Today, along with Meity Startup Hub, we’re launching our XR Start-up Program to boost the extended reality ecosystem in India and help build the foundation for the metaverse. This program will help shape the ecosystem for emerging technologies — including augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in the country.
According to a recent study by the Analysis Group, the metaverse is estimated to add $240 billion or 4.6% to India’s GDP by 2031, potentially impacting existing economic influences like employment opportunities, specialized industries, infrastructure, and more.
The XR Startup program includes an Accelerator and a Grand Challenge, which both encourage innovation that can potentially impact a variety of sectors such as education, learning, healthcare, and more. Through the Accelerator Program, we’re supporting 40 early-stage start-ups building XR technologies with a grant of Rs 20 lakhs each.
For the Grand Challenge, we’re shortlisting 80 early-stage innovators to attend a boot camp and providing 16 of them with Rs 20 lakhs to help them develop product prototypes. These innovators come from sectors Education, Learning and Skills, Healthcare, Gaming and Entertainment, Agritech & Climate Action, and Tourism & Sustainability.
The Grand Challenge will create the momentum needed for young entrepreneurs from educational institutions and early-stage startups to explore building a strong XR technology-based ecosystem in the country. The innovators will be provided support to upscale from the R&D phase to developing workable products and services. The Accelerator and Grand Challenge will also support start-ups and innovators with establishing customer connections, partnership opportunities, and fundraising among other things.
The XR Startup Program will be implemented by four institutions: – International Institute of Information Technology – Hyderabad Foundation (CIE IIIT-H), Hyderabad, Telangana; AIC SMU Technology Business Incubation Foundation (AIC-SMUTBI), Rangpo, Sikkim; Gujarat University Startup and Entrepreneurship Council (GUSEC), Ahmedabad, Gujarat and Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT), IIT Delhi, New Delhi. These institutions will strategically support startups across the country, creating a pan- India movement in the XR technology space.
The XR Startup Program is supported by our XR Programs and Research Fund, a two-year $50 million investment in programs and external research with industry partners, civil rights groups, governments, nonprofits, and academic institutions, to determine how to build technologies responsibly
“Immersive technologies like XR have the power to transform the digital landscape and can have significant economic benefits for the country. I look forward to the collaboration with Meta and I hope it provides the necessary impetus towards fuelling the growth of investments in future technologies in line with the government vision for making India a trillion dollar economy by 2025.
According to PM’s Digital India vision, India is no longer going to be a consumer of Technology but become a leader in producing emerging technologies. Young Indian Startups, especially from tier 2/3 cities, will play a significant role in emerging tech areas like Web 3.0, blockchain, AI, Metaverse etc. and will shape the future of Technology and the internet for India and the world.”
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Hon’ble Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology, and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship
“India will play a pivotal role in defining future technologies. Decisions and investments made here in India now shape global discussions on how technology can deliver more economic opportunity and better outcomes for people. It is critical that we help to create an ecosystem that will enable India’s tech startups and innovators to build the foundations of the metaverse.”
Joel Kaplan, Vice President, Global Policy, Meta
“India’s rapid tech adoption combined with a vast pool of tech talent puts the country in a vantage position for shaping the future of the internet. For this future to be equitable, it will require active participation from all stakeholders, including developers, businesses, creators, policymakers, and entrepreneurs. We are excited to collaborate with MeitY Startup Hub and hope that the XR Startup Program will act as a catalyst to unlock the use of immersive technology across sectors like education, healthcare, agritech and tourism, not only in India but across the globe.”
Ajit Mohan, Vice President and Managing Director, Facebook India (Meta)