Times Internet Limited (TIL), BCCL’s internet arm has launched T-Labs, an incubation & development program to mentor and support startups in the field of internet and mobile. It intends to not only help startups in defining and detailing their concept into a business plan, but will also help in implementation of the idea and refining the product by leveraging its own infrastructure, user base and experience. According to the company, it will select ventures which are in synergy with Times Internet’s offerings and they will get access to advise and mentorship from TIL which comes from its experience in the mobile and internet domain, in addition to the ability to test and scale out using Times Internet’s network. Times Internet will not offer marketing support to the venture, under the program.

The investment will be made on cash basis, unlike “private treaties”, which was in lieu of ad-inventory. T-Labs intends to invest in about 20 companies each year, offering each Rs 10 lakh in investment for a 10% stake. It has set aside an amount inline with that, in addition to a 100% contingency fund, for a five year horizon.TIL will have a mutual exit agreement just like any other VC.

Gautam Sinha, Director Technology, TIL, informed MediaNama that the fund is amongst Times Internet’s various investment vehicles and mainly focuses on very early stage startups. ” What we have better than any other company or group is access to audience. The ability to test your concept in that scale within our portals is unique to us. We’ll take a very early stage entrepreneur and help them define a minimum viable product, which they’ll be able to test through our portfolio of products. We dont have too many players in this space and VCs invest in ventures with proven ideas,” he added.

When asked about funding ventures that might have a conflict of interest with Times Internet, Sinha replied that the program will focus more on the technology aspect of the venture, than on business ideas, and the filtering process will take due consideration.