The Karnataka Government in collaboration with three universities in California and TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) Silicon Valley chapter has accumulated a fund of Rs 20 crore to offer grants of $30,000 (Rs 18 lakh) each to innovative ideas in the field of Science.
The first of these grants has been given to biotech researcher and entrepreneur Ezhil Subbian, who brought up the idea of making plastics biodegradable.
The state government's initiative is a part of the San Francisco-Bangalore Sister City Initiative.
Kumar Malavalli, one of the richest Indians in the US, is closely associated with the initiative. It is him who recommended to the Karnataka government that it should give the grant.
Malavalli, who brought up in Mysore and Bangalore, suggested it while he was in the city as part of a large delegation from San Francisco. He is the co-founder of Brocade Communications.
Malavalli said that the funding will be at the idea stage, and would expectedly encourage the entrepreneurs to come up with innovative ideas. The idea has to be disruptive, scalable and sustainable, and must seek to solve real-life problems, he said.
The three California universities who are collaborating with Karnataka Government for this initiative are Berkeley, Santa Cruz and San Francisco. These universities will vet biotech proposals, and TiE Silicon Valley will vet all other ideas. The TiE Silicon Valley will also offer platform to these startups to operate in California at free of cost.
"TiE SV has just created a venture fund of $20 million called LaunchPad. Those who receive the Karnataka grant can later apply to this fund. But this fund will also serve those who are not part of the Karnataka initiative," Malavalli said.