Last week, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, India’s minister of electronics and information technology (MeitY), and Joel Kaplan, Meta’s global policy vice president, led the launch of an accelerator programme for extended-reality (XR) startups in India.
XR refers to technologies that deal with machine-human interaction, including augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). The partnership assumes significance in view of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for making the next decade a “techade” for India.
In Silicon Valley, Kaplan is described as “ Washington dark matter Washington dark matter Wired Facebook Joel Kaplan Read more ”—someone who exerts a powerful but hidden gravitational force. He joined the tech giant in 2011 after serving eight years in the White House under the George W Bush administration, and his tenure coincided with Meta’s (formerly Facebook) rise to global dominance.
The guiding principle for most public-policy teams is to boost companies’ image in the eyes of authorities and form partnerships with the government for projects that benefit them. Once they have their foot in the door, handling things becomes easier.
They can force a rethink of regulations that adversely affect them and the ecosystem at large, says a public-policy professional working with one of the biggest social-media companies in India. He requested anonymity as he is not authorised to speak with the media.
“Earlier, files could only be moved by the people who were in the Delhi corridor, but now, to a large extent, lobbying has changed and most industries are working with the government,” adds the professional quoted above.
On 9 September, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced that it was working with the Telangana government to advance its Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF) to improve the state’s citizen-service delivery. Recently, the gaming platform Mobile Premier League (MPL) also partnered with the Telangana administration to set up a game development centre in the state.
“We signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Telangana government whereby we aim to set up an office in Telangana and expand our services there. The government there is taking proactive steps to bring gaming back,” says Dibyojyoti Mainak, public-policy lead at MPL.
In 2017, the state enacted a blanket ban on all real-money gaming through the Telangana Gaming (Amendment) Act.
Scale, customer loyalty, and proprietary know-how are common topics when one discusses competitive advantage for startups.