Threatened by start-ups and new-age companies, Tata Communications plans to spend as much as USD 17.5 million (about Rs 108 crore) over the next two years on funding 10 ideas that have the potential to turn into multi-million businesses. Also Read - BYJU's Early Learn app takes kindergarten classes online using Disney characters and computer-vision framework
The firm, part of the over USD 100 billion Tata Group, already runs a programme — Moonwalks — to concentrate on exploring new industries and subjects. Also Read - Oppo signs MoU with Telangana to help startups grow
“We are constantly being threatened by new ways of communication from start-ups and new generation companies. We believe the process of innovation begins with curiosity and a desire to learn,” Tata Communications MD and CEO Vinod Kumar said in an interview in the Tata Group’s in-house magazine. Also Read - Google invests in startups to make its Assistant smarter
The idea is to get people comfortable with something they know nothing about, he added.
“We invite our people to submit ideas that have the potential to become a USD 200 million business within 10 years and touch billions of people,” Kumar said.
The best ideas are selected and then coached to implement these ideas, he added.
“My goal is to have 10 different incubations going on within two years. We have USD 10 million of capex and USD 7.5 million earmarked for the programme,” he said.
Started early this year, Moonwalk is experimenting with ideas like artificial intelligence and machine learning, 3D printing and manufacturing, intelligent networks, alternative energy sources and healthcare.
Tata Communications’ portfolio includes transmission, IP, converged voice, mobility, managed network connectivity, hosted data centre, communications solutions and business transformation services.