Lodha Group to mentor real estate start-ups at township project

Shaishav Dharia, Regional CEO, Lodha Group

Partners Zone Startups India; sets aside ₹50-crore initial corpus

Real estate firm Lodha Developers is looking to mentor start-ups at its township Palava City.

To give a fillip to the same, the company has joined hands with Zone Startups India, an accelerator operated by Toronto-based Ryerson Futures.

Under the Palava Accelerator programme, 30 start-ups will be identified every year through an application process.

The first set of companies to be be accepted into the accelerator will be announced mid-November.

With an initial investment corpus of ₹50 crore, the company will provide not only angel funding and venture capital, but also business opportunities, industry contacts and mentorship.

Focus on real estate

The programme will provide a test-bed to emerging technology start-ups to conduct their pilots at Palava, India’s first privately-developed greenfield smart city located in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), the company said.

In January, Lodha Group had launched its maiden investment fund for start-ups focussed on smart-city solutions and the overall real estate sector.

The fund was formed with an aim to invest in start-ups at all stages of the development cycle, including early-stage ventures.

Shaishav Dharia, Regional CEO, Lodha Group, told Business Line: “Palava township is poised to grow big. Currently, 70 per cent of the residents are from the IT/ITes sector. We see a potential to develop the township into a hub for start-ups. Palava has both residential and commercial projects. The first commercial project within the township will be up and running by March 2018. The second one will be ready by 2019.”

Dharia said the company is also looking to set up co-working spaces for its commercial projects, to encourage start-ups.

“Through the programme, Palava will provide entrepreneurs an opportunity to work with the city management body, mentorship from reputed mentors in these fields (real estate and smart city) and access to investors. We are hopeful that this initiative will encourage start-ups to create disruptive ideas and technologies for the real estate sector and take the Smart City mission a notch higher.”

Ajay Ramasubramaniam, Director, Zone Startups India, said: “It helps us expand our corporate accelerator and innovation work in India beyond fintech. We strongly believe that a thriving start-up hub helps build cities ground up, as we have seen globally.”