India has an estimated 75,000 startups and a vast majority of these fall under the software category. This means that France headquartered design software technology company Dassault Systemes had to look far and wide to zero in on startups in the hardware category.
As a global technology corporation that provides design, simulation and product lifecycle management software to sectors such as automotive, life sciences, infrastructure and manufacturing, Dassault Systemes believes in early engagement with the startups.
The company, which entered India in the late 90s, has provided software support to more than 2,000 hardware companies in the country via its startup engagement programme. Its 3D Experience Lab, which is the R&D setup of the company, has already had five cohorts since its launch in 2018.
Now its goal is much bigger.
“We aim to grow our engagement with the startups in India by over five times,” Suchit Jain, VP – Strategy & Business Development, Dassault Systemes Solidworks told YourStory.
Dassault Systemes says it has also created an ecosystem where it engages with influencers, students, medical professionals as well as has partnered with NITI Aayog and Shiv Nadar University to foster entrepreneurship.
It has also built a flexible pricing model for partner startups. In the first year of its engagement, startups can use its software free of charge. In the second year, they get a discount of 75% followed by a 50% discount in the third year.
Generally, Dassault Systemes works with startups that are less than five years old and have revenue under a million dollars.
Around five years ago, Suchit says, India had only a handful of hardware startups and that these were primarily funded via government institutions.
Today, the situation is relatively better, he says.
Dassault Systemes primarily scouts for startups through its association with various incubators as well as accelerators in the country. The company’s biggest challenge is letting the ecosystem know on a wider basis that they are available for the startups.
The company has partnered with both startups and institutions. Under its cohort, it has tied with startup such as LUCID Implants, which makes craniomaxillofacial and neurosurgical implants and BrainSight AI, a neurology-related startup. At the same, it has partnered with organisations such as Atal Innovation Labs for Startups and Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation for a centre on advance manufacturing.
According to Suchit, a confluence of factors like the growing influence of entrepreneurship among the youth, incubators dedicated to hardware startups and the need for innovative solutions in the area of infrastructure has led to the emergence of a larger number of hardware startups.
As an example, Bengaluru-based based electric vehicle startup Simple Energy is using Dassault Systemes’ technology platform to design, develop and manufacture its product.
As part of its partnership, Dassault Systemes is providing training, co-marketing and mentorship apart from software access.
“We bring the connections to the table and the network effect of ours is very vast,” says Suchit.
Dassault Systemes has under its portfolio an array of design software technologies which cater to different requirements with brands like Catia, Solidworks, Simulia, Delmia, and Enovia.
Latest in its arsenal is 3Dexperience — a platform based approach where one can pick and choose the design software based on the project’s requirement. This includes all aspects of manufacturing from ideation to reality which include design and engineering, manufacturing and production, simulation, governance and collaboration.
For the startups, this platform is available on the cloud on a subscription basis.
When asked about the experience of engaging with startups in India, Suchit says overall it has been good. He quips that founders from the hardware segment are a little more humble when compared to those from the software.
On a serious note, Suchit believes startups in the hardware category need to get business savvy. He is optimistic that the ecosystem for the category has been seeing positive push from the last few years.
Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti