Business Incubators

A Business Incubator is a company that helps new and startup companies to develop by providing services such as management training or office space. A Business Accelerator is very similar to an incubator but differs in that they usually have a greater focus on companies entering or growing in a national or global market. Business accelerators are more likely to be financed by venture capitalist looking for an opportunity to finance growth potential through defined action plans. Business accelerators will generally offer all of the services offered by a business incubator. The key difference is the level of hands-on involvement by accelerator management which should increase the chances of success.

Incubator: An incubator is a formal organisation designed to help new businesses that are just getting started with regards to different factors like capital, office space etc. Apart from physical infrastructure and capital, these incubators also help nascent ventures network with relevant industry people as well as potential investors. Incubators associate with a start-up for a fixed duration say 2-3 years.

International Incubator networks: Incubators often aggregate themselves into networks which are used to share good practices and new methodologies. Europe’s European Business Centre (EBN) association federates more than 250 European Business Innovation Centres (eBICs) throughout Europe. France has its own national network of technopoles, pre-incubators, and eBICs, called RETIS Innovation. This network focuses on internationalizing startups. The Startup Federation is an international incubator network that includes incubators such as Washington, D.C.’s 1776, New York City’s General Assembly, Boston’s Cambridge Innovation Center, London’s Warner Yard, Berlin’s Betahaus, Chicago’s 1871, and others.

In India almost every other prestigious B-school today houses an incubation center so that great ideas can be nurtured from their very source. Currently there are about 100 incubation centers supported by the ISBA which is the apex Indian professional body supporting business incubators. Private incubators are a handful, but gradually growing. These numbers are expected to double within the next two years.

Business Incubators in India: In the past few months, we have witnessed a number of startup incubators & accelerators being launched in the country to support the startups. IAN (Indian Angel Network) has announced a new startup incubator which will be operational soon. IAN has plans to hit large as it is setting up a 3,600-sq-ft startup incubator in Mumbai which sounds huge after the contribution that was made by IIT-Bombay’s Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship which is spread over 10,000 sq-ft . IAN will be incubating startups working in medical devices, healthcare technologies, mobile applications, analytics and internet of things (IoT), manufacturing and newer technologies like cloud computing.

IAN plans to incubate 10 startups initially in their first quarter that is the first four to nine months , which is an optimistic field . After Ahmedabad, the Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship, the incubator at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, is all set to expand its national footprint with forays in cities like Jaipur, Bengaluru and more recently Pune. After inking a five-year agreement with the Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation  in 2013, CIIE flagged off an incubator called ‘Startup Oasis’ in Jaipur. In Jaipur, CIIE is closely working with institutes like the Laxmi Niwas Mittal Institute Of Information Technology (LNMIIT) and the NIT.

The Rajasthan government has also announced in December 2014, that around 10 percent of the total funds from Rajasthan Venture Capital Fund (RVCF) which would be close to Rs 250-300 crore, will be deployed for ‘Startup Oasis’ and CIIE incubatees for early stage seed funding.


Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE), the business incubator at IIT-B provides fully equipped office space at subsidized rates its location at the IIT campus makes it easier to start ups to access labs and other technical facilities. SINE provides assistance to a start-up for a period of three years, during which it provides an investment of Rs 20-25 lakhs in the form of a loan or equity.

Stakeholders believe that in the past decade, the start-up scenario in the country has drastically changed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Urjas, a student start up that began under the aegis of SINE focuses on renewable energy technology for the masses. Since its inception in 2012, the company had to undergo a few permutations, during the course of which, the incubator’s help came in handy. “Such quantum changes can be painful. We received much needed mentorship, emotional support as well as resource backing from SINE,” says Pradeep Podal, founder, Urjas.

It is evident that incubators have played a significant role in encouraging student entrepreneurs. While the association may not be permanent and vary from a case to case basis, every arrangement looks to provide a suitable ecosystem, wherein a new business venture can thrive and flourish.

Few recent developments include Progress Software launching startup incubator in Hyderabad and Infosys’s co-founders S Gopalakrishnan and SD Shibulal have teamed for launching a new business incubator namely Axilor Ventures. Also, moving on the lines of Andhra Pradesh and Kochi, now Madhya Pradesh is also having discussions with the Startup Village to set up a similar incubation facility in their state.

