Riidl: Accelerating Startups, Students & Innovators via a Spectrum of Focused Programs

Riidl: Accelerating Startups, Students & Innovators via a Spectrum of Focused Programs

Gaurang Shetty,  Chief Innovation Catalyst

Gaurang Shetty

Chief Innovation Catalyst

The startup landscape in India has been beholding incredible growth rates from past few years. Yet,a roster of challenges hover around the startup ecosystem right from the incubation phase till the point of procuring Series A funding. Handholding and accelerating these startups and innovators from ideation till product development is Riidl, the go to place to build startups. This collaborative innovation /incubation centre offers workspace and mentoring for startups besides focused groups for people aspirant to innovate on their ideas and projects. It also ensures to support hardware & biotech startups through seed funds/Series A funds. So far, Riidl has reviewed/ facilitated 400+ startups and incubated 80+ startups while aspiring to become India’s leading Research Park and Startup Incubator.

Riidl is an initiative of Somaiya Vidya vihar, an educational trust established in 1959. It is located in one of its largest campuses located in Vidyavihar in Mumbai. Samir Somaiya, President, Somaiya Vidya vihar, articulates, “Research Innovation Incubation Design Laboratory (Riidl) was set up in 2010 by the Somaiya Trust to inspire and facilitate innovation & entrepreneurship amongst our 39000 students and 1500 faculty. We at Somaiya Vidyavihar strongly believe in providing education that is holistic and experiential so that students get a more enriching experience in their academics, outside the classroom. Being on the campus, the students get access to experts across subjects, guidance from professors, and a safe environment to develop their ideas. Our focus has always been in encouraging innovation and knowledge sharing. We believe when you provide platforms for multidisciplinary collaboration and innovation, the barriers of age, language, countries melt away and the power of the ‘idea’ shines through. Several incubated companies at Somaiya Riidl have evolved and are working as independent organisations today. We are happy that we have been able to play a role as facilitators for the next generation of startup leaders who work on solving real world problems”.

Riidl’s Chief Innovation Catalyst, Gaurang Shettyhas exclusively shared about Riidl’s magnificence in fostering startups, its focused
programs, and many other aspects with CEO Insights. Here are the excerpts!

How do you cater to the variegated ideas of emerging startups at Riidl?
We deal with a spectrum of research and innovations round the clock in order to assist startups in generating new ideas and boosting their entire ecosystem. Under this segment, we offer two exclusive programs at Riidl Startup School India and SkillEd. Startup School India is oriented on empowering aspirant entrepreneurs with the right knowledge and hands on skills in order to build their prototypes. This program is organized by Startup School Gurus entrepreneurs & industry experts, who guide startups in comprehending the markets and developing the best strategy for a sustainable business.

Across all our programs, we have been deploying Design Thinking methodology, which helps startups, students and innovators in identifying real world problems and also devising viable solutions. Moreover, we also leverage software tools to automate our programs and cater to users in tune with their requirements and pain points. Users inturn can enroll across our membership based model encompassing dedicated fee structure and ample benefits infrastructure support, funding support, business support, mentoring, internship opportunities, IP filing support, and a lot more.

SkillEd is another program wherein we enable startups to realize their ideas into prototypes besides equipping them with vast skill sets in digital fabrication. Hailing from diverse fields, our experts handle various hands on courses, with each course incorporating designated number of hours and corresponding assignments. We also have Fab Academy that edifies participants on the hands on skills in fab labs besides our Bioacademy course that helps them in learning about the applications of synthetic biology.

Brief us about your programs that are exclusively organized to assist zealous students.
Our Project Based Learning program (PBL) welcomes students from different institutes and backgrounds wherein they are exposed to the right mentorship and resources to develop their projects. They also gain profound knowledge and skills to address and resolve authentic, engaging and complex questions, problems or challenges. Post PBL, they are enrolled in bootcamp programs, wherein they are exposed to various mentors from business development and product design domains to go aheadwith their prototyping endeavours. These bootcamp programs entail Bio Entrepreneurship Program focused on product development and Code Adventure, an app development marathon.

Fast 30 is our other experiential learning program that encompasses a batch of 30 students who are
plugged with a startup to accelerate their sales and also simultaneously earn. In last three years, we have created 400+ full time jobs, 150+ internships every year and also trained 2000+ students while being gearedup to train 600 more students this year.

Walk us through the milestones that Riidl has achieved so far.
With emphasis on developing low cost health devices and encouraging students for the same, we have collaborated with MIT Media Lab as their community partner in India. Besides, we are looking into industry partnerships for our pre incubation programs that can support Riidl, our participants, as well as the industry. We take pride in conducting India’s first Bio Fashion Show, where 15 teams from across India made clothes from biomaterials and presented them during the show. These clothes were reviewed by Miss BRICS International alongside our sponsors. Also, our initiative Darwin gathers around 200 biologists across India to showcase their projects and extensively collaborate.

We have many remarkable projects – Piano Staircase to encourage people to use steps rather than escalators by motivating them through piano’s music, and installation of vertical farm by U-Farm at Hotel Renaissance Mumbai. Our other projects include creation of unique industrial water purification system & real-time water quality monitoring by our startup INDRA, and development of world’s smartest(telerobotic)chessboard by Square Off.

We are proud hosts of Maker Mela, India’s biggest Makers’ gathering to celebrate arts, crafts, engineering, science, DIY mindset and the Maker Movement. Apart from this, we have Facebook Developer Circles Mumbai, TEDx, Enroot Mumbai, and other events under our community ecosystem.

Key Management:
Gaurang Shetty, Chief Innovation Catalyst
Gaurang is an electronics engineer with deeprooted experience in New Product Development, Business Development & Fundraising, Management, Sales, Engineering, and many other streams.

●50 Most Inspiring CEOs - 2017, Silicon India
●Outstanding Employee Somaiya Trust 2016 & 2017
●Changemaker recognition by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, 2015
●Best Research Project & Process Innovation Award by Dr.Raghuram Rajan, 2014
●Star Gazing Award for Best Incubation Manager, India
●Young Achiever by World Education Magazine
●Shortlisted by Y Combinator for the startup school program in Silicon Valley, California, 2016

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