Hyderabad: International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIIT-H) is now working on a catalogue of technologies that can be commercialised either as products or a licences. These have been developed in-house as research projects.
In this direction, it has already commenced an `entrepreneur in residence programme’. Based on the outcomes, it will be decided if the products or technologies will be made as `startups’ to find use cases, according to Ramesh Loganathan, Professor Co-Innovation at IIT-H.
Loganathan gave up his corporate career of more than 15 years to turn a teacher at IIIT-H. In his new role, he wants to be a bridge between the academia and industry to foster innovation.
“There are many teachers who are continuing for the love of teaching. They could easily make 10 to 15 times more than what they get by teaching. That is an inspiration. That way, me coming into fulltime teaching is not a big thing,” says Loganathan, who in his last assignment was the managing director and vice president (products) at Progress Software.
Loganathan was a part-time faculty at IIIT-H from 2002. His engagement with IIIT-H increased from 2007, when he started to focus on startup ecosystem.
He is now also the chief innovation officer (interim) at the State Innovation Cell, an initiative of Telangana Government that aims to document, network and amplify the early stage support ecosystem.
What is the startup ecosystem like?
“Some startups marketing savvy communicate. But most companies do not work that way. But from the ecosystem standpoint, many are not known until it is quite late,” says Loganathan.
“Some startups work in stealth modes for long. Ideas alone do not make successful startups but their execution does,” he says understanding the initial market opportunity is important than being concerned about various possibilities later.
The measure of performance is not just the marks alone. “Engineering is not all for students. Also, some teachers find it difficult to inspire students as they come to colleges with the bitterness of not finding anything else,” he says.
“We have to improve the quality of research. Engagement with the industry is not something that we have done much in the past. In the days to come, we will focus on strengthening the industry-institute ties,” says Loganathan adding IIIT-H aspires to be among the top research institutions in the world by 2025.
“Typically, technology transfer offices deal with licence part of the technology. Technology is present in the lab, they find customers, negotiate with them the terms and conditions and execute it. For us, the problem is deep as we do not have a catalogue yet. We have research publications. Now, our will teams think like startups to come up with use cases and business plans,” he says.
“I am not sure if am evangelising startups but I am surely a champion of startups,” says Loganathan, who first worked in Bay Area. The company he worked there was in talks with Hyderabad-based Pramati. “Our plan was to settle in Bengaluru. Two or three months later, I got to know the founders better. I changed my plans and instead made Hyderabad my home,” he says.
Part of Pramati was acquired by Progress Software and as a result he started working at Progress. “I again came back to Pramati for two years and again went back to Progress after restructuring,” says Loganthan, who does not let an opportunity go to show his adulation for Super star Rajinikant, including wearing a Kabali Tee Shirt.
“I love carrying my heart (Rajinikanth) on my sleeves. I love his spirit. A man as successful as him can still afford to be as simple as him. He is not flashy outside. He is grounded,” he says.