The Telangana government on Friday appointed RedBus co-founder Phanindra Sama as the state's Chief Innovation Officer.

He will head the Telangana State Innovation Cell, which has been set up to promote innovation at the grassroot level. Sama is currently serving as a Patron in Kakatiya SandBox - an experimentation lab for people to work on solutions to local problems.

Information Technology Minister K.T. Rama Rao handed over the appointment letter to Sama on Friday. The Innovation Cell will promote innovation in schools and other education institutions, in rural areas, and in the government. It will also focus on bringing the startup ecosystem closer by promoting a "State as a whole approach" as opposed to concentrating startup activity in one location by enabling co-working spaces and incubators across the state to upgrade themselves, said an official statement.

Hailing from Nizamabad district of Telangana, Sama did electrical engineering from BITS Pilani and post-graduation from Indian Institute of Science. He Co-founded RedBus, India's first online bus ticket booking service in 2006. He received "India's best internet startup", 2010 by IMAI and "Entrepreneur of the Year" award under IT by ET NOW, in 2013.