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  • Updated: September 13, 2022

Meta Launches Startup Incubator To Advance Metaverse In India

Social media giant, Meta has teamed with the Indian IT Ministry’s startup hub to introduce an accelerator in the nation to promote innovation in cutting-edge technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality.

According to officials on Tuesday, the social media giant said that the XR Startup Program, a collaboration between MeitY Startup Hub and Meta is expected to assist 40 early-stage entrepreneurs with product and service development as well as research and development. Meta added that each business will also receive a stipend of more than $25,000.

80 entrepreneurs will first be hand-selected for the programme, which is funded by Meta's $50 million XR Programs and Research Fund, to attend a boot camp. According to Meta, it will also help entrepreneurs with customer acquisition, connection building, and capital raising.

The programme is mainly intended to support fostering technological innovation in smaller cities and towns, according to Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology, Skill Development, and Entrepreneurship.

The XR Startup Program is the most recent example of Meta's expanding involvement in the upskilling initiatives in the South Asian market.

In order to launch a certified curriculum on digital safety and online well-being as well as augmented reality for students and educators in the country, the company—whose Facebook and WhatsApp services identify India as their largest market by users—partnered with the Central Board of Secondary Education, a government body that oversees education in private and public schools in the nation.

The initiative, which will be carried out by four Indian schools, among them IIT Delhi, will also hold a "grand challenge" for innovation in fields including education, healthcare, entertainment, agritech, climate action, sustainability, and tourism, according to the American corporation.

“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 opportunities 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,” said Joel Kaplan, VP of Global Policy at Meta, in a statement.

Working with entrepreneurs in India has long piqued Meta's attention. Three firms in the nation have received funding from the company, including the social commerce platform Meesho and the online learning organisation Unacademy.

“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,” said Ajit Mohan, VP and MD of Facebook India, in a statement.

“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.”

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Lawrence Agbo
Lawrence Agbo

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