IITs soften stand on allowing start-ups for placements
The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are softening their stand on allowing start-ups to recruit from their campuses.
In August, IITs had decided that before inviting start-ups for campus placements, they would review their balance sheets for the past three years, study their annual reports and seek independent feedback from experts and the IIM alumni employed by these start-ups. However, with most start-ups having been floated by their own students, IITs say the due diligence might not be as stringent.
"We will allow a basic background check regarding start-ups but we cannot decline placements if they do not furnish their annual reports or balance sheets. Many start-ups are founded by our own students. We cannot deny them permission to be on campus," said a placement cell official at IIT Bombay.
This year, IIT Bombay has seen increased interest from start-ups to participate in campus placements. Overall, about 300 companies, including start-ups, have applied so far. Last year, 240 companies had applied as of October.
The IITs begin placements from their campuses on December 1 every year.
IIT Kharagpur has said it is willing to take a chance with start-ups founded by its alumni. "There are two sets of start-ups - those operating since the past two-three years and those that are fresh. The former have built a reputation. For instance, OYO Rooms, an IIT Kharagpur alumnus-founded start-up, has established its brand value in the market. Now, it is treated as a company such as Flipkart. Any such start-up, which has shown a good trend through two-three years, will not face much of an issue in being invited to IITs for placements," said a source at IIT Kharagpur.
In the case of fresh start-ups, the institute is willing to show leniency to those founded by its own students. "The other set of start-ups, which are absolutely fresh, will be reviewed very carefully. One of the important things we will ask at the review will be about the founders. Let's say an IIT Kharagpur alumnus is a founder and started a company six months or a year back. With such companies, yes, we will take our chances because there are less chances of being cheated," the source added.
At their meeting in August, all IIT placement committees (AIPCs) had decided the evaluation of start-ups would be at the discretion of the IIT concerned. It is under the AIPCs that IITs are collecting and comparing information on the experience of their students with start-ups.
"We are going to be extremely liberal with start-ups on our campus. The central government is also encouraging start-ups in India. We will do our part," said Sarit K Das, director, IIT Ropar.
In August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the 'Start-up India; Stand up India' campaign, which pertained to promoting bank financing for start-ups and offering incentives to boost entrepreneurship and job creation.
Apart from alumni, IITs are also reaching out to independent analysts and investors to understand the longevity or credibility of a start-up.
In the past few months, several start-ups, including Zomato, Housing.com and TinyOwl, have laid off employees. IIT Bombay said this year, Zomato wouldn't visit its campus for placements.