Monthly Archives: February 2008

Lesser known Govt. SEED FUND for startups in India


There has been alot of talk going on about funding scenario in India in various startup and tech blogs. But what surprises me is that they always talk about VC money, Angel money and PE money but hardly talks about Government funds/grants/loans. I agree we all have a preconceived notion about government funds. It involves lot of paperworks, time and comes with lots of terms and conditions, may be even with personal liablity clauses.Though they are still true with most of the government funds, there are exceptions too. Here am going to introduce to you 3 easy to get funds available for startups at very early stage, early stage and mid-stage in India.

1) DST-TePP fund

Technopreneur promotion programme was started by department of science and technology few years back to promote more entrepreneurial activity in India and with the objective that money should not be a barrier to innovations in the country. There are 3 stages in which Tepp funds are dispersed. It could be availed at a conceptualizing stage, provided you have a technology with good value proposition for commercialization and decent barriers of entry from future competition (like patents). This along with a decent reputation/background could fetch you funds to develop a product/service based on the technology. This could be further scaled up using the 2nd stage funding using Tepp Stage II.

Range of funding : Rs. 15 Lacs to Rs. 45 Lacs (90% of project cost)
Pragmatic time period to get funds in hand: 6-10 months
Paperwork: Limited (but includes convincing the Tepp committee with presentations)

Links:
Main Page: http://dsir.nic.in/tpdup/tepp/tepp_ts.htm
Projects supported so far: http://dsir.nic.in/tpdup/tepp/tepplop.htm

Contact person: Dr A S Rao, Scientist ‘G’
Department of Scientific & Industrial Research
Technology Bhawan, New Mehrauli Road, New Delhi-110016
Email: asrao@nic.in Fax. 011-2696 0629


2) DBT SBIRI Scheme

This scheme is the indian version of US SBIR scheme for entrepreneurs. This Small business innovation research initiative is primarily targeted at Lifescience innovations in the country. But even bioinformatics projects could also get funding through this scheme. SBIRI is the flagship scheme supported DBT in the country. They have various types of funding which includes grants, loans or the combination of both. As Life science projects are capital intensive, SBIRI funds also extends upto the tune of 10 crores. This is a wonderful scheme for budding entrepreneurs in Life science field to get a kick start for their project without depening on VCs who are generally skeptical about longer gestation periods. Being a research arm, DBT ensures that the fund is not going to wrong hands. So they have a mandatory requirement of either partnering with a DSIR recognized lab or having patent rights for the applied technology.

Range of funding : Rs. 25 Lacs to Rs. 10 crores (80% or 50% of the project cost depending on schemes)
Pragmatic time period to get funds in hand: 4 months
Paperwork: Quite a lot

Links:
Main page: http://dbtindia.nic.in/SBIRI/SIBRI_main-F.html
Terms & conditions: http://dbtindia.nic.in/SBIRI/terms%20&%20conditions.pdf

Contact person: Dr. (Mrs.) Suchita Ninawe,
Scientist ‘E’, Department of Biotechnology,
Ministry of Science & Technology, CGO Complex, Block
2, 6-8th floor, Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110 003.

3) NRDC Angel funding

Let me make it clear, NRDC is not exactly a government body but an independent corporation but setup by central government for dispersing funds for promoting grass root innovations in the country. National Research and Development Corporation is one of the oldest bodies (setup in 1951) who has been in the business of supporting innovations. Few of their well known include first artifical heart valve and stent made by Sree chitra institute of biomedical technology, Trivandrum. But in this case they played more of a technology transferring mediator. As it implies, NRDC has got various departments involved in a plethora of activities which involves technology promotion, technology transfer and funding. Though am not pretty sure about the aggressiveness of this government body, they recently came up with an angel funding scheme for startups. To ensure the credibility of the startup, they use the mechanism of funding using existing Technology Business Incubators of the country. Though not very clear about the fields they look for technologies, their website says that they fund almost everything under sun which involves innovative technology.

Range of funding :Upto Rs. 30 Lacs (Angel funding with equity participation)
Pragmatic time period to get funds in hand: Not known (approx. 6 months)
Paperwork: Minimal term sheet is what we got. No experience in submitting to NRDC.

