iit kanpur
Credits - Career360

“Imagine a farmer who has all the information at one place to evaluate, well in advance, what kind of crop can he grow in the upcoming season. At the same time, the analytics could provide policymakers with information to predict crises and act on them promptly to mitigate the situation. With agriculture still being the biggest employer in India, technologies such as AI can have a big impact in fostering the growth of this segment,” said Prof Manindra Agarwal from IIT Kanpur while talking about AI and its potential in solving real-world problems.

Agarwal, a Padma Shri awardee, was speaking at a panel discussion organized by Entrepreneur First (EF), a leading UK-based global talent investor and Start-up Incubation and Innovation Center (SIIC) at IIT Kanpur (IITK) on the role of AI in defining the future of businesses and promote the growth of new-age tech start-ups in India.

Covid-19 has accelerated India’s efforts with innovation. Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) have compelled us to reimagine our businesses and make them more agile, flexible, and responsive. While the world is battling the pandemic, the need of the hour is to put the focus firmly on AI, and the way it will redefine the reality of the post-Covid world. According to the report from NASSCOM, Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) could potentially add $450-500 billion to India’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025 and drive India’s economic growth.

Speaking at the event Esha Tiwary, General Manager of Entrepreneur First, India said, “Today, we are fortunate to have AI talent and researchers in the country that are top of the line at a global level. In fact, we are at the peak of reverse brain drain in the country – well trained and high-quality AI researchers and experts are coming back to India to create an impact here. As the real impact of AI lies in solving complex real-world problems, it is quite exciting and inspiring to already see disruptions happening across multiple industries such as fintech, healthcare, and real estate.”

IIT Kanpur officially partnered with Entrepreneur First earlier this year to facilitate the journey for exceptional and talented individuals who aspire to become entrepreneurs. The panel discussion was part of the collaborative program between IITK and EF to engage with potential founders through webinars, interactive discussions, and online mentorship for students, researchers, and alumni of IITK and affiliated institutions.


“To establish scale and solve a real-world problem through cutting-edge innovation, startups need deep technical knowledge apart from commercial skill-sets, which high-quality researchers bring to the table. At EF, we create this bridge between business and technical experts so that they can come together to solve some of the world’s biggest problems and create long-lasting impact through entrepreneurship,” asserted Esha Tiwary.

The esteemed line of panelists included Prof Manindra Agarwal, IIT Kanpur, Esha Tiwary, General Manager – Entrepreneur First, India, and Rupak Agarwal, Founder & CEO – EvueMe Selection Bot. The panel touched upon various topics on Artificial Intelligence such as the evolution of Artificial Intelligence in India over the years, adoption of AI from Academia to Industry, certain industries placed at an advantage for leveraging AI, and trends in the deep tech ecosystem to name a few.

“Artificial Intelligence was once seen as mimicking human intelligence. But the last decade has introduced the world to the fourth paradigm of AI, which is immeasurably advanced. Our new generation needs to build new deep tech businesses that can have a larger and deeper impact. And they can. Because Indian entrepreneurs and researchers have an immense talent which hasn’t gone unnoticed by the world,” added Prof Agarwal.

According to a report, the total number of tech start-ups in India has grown to 8,900-9,300, with 1,300 start-ups being added in2019 alone. As the Indian technology start-up landscape evolves to become the fourth largest in the world, it’s time to bring academia, industry, and policymakers together to formulate a well-thought-out plan and encourage innovations that can solve real problems of the real world. 

The event concluded with a Q&A with aspiring entrepreneurs asking interesting questions on Artificial Intelligence and the early tech ecosystem in India to the panelists.

Founded in 2011, Entrepreneur First is the world’s leading technology talent investor, bringing together extraordinary people to build startups from scratch in London, Singapore, Berlin, Paris, Toronto, and Bangalore. Through their $200m funds, the company invests in individuals to find a world-class co-founder, develop an idea and fund the deep technology businesses they create.

Entrepreneur First has created 200+ companies, which include Magic Pony Technology (acquired by Twitter), Represent (acquired by CustomInk), Bloomsbury AI (acquired by Facebook), Tractable, Cleo, OpenCosmos, CloudNC, Transcelestial, and many more. The global investor is backed by Reid Hoffman, Greylock Partners, Founders Fund, Mosaic Ventures, and Lakestar.

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