Top 20 startup incubators in India

AMITY INNOVATION INCUBATOR: The Amity Innovation Incubator is a pioneering concept in the context of Indian Universities. Supported by DST, Ministry of Science & Technology, GOI, ‘Amity Innovation Incubator ‘ has in a very short time of its existence earned an enviable position for itself with start-ups which have regularly been on top of the innovation curve and have been recognized on platforms like ‘The Power of ideas’, Read Herring Global winner, Tata NEN and NASSCOM Innovation Awards to name a few.

Location: Noida

Founded In: 2008

Focus Area: Rural Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship, Information and communication Technologies (to include Social media and ecommerce, Mobile computing and technologies, Analytics, Cloud computing and Big Data), Education and Education Technologies, Food and allied Technologies, Biotechnology and Life Sciences, Nanotechnology and Material Sciences.

Funding: Upto INR 1 Cr

Notable Startups:, Anduril Technologies

Reach Out: Ojasvi Babber

ANGELPRIME: AngelPrime is focused on startups in the middle that need seed capital, it invest in not more than 3-4 companies a year.

Location: Bengaluru

Founded In: 2011

Focus Area: Mobile internet, ecommerce and tablet/mobile app

Funding: USD 200K- 600K

Notable Startups: Ezetap, HackerEarth

Reach Out: Bala Parathasarathy

CIIE IIMA: Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship was setup by IIM Ahmedabad with support from the Government of India and Gujarat Government and operates through an autonomous not-for-profit entity. CIIE comprises of IIMA faculty, alumni and other individuals and partners with like-minded organisations to foster entrepreneurship through incubation, ecosystem development and academic initiatives.

Location: Ahmedabad

Founded In: It was founded as a research institute in 2002 and was turned into a full-fledged incubation centre in 2007.

Focus Area: Information Communication Technology, Cleantech and Social

Funding: INR 20 lakhs

Notable Startups: Travelyaari, Innoz, Thrillophilia

Reach Out: Kunal Upadhyay

IAN INCUBATOR: Established from the support of National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board(NSTEDB), Department of Science & Technology(DST), Govt. of India. The incubator helps entrepreneurs to convert their ideas in becoming successful and profitable ventures by supporting them in business planning, mentoring, recruiting their top team, commercializing their technologies, developing their products, getting early seed funding, help in forging partnerships at the national and global level, advice on intellectual property, training and development and many other things. IAN is reputed for its huge network of successful entrepreneurs, domain experts, academicians and experienced professionals.

Location: Delhi

Founded In: N/A

Focus Area: IT/ITES, Telecom, Mobile VAS, Gaming and Animation, Internet/Web, Media and Entertainment,  Education technology,  Healthcare technology, Manufacturing Products, Alternative Energy, Clean Technology, Cloud computing, Retail technology

Funding: It provides support in getting seed-funding or securing loans from various sources such as Govt. grants, angel investors, seed & early stage funds and other sources

Notable Startups:  IndiaCollegeSearch, Mukunda Foods, Skill Boost

Reach Out: Padmaja Ruparel

ICREATE: It’s an initiative of Gujarat Foundation of Entrepreneurial Excellence (GFEE) and a joint venture of Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation Limited (GMDC) and Gujarat Entrepreneurship and Venture Promotion Foundation (GEVPF).  It conducts various seminars, reach-out programs, networking events and more for both students and aspiring entrepreneurs. The grooming and incubation program is conducted in a batch of 25 with duration of 13 weeks

Location: Ahmedabad

Founded In: 2011

Focus Area: N/A

Funding: N/A

Notable Startups: N/A

Reach Out: Devesh Rathore

INDAVEST: A startup Incubator and venture management helping startups with capital, business strategy and structure, providing access to the right network and support.

Location: Bangalore

Founded In: 2007

Focus Area: Ecommerce, mobile applications, customised gifting an d branding solutions, software products

Funding: N/A

Notable Startups: Vyoma, General Sentiment

Reach Out: Mail

KHOSLA LABS: Khosla Labs was setup by Vinod Khosla and Srikanth Nadhamuni in 2012 as an innovation lab to focus on solving large scale problems driven by technology and entrepreneurial zeal. The projects get prototyped through in-house design and technology teams. These prototypes are pilot tested on the ground to get feedback and market validation. Based on the project traction and business plan, the project gets funded by the Khosla Ventures seed fund and a new company gets spun-off by the lead EIR(s) from the lab.

