Ryerson and Indian startup zone partner to help international tech companies

Navdeep Bains (3rd from left), Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Government of Canada launches Gateway 91 at Zone Startups. (Courtesy via TechStory)

Navdeep Bains (3rd from left), Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Government of Canada launches Gateway 91 at Zone Startups. (Courtesy via TechStory)

Last week, Ryerson Futures Incorporated partnered with an Indian startup zone to help launch a new program to bring more tech companies to India.

The new program, called Gateway91, is based out of the Bombay Stock Exchange building in Mumbai, India and is designed for international technology companies looking to expand into India.

Zone Startups India, the organization that is launching the the new program, is a Mumbai-based venture for entrepreneurs to fast-track their startups and connect with mentors, customers and investors. Inaugurated in early 2014, it is operated by Ryerson Futures and is the first accelerator that provides a bridge between Indian and North American startups.

Ryerson Futures is an accelerator for early stage companies connected to the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University.

The Ryersonian spoke with Ryerson Futures Inc. president Matt Saunders in an email interview about Gateway91.

How was the idea for Gateway91 conceived?

The Zone Startups India accelerator has already hosted international entrepreneurs looking to do business India. The incubator then saw the need to offer a more formalized program for companies looking to expand and have permanent offices in India.

What is the primary purpose of this initiative?

The purpose of this initiative is to help international companies expand into the Indian market. The governments of Ontario and Canada have also partnered to fund five Canadian financial technology startups to participate in Gateway91 to help Canadian innovators seize the many opportunities provided by the Indian market, while introducing India to valuable Canadian innovations.

How does Zone Startups India work?

Gateway91 will offer end-to-end services for international technology companies looking to set up their first office in India. Zone Startups India will help companies make the transition to a new market by providing supports including:

  • Work space within a community of like-minded entrepreneurs
  • Local industry expert mentors
  • Professional and administrative services for business establishment
  • Corporate connections for customer development
  • Networking opportunities with potential investors

Tell me more about the selection process used to choose companies to collaborate with. What does the criteria consist of?

Companies applying for the Gateway91 program need to satisfy certain criteria, which include:

  • Being a company that will solve a real-world problem through the use of financial technology
  • Have a viable business plan and working prototype that’s in the market or ready to launch
  • Being able to show evidence of market validation of your solution, such as customer demand and/or feedback and/or traction to date
  • Have the potential to grow and scale to achieve high impact
  • Have a leadership team comprised of driven, coachable and collaborative people with expertise in their area of focus

Are there any collaborators you have already started working with? If yes, explain.

Ryerson Futures and Zone Startups India have worked with the provincial and federal governments in the past to help Canadian entrepreneurs in the Indian market.

What do you see in Gateway91’s future?

We’re exciting to see the program launch and hopefully help many of international startups expand into India. As the needs for entrepreneurs evolve, we will ensure Gateway91 keeps pace so that we’re providing innovators with the tools they need to succeed.

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