Kishore Natarajan turned down an offer from a reputed multinational company during placements at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras. The graduate of the 2014 batch had co-founded a company with friends from the campus when he was in his final year, and he preferred to pursue just that.  The venture, HyperVerge, has built solutions based on computer vision technology. It has big clients, and it has raised substantial funds from renowned Silicon Valley-based venture capital funds. "We are now looking to hire aggressively. And our first choice to hire from will be the IITs," says Natarajan. The entrepreneur will likely find that easy. The relationship between entrepreneurship and IITs has never been this strong.

Aditya Narayan Mishra, president at staffing firm Randstad India, says that for most startups, technical skills and culture-fit triumph over all other aspects when it comes to hiring, and this takes them to the IITs. "Having IITians on board can also help attract quality investment," he says.