New Delhi : Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) under the Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence and US Department of Defence, organised the maiden INDUS-X Investors Meet on 8 November 2023 at New Delhi as a pre-cursor to the 2+2 Indo-US Ministerial Dialogue. The INDUS-X Educational Series (Gurukul) was also launched during the event. Mr Doug Beck, Director Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), US DoD led the US delegation and Mr Vivek Virmani, PO (G) & COO/iDEX-DIO the Indian delegation. The event was co-ordinated by US India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), IndusTech, and mach33.aero (Social Alpha).
The first-ever INDUS-X Investors Event evinced the interest of the investors in the start-ups and MSMEs operating in the defence sector and the emerging opportunities under the INDUS-X initiative. The interactive meet brought all the stakeholders viz Startups/MSMEs, Investors, Incubators, Industry from both sides under one roof to discuss the collaborative agendas and opportunities thereon.
The event also had focused panel discussions with a select audience of 50 thought leaders, including start-ups, investors, government officials and business leaders from the defence industry. The panel discussed on ‘Investment Opportunities in the Defence Sector’, elaborating upon establishing a sustainable commercial foundation for defence collaboration and co-production.
In the Investor-Start-up Connect session, leading Indian and US investors, VCs and defence start-ups offered their insights regarding their plans for the defence sector and the expectations from each other. Select Indian and US startups also presented their profile and innovations to the marquee audience.
The Gurukul initiative is aimed to help the innovators /startups to navigate in the defence eco-system of the US and India. The Gurukul (Education) series will have sessions for the startups/innovators by the experts from both sides including Govt Officials, Corporate Leaders, Industry Forums, Incubators/ Accelerators etc. The kick-off session was launched with an interesting fireside chat between the Director, DIU and the COO, DIO highlighting the opportunities for the defence start-ups under the INDUS-X initiative and the way-ahead.
Mr Beck appreciated the brainstorming session on setting up a Joint Innovation Fund besides the panel discussions on critical issues. He expressed satisfaction with the response to the joint IMPACT challenges and was confident that the Gurukul Educational Series would help the startups in navigating in the defence eco-systems of India and USA.
Mr Virmani added that the path breaking Investor connect event would lead to increased collaboration in the field of defence innovation. He also agreed that the topics finalised under Gurukul will be relevant for all stakeholders, especially the startups. Both Director/DIU and COO/DIO invited the startups and innovators to apply in the joint IMPACT challenges, and to participate in the Gurukul Educational Series.
India – U.S. Defense Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X) was launched in June 2023 during the State Visit of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India to the US to expand strategic technology partnership and defense industrial cooperation between governments, businesses, and academic institutions of India and US. INDUS X will be a defence innovation bridge which would inter-alia include Joint Challenges, Joint Innovation Fund, Academia engagement, Industry-startup connect, investment by private entities in defence projects , mentoring by experts, niche technology projects etc.