Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, addressing the launch event of ‘Centre for Research on Start-Upsand Risk Financing’.
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Indian Institute of Technology 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.

It would also create a unique world-class data repository on Indian startups and ventures to address a major hurdle for engaging in high-quality research, a release said.

With risk capital investment in Indian technology startups 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. Insights and evidence from the rigorous academic research would support policy-making as well as increase the effectiveness of managerial and investment decision-making in entrepreneurship.

Prof. Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School, said, “Entrepreneurs with great ideas in developing countries cannot rely on the usual trust-building foundations – law, regulatory oversight, and government projects, as they might in the developed world. Assuming the existence of these phantom factors predisposes ventures not to succeed at scale. Instead, smart entrepreneurs in these countries need a mindset shift, focusing not only on creating but also the conditions to create these.”

Khanna 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.”

The Vision of CREST include:

  • To be globally recognised as a leading centre of research engaged in scholarly research in the areas of creation, development, and financing of innovation, start-ups, and entrepreneurship
  • Cross country collaborative research, resulting in the use of unique data sets on start-ups and venture capital that increases the chances of breakthrough findings
  • Evidence synthesis on the start-up and innovation ecosystem to inform policymakers and practitioners

Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, said, “These research initiatives we (IIT Madras) are creating, almost all of them, have very strong international collaborative connections. We are knitting together partnerships with leading groups across the world. We want to have strong flow of people and ideas. We will have the interactions in online mode till the pandemic gets over.”

The key mission of CREST would be to engage in scholarly research encompassing the areas of innovation, entrepreneurship, and risk capital. The data repository being developed on innovation, venturing and risk capital will create the infrastructure to carry out high-quality research.

The creation of entrepreneurship specific language models will facilitate a better understanding of the entities in the ecosystem while facilitating the use of latest research in AI, ML to generate new insights.

CREST would push for use of evidence to guide policymaking. CREST would synthesize existing evidence as well as generate new evidence-based on unique data sets from organisations in the start-up ecosystem such as incubators, investor networks, government missions, and so on. Such grounded research can help to generate novel findings, that are likely to interest high impact journals, the release added.

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