Maruti Suzuki will allow startups with ideas in the areas of connected cars, shared mobility, autonomous cars, electric vehicle and its infrastructure etc., to apply.
Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest car manufacturer today announced the launch of its innovation program for early-stage startups in the automobile and mobility space called Mobility & Automobile Innovation Lab (MAIL).
The company has partnered with Gurugram-based startup accelerator GHV Accelerator to tap on innovative startups with solutions that it believes are futuristic and customer oriented.
Startups with innovations in these fields would be offered an opportunity by Maruti Suzuki to turn their ideas into reality, the company said in a statement. The Indian automobile industry is currently undergoing a transformation and requires unique solutions in the mobility and automobile space, it said.
“This initiative will help Maruti Suzuki leverage the innovation capability of startups to provide unique solutions in the mobility and automobile space,” its managing director and CEO Kenichi Ayukawa said.
MAIL will allow startups with ideas in the areas of connected cars, shared mobility, autonomous cars, electric vehicle and its infrastructure etc. The startups should have a business plan, first feasibility concepts and market understanding.
Maruti Suzuki has roped in Germany-based corporate innovation expert and startup mentor Tanja Kufner, German Autolabs founder Holger G. Weiss, Panasonic’s energy systems division head Atul Arya, prolific angel investor Sanjay Mehta etc.
The Proof of Concept (PoC) of selected startups would be monitored for 4 months along with their business models being optimized, pain points evaluated and their innovation specific strategies would be built across, according to MAIL’s website.
From the cohort, the winning startups would be eligible for prize money or an opportunity to do a paid POC with Maruti Suzuki.
While startups that are already funded can also apply for the program, the company hasn’t disclosed whether the equity stake will be involved in its portfolio startups.
Corporates supporting startups in mentoring and capital support has been a rising trend among the startup ecosystems globally. In India, multinational giants and software powerhouses including Google, Microsoft, Target, Cisco, Pitney Bowes, Reliance, Tata, Oracle, SAP, etc., have been running incubation or accelerator programs to capture innovative startups.