Location: Bangalore

Founded In: 2012

Focus Area: Mobile payment & banking, Retail efficiency, Healthcare delivery and big data analytics

Funding: N/A

Notable Startups: N/A

Reach Out: Mail

NSRCEL: Set up at IIM Bangalore, the Nadathur S Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (NSRCEL) facilitates business growth through academic research by scholars and practical learning for entrepreneurs. NSRCEL is an open incubator, it doesn’t distinguish between IIMB Alumni and non alumni.

Location: Bangalore

Founded In: 2002

Focus Area: N/A

Funding: It provides funding to its incubate companies, funds are sourced from government schemes.

Notable Startups: Amagi, Nextgen

Reach Out: Professor G Sabarinatha

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ENTREPRENEURSHIP PARK: Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Park, Technology Business Incubator is based out in IIT Kharagpur. It helps the young firms to survive and grow by providing specialised support services during the critical period of a business venture i.e. the start-up phase. The goal is to nurture successful indigenous technologies and growth oriented entrepreneurs/enterprises. It provides space as well as seed fund to the startups.

Location: Kharagpur

Founded In: Established in 1986 and commenced operations in 1989

Focus Area: N/A

Funding: N/A

Notable Startups: Ikure Techsoft Pvt.Ltd.

Reach Out: Prof. Indranil Sen Gupta

SEEDFUND: It’s a Physical Incubator with about 2,000 square feet in Mumbai. Startups being incubated at the Seedfund get access to inputs from sector experts who come in to advice the startups on various aspects of the business.

Location: Mumbai

Founded In: 2011-2012

Focus Area: Consumer Internet, ecommerce, sports, education, healthecare, financial services, analytics, services and online ticketing

Funding: INR 1 to 1.5 Cr, if this works, then Seedfund does a follow-on investment of $2 Mn.

Notable Startups: MyDentist, Level10 Entertainment

Reach Out: Mahesh Murthy

SINE: SINE, Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, hosted by Indian Institute of Technology Bombay- IIT Bombay is an umbrella for promotion of entrepreneurship at IIT Bombay. SINE administers a business incubator which provides support for technology based entrepreneurship. It incubate an average of 15 startups at a time and has an infrastructure spread over 10,000 sq.ft

Location:  Mumbai

Founded In: 2004

Focus Area: N/A

Funding: N/A

Notable Startups: Webaroo, Bhugol GIS,

Reach Out: Prof. Milind Atrey

SRIJAN CAPITAL: It provides seed stage investment to technology startups.  It target startups that are based out of India, or have India as a target market and its incubation period is for a year

Location: Bangalore

Founded In: N/A

Focus Area: Ecommerce, SAAS, mobile, social media, and consumer internet

Funding: INR 20 to 40 lakhs

Notable Startups: Explara, TookiTaki, CouponRani

Reach Out: Ravi Trivedi

STARTUP VILLAGE: Startup Village is a technology business incubator in Kochi and it is India’s first incubator that is funded jointly by the public and private sector. The promoters of Startup Village are Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, Technopark Trivandrum and MobME Wireless. Kris Gopalakrishnan, co-founder of Infosys and the most successful IT entrepreneur from Kerala, is the chief mentor at Startup Village. It aims to incubate 1,000 product startups over 10 years and it primarily Startup Village primarily focuses on student startups from college campuses.

