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IT Ministry, Meta join hands to boost extended reality startup ecosystem in India

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IT Ministry’s startup body Meity Startup Hub and Facebook’s parent firm Meta on Tuesday joined hands to launch an accelerator programme to support and accelerate extended reality technology startups across India.

Minister of state for electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that the XR Startup Program is an important milestone in area of Metaverse which is a vital part of emerging future of the internet.

MeitY Startup Hub (MSH), an initiative of the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), and Meta have joined hands to launch an accelerator programme to support and accelerate XR (extended reality) technology startups across India.

The XR Startup Program is supported by Meta’s XR Programs and Research Fund, a two-year USD 50-million investment in programmes and external research with industry partners, civil rights groups, governments, non-profits and academic institutions.

At the launch event of the programme, Chandrasekhar said it is an important day in terms of achieving Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of making the next 10 years as India’s ‘Techade’, which will be full of opportunities for young Indians.

“It is also an important milestone in area of Metaverse which is an important part of emerging future of the internet. I look forward to the collaboration with Meta and I hope it provides the necessary impetus towards fuelling the growth of investments in future technologies in line with the government vision for making India a trillion-dollar economy by 2025,” he said.

This initiative, XR Startup Program, focuses on skilling and building technological capabilities for the metaverse, and will help shape the ecosystem for these emerging technologies, including Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) in the country, an official statement said.

“Young Indian startups, especially from tier 2 and 3 cities, will play a significant role in emerging tech areas like Web 3.0, blockchain, AI, Metaverse etc. And will shape the future of technology and the internet for India and the world,” Chandrasekhar said.

The accelerator programme will support 40 early-stage startups working in XR technologies with a grant of Rs 20 lakh each.

Meta Vice President for Global Policy Joel Kaplan said that India will play a pivotal role in defining future technologies.

“Decisions and investments made here in India now shape global discussions on how technology can deliver more economic opportunity and better outcomes for people. It is critical that we help to create an ecosystem that will enable India’s tech startups and innovators to build the foundations of the metaverse,” Kaplan said.

The innovators will be provided support to upscale from the R&D phase to developing workable products and services.

At first 80 innovators will be shortlisted to attend a bootcamp, out of which, a total of 16 innovators will be provided grants of Rs 20 lakh each and further support to help them develop a minimum viable product or prototypes.

The XR Startup Program will be implemented by four institutions, including International Institute of Information Technology, Gujarat University Startup and Entrepreneurship Council (GUSEC) and Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT), IIT Delhi.





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