IMAGE, claimed to be India’s first Centre of Excellence for Gaming, VFX, Computer Vision and AI, was opened in Hyderabad on Feb 17th. Set up by the Software Technology Park of India, this is also said to be the first incubation center for companies focussed on IP in Gaming, VFX, Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision.
STPI-IMAGE has also signed MoU with 5 other partners – Telangana VFX, Animation and Gaming Association (TVAGA), Hyderabad Angels, HYSEA, IIIT- Hyderabad, and TiE Hyderabad with an objective to nurture and promote start-ups and budding entrepreneurs by offering resources like mentoring, technology support, infrastructure like Plug & Play Incubation, Mocap, CVAI labs, and funding.
The 10000 Sq ft, IMAGE-CoE, inside the existing STPI facility targets to incubate up to 25-30 start-ups per year for the next five years. A total investment of 19. 68 Cr shall be spent over a period of 5 years for the CoE in addition to existing infrastructure in the STPI facility.
The start-ups will be mentored by a group of accomplished industry and academic pioneers, led by the Chief Mentor and aided by a strong Governing Council (GC) & Project Management Group (PMG) consisting of top technology industrialists, investors, and academicians.
Commenting on the launch of the CoE in Hyderabad, Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary of the Industries & Commerce (I&C) and Information Technology (IT) said, “Hyderabad is fast emerging as the best global destination for Gaming and AI landscape. That’s one key reason we believe STPI chose to set up its CoE in Hyderabad, and as partners, we are fully committed to this initiative. ” “We have a strong eco-system, as the city of Hyderabad hosts established world-leading-gaming companies, global scale events such as IndiaJoy, The India Game Developers Conference (IGDC) plus India’s biggest IMAGE towers readying to open in Hyderabad.”
Stating that Hyderabad was a natural choice to set up the IMAGE CoE due to its inherent industry strengths, Omkar Rai, Director-General, STPI expressed, “The CoE will bring a paradigm shift in revving up research and innovation in Gaming, VFX, Computer Vision & AI through a robust ecosystem in collaboration with tech partners, industry, investors, industry associations and government, and will bolster indigenous product development while propelling the growth of tech entrepreneurship in the country. By collaborating with industry associations, academia, and angels, we have ensured the IMAGE incubation model is built on a solid foundation to realizing our mission to build world-class gaming, Animation and Deep Tech providers to the world.”
“Setting up STPI-IMAGE CoE is great news for the Gaming sector, especially startups as they now have access to game development, funding, foster strategic partnerships with game development companies and global gaming publishers, TVAGA will play an active role in promoting the gaming sector and support IMAGE mission, ” said Rajiv Chilaka, President, TVAGA & Founder and CEO of Green Gold.
Congratulating Software Technology Parks of India, Hyderabad, for setting up the Centre of Excellence in animation and gaming as well as in computer vision and AI, Shashi Reddy, Chief Mentor of IMAGE CoE and VP Engineering, Qualcomm India, in his address said, “Hyderabad has a lot of animation and gaming companies, and the industry has been maturing over the years. This is a great opportunity for new start-ups to build, nurture innovation at STPI-IMAGE and accelerate the growth of gaming and animation in the city.”
“I am really excited about the future, as the new Computer Vision and AI at CoE will propel Deep learning techniques and help grow the CV and AI areas, as well as augment new Startup,” Shashi added.
“I am very happy to see the STPI CoE become operational. We have been working on it for many months now. It is a very unique endeavor where we have STPI and the Telangana State, we have IIIT, we have industry association HYSEA, we have a large company like Qualcomm and the gaming and animation association TVAGA, all involved. We will be supporting the start-ups from IIIT, from both research and as well as the innovation center standpoint. We are hoping to find very interesting start-ups that are using Computer Vision & AI to solve different problems for different industries. The opportunities are huge from medical solutions to industry for point solutions to safety and security related. Expressed, Ramesh Loganathan, Professor of Practice, Co-innovation at IIIT-Hyderabad.
Highly Value Partnerships
IMAGE is a collaboration between industry associations, academia, and angels. TVAGA will lend support in funding game development start-ups and fostering strategic partnerships between game development start-ups and global gaming publishers. In addition, TVAGA will be sponsoring Gamelab related resources such as cloud and advertising credits for gaming start-ups being accelerated at CoE.
HYSEA will help provide seed funding, strategy guidance, market access besides helping the start-ups on matters related to Product definition. On their part, Hyderabad Angels will provide strategy, mentoring, and help to raise funds for the start-ups. IIIT-H: will extend technology mentoring support. The State Government will aid in strengthening the CoE goals with industry-friendly IMAGE policies and may also consider providing grant-in-aid to meritorious start-ups.