Location: Kochi

Founded In: 2012

Focus Area: Technology product startups

Funding: Its startupsby default selected to make a pitch presentation to Startup Village Angel Fund

Notable Startups: iTraveller

Reach Out: Sanjay Vijaykumar

TECHNOPARK TBI: Technopark Technology Business Incubator (T-TBI), is a Non Academic Business Incubator, hosted and housed inside the Asia Largest IT Park Technopark. Its a joint association of Technopark, Trivandrum and the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, to help the technology business start-ups. More than 165 startups incubated in last 9 years. Startups are incubated for 11 months, which can be increased later for 11 more months

Location: Kerala

Founded In: 2007

Focus Area: Technology business startups

Funding: N/A

Notable Startups: N/A

Reach Out: N/A

UNLTD INDIA: UnLtd India is an incubator for social entrepreneurs working with early-stage social entrepreneurs to help them to Develop as leaders, Accelerate their impact, Prepare their organisations for scaling and further investment. It has 4 key programs i.e Incubation support, Bootcamp, and Social Mashup – a national conference for early-stage social social entrepreneurs

Location: Mumbai

Founded In: 2007

Focus Area: Social startups

Funding: N/A

Notable Startups: Mirakle Couriers,

Reach Out: Pooja Warier

VEDDIS VENTURES: Veddis Ventures was founded in 2007 and has offices in London and Gibraltar. Veddis Ventures has been investing in media, social networking, and information technology companies in Europe, the US and India.

Location: Gurgaon

Founded In: 2007

Focus Area: Consumer technology

Funding: $10-20 Mn

Notable Startups: Favista

Reach Out: Vikrant Bhargava

VENTURE CENTER: A CSIR Initiative for technology businesses (inventors and scientist entrepreneurs). The Venture Center is a technology business incubator specializing in technology startups offering products and services exploiting scientific expertise in the areas of materials, chemicals and biological sciences & engineering.

Location: Pune

Founded In: 2006

Focus Area: Technology startups offering products and services exploiting scientific expertise in the areas of materials, chemicals and biological sciences & engineering

Funding: INR 1 – 25 Lakh

Notable Startups: Antfarm

Reach Out: Mail

VILLGRO: Villgro is on a mission to enable innovations to impact the poor through social enterprise. It was recognized as an Incubator under the Dept. of Science and Technology and Ministry of Micro-Small Medium Enterprises, Government of India. It provides mentoring, fellowship, funding and networking.

Location: Chennai

Founded In: N/A

Focus Area: Social enterprises

Funding: INR 50 Lakhs (milestone based) and is invested as equity and/or quasi-equity

Notable Startups: Onebreathe, Skillveri

Reach Out: Mail

WCEDWADHWANI CENTRE FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOPMENT: The incubator facility at ISB was set up in 2008 under the institute’s Wadhwani Centre for Entrepreneurship Development. The Initiative educates and assists young entrepreneurs in the area of business planning, and promotes entrepreneurship as a valid career option

Location: Hyderabad

Founded In: 2008

Focus Area: Tech startups

Funding: N/A

Notable Startups: Orkash, Richcore Lifesciences

Reach Out: Mail

BITS PILANI: BITS Pilani in association with the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India had established a Technology Business Incubator (TBI) in the area of Embedded Systems and VLSI Design. BITS has set up a Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) to give a specific boost and emphasis to entrepreneurship development. The organization can house, in its office space, between 10-12 companies at a time. BITS also provides training to the startups in business communications and provides short courses on business management.

Location: Pilani

Founded In: 2005

Focus Area: N/A

Funding: N/A

Notable Startups: redBus

Reach Out: Prof. Arya Kumar


SIDBI Innovation & Incubation Centre, IIT Kanpur

Rural Technology Business Incubator (RTBI), IIT Madras

NDBI (Design Incbuator), Ahmedabad

Technology Business Incubator, IIT Delhi

Information Technology Business Incubator(ITBI ), JSSATE-STEP

Technology based Incubator Society (TBIS), University of Delhi , South Campus

Shriram Institute for Industrial Research , Shriram Scientific and Industrial Research

IIIT-Bangalore Innovation Centre

E health-TBI, PES School of Engg . Tech Park

Global INcubation SERVices, JSS Institutions Campus

SP Jain Institute of Management Research Center

Technology Business Incubator, Centre for Biotechnology, Anna University

Technology Business Incubator, NIT Calicut

Amrita TBI, Amrita Vishwa Vidhyapeetham

Mudra Institute of Communications

CIEE, IIIT Hyderabad

Life Science Incubator at IKP Knowledge Park

Malviya Centre for Innovation Incubation & Entrepreneurship , IIT BHU

Technology Business Incubator, KIIT University

Manipal University Technology Business Incubator

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