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Maker Village to host India Finale of AlphaLabGear Hardware Contest

Promising early-stage hardware startups stand to win exciting prizes, a chance to get an acceleration program in the US as well as compete for a $50,000 grand prize, at the AlphaLabGear National Hardware Cup, a prestigious competition that is being conducted in India for the first time this month.

Electronics incubator Maker Village in Kochi, Kerala, will host the India finals of the AlphaLabGear Hardware Cup on March 27. Entries are open to hardware entrepreneurs from all over the country who can apply on . The deadline for registration is March 23.

The AlphaLabGear National Hardware Cup is an annual pitching contest conducted in seven cities in the US to identify and nurture talented early-stage startups that have created at least one physical product.

The fact that India has been chosen to host the first such competition outside the US is a sign of the growing global interest in the country as a source of hardware innovation, especially given the government’s current thrust on boosting ESDM (Electronic Software Design and Manufacturing) as well as flagship programmes such as Make in India and Digital India, said Maker Village Chief Consultant Prof S. Rajeev.

Participating teams will have the chance to make a 4-minute pitch to an expert panel who will judge them on excellence of the founding team and product or service, market opportunity, early customer success, basic compliance, potential to scale up, demonstrable prototypes, vision, drive and their requirements to productize and go to market, said Thenmozhi Shanmugam, principal of, a startup fund and a partner in the event.

The winning team in Kochi will receive a cash prize of Rs. 25,000 and a one-year subscription to Solidworks, among other prizes. They will be given the opportunity to travel to Pittsburgh in the US in April for the Hardware Cup Finals where they can compete to win a $50,000 convertible-debt investment from a VC, and a 6-month acceleration program.

The trip to the US will be sponsored by AlphaLabGear and Maker Village, said Rohan Kalani, director of operations at Maker Village. Kerala StartUp Mission, IIITMK, BOSCH, and Solidworks are also partnering the event in Kochi. Dr Jayasankar Prasad, CEO of Kerala StartUp Mission, said the support from Kerala government to IT sector over the past years has transformed the state into an emerging technology innovation hub. Prestigious startup support programmes like the AlphaLabGear Hardware Cup coming to Kerala signal the maturing ESDM environment in the state.

Kochi is already is a software powerhouse with major IT zones such as Infopark, Smart City and Kerala Technology Incubation Zone operational there. It is now getting an ESDM push with hubs such as Maker Village and a proposed Rs 160 crore electronics manufacturing cluster and major companies like SFO with operations in the city, said Dr M S Rajasree, Director of IIITMK, which is imparting the leading-edge skills needed to integrate intelligent devices with data analytics.

Maker Village, a project funded by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY), Govt of India, and the Government of Kerala, has facilities in Cochin and Trivandrum to incubate and supports startup companies in electronics such as in IoT, robotics and wearables. It is administered by IIITMK, a leading post graduate educational institute established by the Government of Kerala to impart higher education in the area of Information Technology and Management.

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