Links:
Main page: http://www.nrdcindia.com/
Funding page: http://www.nrdcindia.com/support.htm

Contact Person:
Shri D. C. Joshi, Sr. Manager
20-22, Zamroodpur Community Center,
Kailash Colony Extension,
New Delhi 110 048. India
Ph: +91-11-29240401-0408
Fax: 011- 29240409, 29240410

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5 simple ways to reduce strain on Hands while using computer

Carpal tunnel syndrome was a fashion word couple of years back as it used to affect mostly women at work in home, but gradually people are realizing its affects the harder way due to repetitive work environment in IT industry. More and more work hours on computer or even casual web surfing can land your wrists and hand in trouble. It may not be as dangerous as carpal tunnel, but it would definitely give you long, irritating pain on your wrist or forearm.

I, myself was a victim of the same until few months back due to continuous web surfing and ignorance of right postures. It was after a long ride on bike on a chilly winter night, I realized an unbearable pain on my right wrist. Reacting quick enough, I realized that the real culprit is not the cold weather, but the repetitive use of mouse during my endless hours of blogging and web surfing. Now that I know the problem, I tried various remedies for the same. Few worked, few didn’t. Here am going to share with you few of those tricks which worked. I would love to know more of them from you. See you in comments.

1. Use more of keyboard shortcuts and less of mouse clicks

Though people might argue that keyboard taps are equally dangerous as mouse clicks in causing harm to wrist and fingers, I disagree with this due to my own experience. Keyboard taps are much more gentle when compared to each mouse click and scrolls you make. In a keyboard tap, the whole palm or hand is involved in the action which spreads the overall effect of the typing. But while clicking mouse only one finger is being constantly used and this repetitive action causes the trouble.

Switching to keyboard shortcuts is an easy way to overcome this. In the beginning you might find it a bit difficult, but gradually you will get used to it. You just need a little bit of patience and practice. Earlier all my ‘stumbleupon’ used to be through mouse clicks, which I changed to a simple keyboard shortcut and believe me that small change made a big difference in alleviating my pain on the wrist.

2. Use alternate hands for typing and for using mouse

This was a result of my experimentation to reduce the pain caused by repetitive action. As am a right hander, I was used to clicking with the same hand. Unbearable pain compelled me to shift to left hand and that itself made the task easier. Clicking with left hand for a right hander is not at all difficult. You don’t even need any practice for the same. (Donot act smart by changing the right key/left combination in the mouse options, its not necessary). Though this option would give you a temporary relief, it is not going to be a long lasting one. Slowly your left hand also would develop the same pain which you got on the right hand. In that case, use this in combination with other techniques mentioned in this post.

3. Use Mouse pads with Gel

This is an option which worked for me. Wrist needs a resting space and the gel which conforms its shape according to the posture would let you give this support. You would suddenly feel much more ease in using the mouse. You can either place your wrist on the gel pad or the palm on it. Either ways it would ease the stress and strain caused on the wrist.

4. Make sure your wrist/hand is supported by a semi-hard surface

Never let your hands be in air while typing or using mouse. Leaving them in air puts extra pressure on the hands to support them with a surface. So always keep them on a surface like table or the handle of chair. By this subtle action, see how much relief you get out of it. This would also allow free flow of blood till the fingers and back. Keeping hands in upside position for long would make your palm go pale due to non-availability of blood.

5. Open and close your palm in intervals

Perhaps one of the most important tips which is suggested for this problem. Along with causing strain on the wrist, the repetitive action also causes a much bigger problem which is the non-circulation of blood till the fingers. If you notice your hands after a long web surfing exercise without a break, you can see that the palms are all pale and white. This is because the upside posture coupled with long repetitive actions restricts the blood to flow freely to the fingertips. To avoid this just open and close your palms in different intervals. Apart from initiating free blood flow, it would also help stretching your hand and fingers.

Even after doing all this techniques, still if you think you are in trouble then consult a medic immediately or else wait for the technologies like “voice recoginition”, “dontclick“, “touch screen” to mature so that you totally avoid using mouse or keyboard on a physical surface. Also using a laptop keyboard and touchpad is less stressful than using the desktop keyboard and mouse. So there is hope for them too.

Share your ideas in the comments section on How to reduce the stress and chances of getting carpal tunnel syndrome.