Chinese carmaker of British origin, MG Motor, through its Indian subsidiary MG Motor India today kicked-off a new start-up support programme - MG Developer and Grant.
The initiative which will see multiple of MG's technology partners which were seen offering technology on its maiden model in India - the MG Hector SUV - will collaborate to mentor as well as support young innovators monetarily.
The key partners include Adobe, Airtel, Cognizant, SAP, TomTom and Unlimit. This consortium under the Developer and Grant initiative will invite start-ups who are working in the automotive space and have innovative ideas pertaining to connected cars, shared mobility, IoT and autonomous among other technologies.
While the idea is to start with only automotive-specific technologies, but the panel in the future would be open to any idea that could impact auto retail and consumption as well. This could include some non-auto features such as payment gateways.
According to Rajeev Chaba, president and MD, MG Motor India, "Together with our partners, we are going to mentor and support start-ups in the automotive space, be it in the area of shared mobility or connected cars. While each idea could see grants between Rs 500,000 to a maximum of Rs 25 lakh the whole idea is to make resources accessible to young entrepreneurs and innovators who are seeking help at every juncture of their start-up journey."
Close to 20 mentors are understood to be available for guidance and mentorship, and while different partners are bringing capability and knowledge to the table, MG Motor India is supposedly going to be the one supporting from a monetary aspect.
Here's a look at how some of the companies associated with MG will play their role in this initiative:
Cognizant will offer its AI platform christened 'Big Decision' for writing algorithm and code for autonomous driving, as well as its connected car IoT platform for development of applications and product suites.
SAP would make its 'Business API Hub' available to developers. Also, its 'Partner Edge' programme could help any development team to be imbibed into the SAP ecosystem and get access to an array of customers not just in automotive but other spheres of businesses as well. Moreover, SAP Labs' co-innovation laboratory (COIL) in India will offer technology and architectural support to start-ups.
The IoT solutions provider will offer its knowledge resources in the form that start-up teams could sit in Unlimit's office alongside its employees and co-develop solutions along with its team.
Being in the connectivity space, the company has an ambition to drive innovation in the form of 2G, 3G and 5G connectivity technologies. Airtel will expose its labs in Bangalore and Manesar for startups selected in this programme to test their connectivity modules.
Also, the telecom giant would offer engineering aid in the area of gateways for future payment ecosystem for the automotive sector. Airtel also intends to bring its R&D and channel expertise to start-ups and offer them commercial knowledge about scaling up.
The company, which is into navigation systems, will collaboratively develop new APIs to solve problems related to charge anxiety with future EVs by incorporating charging stations into its maps so that a vehicle could take into account its available range and accordingly plan a route.
Adobe will offer its 'Adobe Enterprise' suite - an ongoing programme for several years now and strengthen a company's core operating functionality. The company also intends to offer Adobe APIs as well as mentorship for different aspects of digital marketing for start-ups building solutions for online marketing and retail space. Participants would also gain entry to numerous of Adobe's symposiums and learning forums held every year around the world.
"Once we join hands together, what we offer is an access to this whole collaborative ecosystem which is a huge thing in itself. Sometimes, one needs to just start without actually knowing where a project could lead. I am glad that we are being able to finally execute this programme together, which may become even bigger going forward," Chaba added.
After opening the contest today, the company will shortlist the winning entries in November and after hosting a demo day in December, a final list of winners will be announced at the TiE Summit in May 2020. There are no limitations to the number of entries or the total start-ups that would be selected, but ideation is the key focus.
While it is understood that MG Motor India will also gain marketing benefits by connecting with its target audience by driving a message of being a technology-focused company, it aims to have a demo day every three months with a fresh cohort under this continuous programme.
The MG Developer and Grant can be accessed at www.mgmotor.co.in