Meta has announced that it will incubate 40 early-stage extended reality (XR) startups from India by providing a grant of ₹20 lakh to each as part of a new accelerator called the XR Startup Program. This will be in collaboration with the Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY).
Moreover, Meta will also conduct a grand challenge for individual innovators from various sectors, including education, agri-tech, tourism, climate, healthcare, gaming, and entertainment. These innovators will be given support to get their XR products ready for the market.
At first, 80 innovators will be selected for a boot camp, out of which 16 will receive a grant of ₹20 lakhs each to develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or prototype. Both the grand challenge and accelerator will also help support startups and innovators to build customer connections and acquire new partnerships and funding opportunities.
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XR consists of all immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) that provide real-world experiences in a virtual world and virtual experiences through real-world objects and spaces using head-mounted displays or smartphones.
The startup program is being implemented in the AIC SMU Technology Business Incubation Foundation (AIC-SMUTBI), Gujarat University Startup and Entrepreneurship Council (GUSEC), International Institute of Information Technology Hyderabad Foundation (CIE IIIT-H), and IIT Delhi’s Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT).
According to Meta, the startup program is being supported by the company’s XR Programs and Research Fund, which will provide US$50 million in funding over two years to XR startups in collaboration with governments, non-profits, industry partners, and academia.