Mahindra group wants to foster in-house start-ups, says chairman Anand Mahindra

Autos-to technology conglomerate Mahindra wants to spur a greater start-up culture within the group, looking to foster new businesses which will compliment its existing products and services.

"We don't believe start-ups are the private preserve of only garage start-ups...The corporate garage is going to be the scene of a lot of action," said Anand Mahindra, executive chairman of Mahindra group, in an interview with Reuters at an investor gathering on Tuesday.

Mahindra & Mahindra, the group's automotive arm, in September partnered with ride-sharing firm Ola to drive sales of cars, and also to use some of the data on drivers and rides to influence the cars it designs in the future.

The partnership will also feed into research on autonomous driving, Mahindra had said at the time.

Some of the country's young entrepreneurs have tapped domestic and overseas investors to build companies such as e-commerce groups Flipkart and Snapdeal, now taking on global giant Amazon.com, as well as Ola which competes with Uber Technologies.

Only recently though, have Indian corporations begun to look into fostering innovation and start-ups internally, as they seek to avoid being disrupted by up-start companies.

Investments in start-ups will be made primarily via Mahindra Partners, the group's venture capital arm that already houses several startups like Trringo - a farm equipment and tractor rental business and Smart Shift - an Uber equivalent for small goods carriers.

Mahindra said they would look for technologies and products which would benefit the group's existing companies.

The group is also looking at investment opportunities in primary health care and diagnostics, as well as in the digital sphere, such as in Blockchain.

Blockchain allows for transactions and data transfers to be completed in seconds through a peer-to-peer computer network, with no need for a third party.

The technology is viewed as a potential game changer for the banking industry, a sector that Tech Mahindra, the conglomerate's IT services arm, is very focused on.

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