I am Gautham, co-founder & COO at SV.CO, the online learning platform for entrepreneurs. We are the ‘Host Institute’ of ITIH-TBI. ITIH-TBI is the entity offering this service to any startup out there. Unfortunately, this service (& the fee for it) has been misconstrued and I’d like to offer some clarification.
The fee is applicable only in the case of those startups that are not part of the incubator from which a recommendation letter is sought by the startup. Clarifying further, a startup that’s part of the Startup Village platform doesn’t have to pay the fee to get the certification. However, a startup that’s not part of the Startup Village platform has to pay the ISBA approved fee to get the letter issued. This enables a lot of startups that are not part of any incubator to also get certified.
Just a note that currently, SV.CO does not offer a physical incubation service, and by default we do not have a large portfolio of startups to recommend. However, we have received a lot of requests from startups to offer the recommendation (from a lot of founders outside our incubated startups), and this is when we decided to offer this service.
Please also note that the application process and fee structure has been framed based on guidelines recommended by the incubator industry body ISBA and is intended to be a uniform structure across all member incubators. Incubators are liable to conduct proper examination about the innovative nature of the business before issuing a recommendation letter to the startup. In short, it’s our understanding that we are following recommended operating guidelines for all incubators.
Again: there are six ways to provide supporting documents for Startup India recognition, and a letter of support from Startup Village (or another member incubator) is just one of the options.
(1) ISBA Guidelines : http://isba.in/guidelines-application-for-startups/#1462521597246-706c4a8b-10dd
(2) Startup Village official blogpost : https://blog.sv.co/recommendations-for-startup-india-6ef14251649a#.6q5eqotn4
(3) Liability for Incubators: FAQ #10: http://dipp.nic.in/English/Investor/startupindia/FAQs_StartupIndia_30March2016.pdf