Alas you've hit the Golden Rule - he who has the gold makes the rules.
Firstly, depending on jurisdiction, getting a govt grant may be really really difficult as in places such as China (not so sure about India) access to capital is based on connections. So if this is the case, what is being monetarised is their contacts not your time. If this is not the case ignore.
Secondly academics actually make bad business managers. Either they are too used to tenure system that promotes security over aggression or else they have no concept of the time value of money. I recall one case where an academic headed a consortium but still had option of returning to lecturing. With this security blanket in place, the attention was on getting the next grant not the next customer. Because govt organisations are used to fixed budgets, civil servants in general cannot understand that when you are paying for everything on a credit card with 50% interest, you don't sit on your butt taking 1 hr tea breaks. I recall one mate telling me (at height of Asian crisis) you do not understand stress until you have a 1 TRILLION dollar (paper) deficit in your hedge fund and presidents screaming in your ear.
we started doing a completely new product indeed
and here we come to the major reason why academics should not HEAD startups (advisors yes, founders not unless they have a clue) as they want to do pet projects rather than what the actual paying customer wants. I can bore you with citations of papers documenting this but it's like pounding head against sand ... makes satisfying noise but doesn't shift the sand.
So my personal advice, take their pay, learn their contacts, and do the opposite of what they are doing in your own startup because if it is your own skin in the game (savings) you pay a lot more attention to making sure you don't lose it.