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Keep up with the latest from ACIR


The White House recognises ACIR run Nexus Program

Very proud to be highlighted in the White House Briefing on US-India initiatives making a difference. The Nexus program continues to bring U.S. best practices in entrepreneurship to Indian startups.

In the last 4 years since its founding, ACIR’s Nexus program has graduated 13 cohorts of 153 Indian startups, who have gone on to raise over $20 million dollars in outside funding and forged over 70 deals with U.S. companies.

In preparation for President Biden hosting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to forge closer ties between the two leading Indo-Pacific powers, the White House issued a Briefing Fact Sheet on leading initiatives between the U.S. and India and included ACIR’s Nexus incubation program as one of those successful programs that continue to make a large impact.

We at ACIR are proud of our work in India and look forward to continue helping Indian startups grow and be successful in their entrepreneurial journey!


ACIR awarded the Nexus 2.0 contract

After running the Nexus program for over 18 months and overseeing its successful transition to an online program during the COVID pandemic, ACIR has been awarded the Nexus contract until April of 2023. Under Nexus 2.0, ACIR will continue the American Center based Nexus pre-incubation program, conduct industry workshops connecting U.S. companies and Indian startups, and conduct Incubator Manager training workshops in 5 cities across India.

“We are grateful to the Department of State for selecting ACIR from over 17 competing organizations to continue our work with the Nexus program. The results this program has achieved for our graduates, whether in terms of funding raised, social impact, jobs created or partnerships with U.S. and international companies, have been phenomenal. We look forward to continuing that impact for our startups and the Indian ecosystem as a whole over the next 2 years.” said Erik Azulay, President of ACIR.

The planned Nexus expansion projects bring together multiple stakeholders of the start-up ecosystem like entrepreneurs, innovators, mentors, government agencies, industry players, and funding organizations to promote U.S. best practices in entrepreneurship to Indian start-ups. Through its training and mentorship programs, ACIR supports innovators to become more
fundable to potential American and Indian investors. To date, Nexus has graduated over 150 start-ups, who have raised over $19 million in external funding and grants, and created over 3,000 jobs in India.

A Nexus graduate shared “Startup Nexus has been one of the best incubation programs I have attended so far. At the start, the intensive schedule seemed unnerving, but each and every session had a meaningful impact and purpose to it. The program quality, delivery, and discipline are simply superb. Thank you Nexus team! I take pride in being alumni of your program.”

While many players are being added to the Indian startup ecosystem, ACIR’s Nexus program continues to stand out and be recognised as one of India’s premier business incubators.


ACIR receives extension of Nexus Incubator Program through 2020

ACIR was awarded a 7 month contract extension to run the Nexus startup hub and incubation program based at the American Center in New Delhi. 

Nexus serves as a central hub for entrepreneurs, innovators, mentors, government agencies, industry players and funding organizations to promote Indian startups, to showcase best practices of American and Indian entrepreneurship, and to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem.  The Nexus project supports innovators through training and mentorship programs, links them to potential American and Indian investors and features the incubator as a living model for best practices. 

Erik Azulay, president of ACIR, moved to Delhi in 2017 to create the Nexus program and has managed it ever since.  “We are glad to continue our work with the U.S. Embassy on bringing American best practices in entrepreneurship and incubation to India and to link promising Indian startups with U.S. businesses.  Nexus has graduated over 95 Indian startups since we began this program and those startups have gone on to raise over $6 million USD in outside funding and have created over 1000 jobs.  Nexus is now recognized as one of the premier business incubators in India and is being asked to conduct training programs for other incubator managers; a strong validation of ACIR’s methodology and best practices in incubation.  We are glad to be the face of the U.S. Embassy’s commitment to supporting the Indian innovation ecosystem and joint U.S. Indian prosperity.”

Although there are challenges to running an entrepreneurship program during a pandemic, ACIR successfully transitioned the ninth cohort to an online platform and on graduation, welcomed those startups into the Nexus family.


Startup Defense Conference at Hyderabad, a great success!

ACIR collaborated with the U.S. Consulate General in Hyderabad to organize a two day workshop that brought together the top entrepreneurs, corporate leaders from the defense industry and government officials to demonstrate how start-ups and their technologies can bring innovation to the defense sector and further strengthen U.S.-India collaboration in defense manufacturing.

In the two-day workshop, selected innovative received training by experts, aimed at helping them become more attractive to the defense industry, potential partners, and investors. Akshat Mathur, Co-founder of High Availability Solutions said “This defence workshop is the best thing that has happened to us in a long time, it gave us all the inputs we needed in terms of commercializing the technology.”

Following the two-day workshop, was a larger Defense Ties Conference where the selected startups  got the chance to pitch their business concepts to U.S. and Indian defense companies. The conference featured executives from Defense Primes such as Raytheon, Adani and Lockheed Martin as well as high level government officials from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. 

The workshop has been covered by more than five leading Indian newspapers including The Hindu and The Times of India.

Read more about the workshop here. https://www.startupnexus.in/defense-startups.html


ACIR contract renewed with the Ministry of Education and Science in Kazakhstan

The Ministry of Education and Science renewed its contract with ACIR to oversee the “Fostering Productive Innovation and Prosperity” program, financed by the World Bank.  The $110 million dollar program promotes and develops commercial innovations in Kazakhstan by providing grants to entrepreneurs and start-ups seeking to improve the quality of people’s lives.

To promote high-quality, nationally relevant research on, and the successful commercialization of, new technologies in Kazakhstan, the Ministry and World Bank have named an International Science and Commercialization Board to oversee the project, including drafting the grants program, selecting the technology proposals and monitoring their results.  During its first two years, president of ACIR Erik Azulay was named Chairman of the Board and led it for 2 terms.  The Ministry has recently renewed its contract with ACIR and Erik will continue to sit on the ISCB and advise the Ministry and World Bank on best practices in technology commercialization, tech transfer policies and government programs to support innovation and entrepreneurship. 


Erik Azulay asked to continue to run Nexus program

ACIR has been awarded a Department of State contract to continue to run the Nexus Startup up hub at the American Center in New Delhi, India.  Erik Azulay, director of ACIR, said that “Since its founding in 2017, I have been privileged to work alongside the American Center staff in bringing the best practices of the United States in incubation and entrepreneurship to startups in India.  ACIR has worked hard to make the Nexus program one of the premier business incubators in India and look forward to having even more of an impact over the next 3 years.”

Partnering with local organizations like the Indian Angel Network and TiE Delhi, ACIR has grown the Nexus program into a major component of India’s startup ecosystem.  In addition to its signature 10 week long pre-incubation program and its monthly masterclasses and workshops, Nexus is now conducting incubator management training classes for both private and public incubators.   Over 120 incubator managers have now completed the Nexus training program with more workshops planned in the summer of 2020.


ACIR invited to speak at Indian 3rd Festival of Innovation

ACIR was invited to participate in the Global Roundtable on Inclusive Innovation at the 3rd Festival of Innovation in New Delhi, hosted by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee.