoT based solution for predictive maintenance. They use digital signal processing to analyze sensor data and machine learning technologies for data inference & analysis. They offer end-to-end solutions to capture, label, process, and deliver results through Acoustic ML, Touch ML & Vision ML – solving some of the critical problems in the manufacturing assembly lines.

Such examples abound across other sectors too – Aerospace, Agri, Banking, Consumer Goods, Defence, Ecommerce, FinTech, Digital Health, Logistics and Supply Chain, MedTech and Pharma. If one overlays such innovations with advanced technologies like gen AI, blockchain & web 3, Immersive tech and edge computing the possibilities are immense.

T-Hub – A unique entity in the Open Innovation Ecosystem

T-Hub, an innovation hub and business incubator, is a testament to the power of open innovation in creating a thriving ecosystem where collaboration between corporations and startups happens seamlessly, shaping the future of entrepreneurship.

Over the past eight years, T-Hub has incubated and accelerated 2,000+ startups and engaged over 200 mentors – they are industry veterans, startup founders and subject mater experts. The cumulative funding raised by T-Hub’s cohort startups has reached USD 2 billion in 2023. Nearly 600 corporations have engaged with this ecosystem in various formats – from running hackathons to executing innovation projects across geographies and sectors. This involved identifying problems and co-creating solutions working with startups. This level of access and network integration is a distinct advantage many incubators often struggle to replicate.

T-Hub has played a pivotal role in this growth, winning the “Best Incubator in India” awards at the National Startup Awards 2022[1] and in 2023. Very few Startup accelerators, with their connections to various investor networks, can offer startups a diverse range of funding options, adding to their appeal.

T-Hub has incubated and accelerated startups across sectors – Mobility, Aerospace & Defence, Healthcare & MedTech, FinTech, Digital Commerce, Manufacturing and Deep Tech. One of the foundational principles that T-Hub has operated on over the years is on enabling ‘startup – industry – academia’ collaborations. This is not about enabling connections but driving outcomes through such collaborations.

T-Bridge – Building Bridges For All Gaps

T-Bridge[2] is T-Hub’s International arm that aims to build innovation bridges across the globe for entrepreneurs to scale. T-Bridge engages mentors, corporates, startups, incubators/accelerators, universities and government organizations across the globe to build these innovation bridges. Programs under T-Bridge target both Indian startups ready to go global and international startups looking for support entering Indian and South-Asian markets.  T-Bridge is a central platform for global corporates, organisations and governments to enter Indian market seamlessly.

T-Hub and AIC – Forging Ecosystems of Startup Support

Collaborating with T-Hub[3], the Atal Incubation Centre (AIC) has established a robust ecosystem to support startups specializing in mobility, health care, semiconductors, sustainability and space tech. For example, within mobility the focus is on startups working in the areas of electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, and smart infrastructure for mobility connectivity. This partnership extends to empowering tech startups to pioneer innovative solutions in last-mile connectivity, shared mobility and other solutions.

Our commitment doesn’t stop there; we are actively fostering startups tackling cutting-edge challenges in AI, Deep Tech, Space tech, sustainability, Fintech, and Defence tech. We support entrepreneurs on the forefront of transforming these sectors with groundbreaking ideas and technologies.

[1] https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/t-hub-bags-best-incubator-in-india-award-from-the-centre/article66384263.ece

[2] https://t-hub.co/programs/t-bridge-international-programs/

[3] https://programs.t-hub.co/mobility/

MATH by The Department of Science and Technology with T-Hub

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Technology Hub (MATH)[1] Centre for Excellence (CoE) is a Department of Science and Technology (DST) led initiative which is a pioneering force in the realm of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). The hub empowers startups by providing comprehensive services, including mentoring, legal guidance, financial support, and technical expertise. MATH amplifies the impact of AI/ML startups and explores opportunities for their elevation. Rapid commercialization is a key focus, unlocking the potential for swift market readiness.

T-Hub’s commitment to open innovation has resulted in groundbreaking collaborations. For instance, its collaboration[2] with Collins Aerospace aims to drive innovation in the aerospace industry, providing world-class startups with funding and collaboration opportunities. Maruti Suzuki, Care Foundation, Apollo Tyres, Boeing, Collins Aerospace, RNTBCI, Carrier Global, Hexagon, Broadridge, and HSBC Bank are key strategic partners closely collaborating with startups at T-Hub.

Partnerships For Open Innovation

Another foundational area of focus for T-Hub has been building partnerships to support startups through all phases. Cases in point, our partnerships with ISB Hyderabad, CII, IFCCI, IIIT Hyderabad, IIT Mumbai, FalconX [US] and the Association of Geospatial Industries, etc. further highlight the success of our open innovation models. These partnerships provide startups with invaluable opportunities for mentorship, the execution of a paid Proof-of-Concept and a chance to become business partners with these entities. We are also engaged with research institutions, management institutions, and incubation centers both in India and globally

Defining T-Hub’s Infinite Innovation Approach

In our pursuit of excellence at T-Hub, we give utmost importance to the concept of “Infinite Innovation.” It goes beyond being a mere slogan; rather, it encapsulates our commitment to nurturing an environment where innovation is boundless. We firmly believe that the intersection of startups and corporates is the catalyst for the magic of Infinite Innovation.

Our steadfast focus on Infinite Innovation serves as a call to dismantle silos, harness diverse capabilities, and facilitate an unprecedented matchmaking of potential between startups and corporates. Through dedicated programs and initiatives, we bridge the gap, reconnecting startups with corporate problem statements, and fostering a mutually beneficial exchange. This collaborative spirit not only transforms ideas into reality but also reshapes our perception of corporate innovation partnerships—geographical considerations are crucial in fostering growth and innovation, integral to the overarching philosophy of Infinite Innovation. We are collaborating across the globe, North America, the UK, Australia, the Middle East, France, Japan, and other African and Southeast Asian countries.

We believe T-Hub is poised to shape the future of innovation and strengthen the open innovation ecosystem by not just solving industry challenges but also ushering in positive transformations to the societies.

[1] https://www.mat-hub.ai/ 

[2] https://programs.t-hub.co/powered-by-collins-initiative/