C3iHub, the Technology Innovation Hub on Cyber Security of Cyber Physical Systems Program on Innovation Ecosystem Building at IIT Kanpur, has launched the Second Cohort of 14 startups under the Startup Incubation Program at an event held on 16 July, 2022. The event was graced by Prof. Ajay K. Sood, Principal Scientific Advisor, Government of India as the Chief Guest. Other dignitaries include Dr. Srivari Chandrasekhar, DST Secretary; Dr. Rajesh Pant, National Cyber Security Co-ordinator; Shri Naveen Singh, Director General, NCIIPC; Dr. Ekta Kapoor, Mission Director, NMICPS, DST; Prof. Manindra Agrawal, Project Director, C3iHub, IIT Kanpur and Prof. Sandeep Shukla, Co-Project Director, C3iHub, IIT Kanpur. The honourable panellists charted a way forward for the selected cohort aiming to redefine cybersecurity in India with a holistic approach.
The mission of C3iHub is to address cybersecurity issues in cyber-physical systems like critical infrastructures, automotives, and unmanned aerial vehicles (drones). In cyber-physical system, cybersecurity is eventually linked with general areas of cybersecurity, including network security, cryptography, intrusion detection, and deception technology. So, the startups were chosen from all domains of cybersecurity including UAV Security, Blockchain, Intrusion Detection, and Cyber Physical System. The main objectives of C3iHub include developing critical infrastructure security products and services and fostering the next generation of cybersecurity entrepreneurs.
Addressing the cohort, Prof. Ajay Kumar Sood, Principal Scientific Advisor, Govt. of India said, “Skilled cyber-attackers from many countries are targeting India since it has grown rapidly in the past few years. To safeguard India’s cyberspace, we need more security solutions or products and that too in a timely manner since the trend of cyber-attacks is changing day by day”. He also added, “PSA’s office is actively working towards giving big push to India’s startup ecosystem to make them sustainable with more funding and by roping in the industries.”
Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Director, IIT Kanpur, said, “Cybersecurity is a very crucial field for National security. At IIT Kanpur, we are relentlessly working towards developing critical cyber security solutions. I am glad to see that several startups incubated with C3iHub from the first cohort have already developed deployable security solutions and products that are making significant impact. I am confident that the second cohort will also bring in significant change in cyber security in India and will make India self-reliant in near future.”
As part of India’s growing cybersecurity system, C3iHub was founded under the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS) in 2020. The rigorous selection process for the first cohort of startups and the official launch of the first cohort happened in 2021, when the entire nation was battling the COVID-19 crisis.
Prof. Manindra Agrawal, Project Director, C3iHub said, “C3iHub has taken up the challenge to launch 125 startups in 5 years in critical cybersecurity areas associated with cyber physical systems. So far, 30 startups have been launched in the 1st and 2nd cohort, and invitation for 3rd cohort application has already been floated.”
C3iHub offers a seed grant of Rs 10 lakhs to incubated startups, and Rs 50000/month salary for one founder for two years, resulting in an initial investment of Rs 22 lakhs. The organization anticipates that at least 20% of the startups will succeed after 2 years of incubation. At this stage, C3iHub offers additional funding and connects startups with investors and companies to help them raise funding. Over the past two years, through these startups, C3iHub has been able to create around 230 job opportunities.
In the event, Prof. Sandeep Shukla, Co-Project Director, C3iHub, talked about C3iHub’s achievements so far, and highlighted the installment of fully open-source components- based Security Operation Center C3iVajra at National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) headquarters, in 2021. He also highlighted mobile data leakage analysis carried out on smartphones.
The event brought together industry veterans, Government officials and experts in the Indian cybersecurity space to commemorate the launch of the startup cohort. The startups, supported by C3iHub at IIT Kanpur, will innovate to disrupt the cybersecurity space, focusing on design and development of services and products to safeguard India’s critical infrastructure. The event ended with ‘vote of thanks’ given by Dr Tanima Hazra, Interim CEO of C3iHub.