Maruti Suzuki ties up with IIM-B to scout for auto-tech start-ups

Maruti Suzuki India said it has tied up with NS Raghavan Center Entrepreneurial Learning at IIM Bangalore to scout out start-ups in the automobile sector.

Maruti Suzuki, India’s biggest carmaker, will look for technology-based innovations that can be applied in the mobility sector.

Among the focus areas will be digital, data and AI/ML in the fields of autonomous mobility, shared mobility, mobility solution for rural, connected cars, vehicle diagnostic, vehicle safety and advanced driver assist system, supply chain management, block chain, data security, warehousing, finance, advertisement and loyalty program.

“The collaboration marks first-of-its kind initiative by an automobile manufacturing company to help early-stage startups become large scale businesses. This will be a 3-month (pre-incubation) and 6- month (incubation) engagement,” the Gurgaon-based company said.

Maruti Suzuki has taken several steps to tap the innovative potential of start-ups as the automobile industry gets ready for one of the biggest disruptions in its history with a transition away from the internal combustion engine to electric engines.

The company launched its Mobility and Automobile Innovation Lab in January 2019 to identify and collaborate with startups by co-creating innovative business solutions.

“The futuristic solutions being developed under MAIL initiative has a positive impact on Maruti Suzuki’s business. These solutions help to efficiently bring in technological advancements relevant to automobile business,” it said. The IIMB tie-up is also part of MAIL.

Kenichi Ayukawa, Managing Director & CEO of Maruti Suzuki said his company hopes to addresses the needs of early stage startups that have the potential to become large-scale businesses.

“The tie-up is aimed to nurture the next generation companies that will define future mobility solution and can make a significant contribution to create jobs,” he said.

Prof Venkatesh Panchapagesan, Chairperson of NSRCEL, said the partnership will leverage the broader IIM Bangalore’s network of faculty, students and alumni “as well as the expertise and counsel of a host of partner institutions who are active in this domain.”

Under this program, early stage startups will get incubation support and a chance for potential partnership with Maruti Suzuki to fast-track the growth of their venture, the automaker said.

In particular, the company will help with need assessment, access to domain expert, investor connect, mentoring, guidance to regulations and a demo day to catalyse its growth.