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(VikramRaghuvanshi/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
(VikramRaghuvanshi/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Small Business Briefing

Indian incubator aims to nurture 1,000 startups over a decade Add to ...

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Startup Village is country's first public-private partnership telecom incubator

India has launched its first public-private partnership telecom incubator, aiming to nurture 1,000 startups over the next decade, writes The Times of India.

Dubbed Startup Village, it was launched in a high-tech park near Kochi, on the west coast of India in the southern Indian state of Kerala. The 15,000-square-foot space will serve mainly as a hub for telecom innovation, according to the story.

The incubator will focus on student initiatives from college campuses, and is modelled on tech incubators in Silicon Valley, says this story.

It has the backing of a number of government and corporate organizations, including The National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, Technopark, MobME Wireless and Infosys Technologies, whose co-founder will serve as its chief mentor, according to this story.

The Times of India says that every company in the program will receive $10,000 in seed capital. It says that a $10-million angel investment fund is also being set up under the guidance of KPMG to invest between $50,000 and $500,000 in high-growth startups.

It aims to create a vibrant startup atmosphere, offering participating ventures perks ranging from tax exemptions to full 4G networks, advanced telecom labs and a variety of supportive services.

The first two startups have already moved in.

Clock lessons from smartwatch Kickstarter campaign

When last we revisited the Kickstarter page of Canadian entrepreneur Eric Migicovsky, who was trying to raise a modest $100,000 to fund production of a new smartwatch for iPhone and Android smartphones, pledges had already reached a whopping $3-million-plus from more than 21,600 backers. And the numbers just keep climbing.

That has made this fund-raiser the most successful effort to ever take place on the Kickstarter crowdfunding site, notes this piece in Forbes, saying the next most successful raised $3-million in 60 days.

The piece says there are many factors behind Mr. Migicovsky's and his Pebble Technology's success – which might offer some lessons to other small businesses thinking of going the crowdfunding route.

Among them: Mr. Migicovsky and his team come with a proven track record, having made a smartwatch for BlackBerry – and that one got press. Two lessons there, already.

As well, the Forbes piece says, he's come up with a useful product and one that works with the right devices. In addition, those signing on are really placing an early order at a discounted price. And finally, it's getting better: As more money rolls in, the team is adding more features to the original specs. The latest mprovement, for instance, is that the smartwatch will be waterproof.

More lessons from Facebook-Instagram deal

Speaking of lessons, there are also some out of the Facebook-Instagram $1-billion deal for small businesses wanting to position for a big acquisition, says this USA Today piece, from a writer residing in Silicon Valley.

And the buying isn't over: On the heels of the Instagram deal, Facebook also bought another mobile app, Tagtile, a customer-loyalty application, this time for an undisclosed amount. Here's reporting on the newest deal from The Washington Post.

As for what the Instagram buyout teaches, the three pieces of a company to pay attention to, says the piece in USA Today, are people; intellectual property; and market. On the first, she says that while great ideas are easy to come by, great people are much harder to find. And she notes that Silicon Valley actually has a great shortage of talent, especially for engineers. The lesson: Don't compromise on your hiring.

As for intellectual property, if you create something new and prove the concept, you'll be more interesting to another company – epecially if you have good patent protection.

As well, the desire to grab new or bigger markets drives many acquisition, she notes. Buying a company gives an acquirer immediate entry to a new geographic or industry territory.

But she warns, never be driven by the desire to be acquired. The focus must be on building a great company. Succeeding at that may just turn you into an acquisition target.


Challenge contest: pitch for $100,000

There's still time to make your pitch to the second annual Challenge contest being held by The Globe and Mail and Telus, which could put $100,000 in your small business's pocket. Present your company's biggest challenge for the opportunty to win that grant from Telus to help overcome it. Contest entries close May 28. For more details on that, click here.

StartupDrinks TO

Join fellow startup enthusiasts to share your passion over some free appetizers and beer at a StartupDrinks TO event in Toronto on April 25 at 8 p.m. Register to help figure out numbers for food prep. Here are more details on the event.


Small businesses hit by rising freight costs

Increasing fuel prices and related charges are driving up the costs of ground transportation, creating a growing concern for many businesses


Toy-maker needs new shipping game plan

PlaSmart Inc., make of the PlasmaCar, has felt the price pain of transporting its products from one destination to another. Over a year, it reported in a Challenge last June, domestic and international shipping costs climbed significantly, with shippers adding surcharges and other fees. It needed help in figuring out how to rein in its shipping costs. See what the experts advised.

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at smallbusiness@globeandmail.com

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