India accelerator takes start-ups on a journey from sustanibilty to scalability Founders tell ObserveNow

India Accelerator (IA) is a seed-stage accelerator program that offers four months of rigorous guidance, funding, mentoring, business and technology services support and sources from mentors, partners, and investors. IA takes early-stage technology-based start-ups and helps them rapidly build a sustainable business. 

 

ObserveNow recently caught up with the founders Ashish Bhatia (Founder & MD) and Mona Singh (Co-Founder) to understand India Accelerator’s philosophy, working model and what differentiates it from other seed-stage accelerator programs in India. In a conversation with us, Ashish and Mona take us through IA’s journey, their thoughts on Indian start-ups and tips to budding entrepreneurs. 

 

Edited Excerpts from their interview. 

 

 

Q-Tell us how India Accelerate is different from another accelerator program in the country? 

 A-India Accelerate only takes in, companies that have proof of revenue. 

 which are out there in the market, where there is some revenue. There has to be some download, some transactions just to prove that there is a market out there. There is a customer segment out there that needs that solution. 

 

What we do in this space is that we put together start-ups as institutes, we put an entire ecosystem together. We provide hands-on double-track mentorship (generic, domain-specific). We help start-ups in the 3 C’s of their programs- Cash, competency and connects. 

 

 Q-Once the start-up is selected for your program. What kind of intensive training, mentorship, and seed do you provide?

 

A-The overall package including the mentorship we provided is 15-20 lakh so that the combination of cash investment, perks. We also provide workspaces to the start-ups. The space is valid for the 6-month post which we attach commercials on a nominal basis. 

 

There is a format for how we run the program. First is the design phase then the execution phase and there is a pitch. The design phase takes care of the basic needs of the start-ups. And after that, we call the mentors for them for understanding each of those functional areas. So, connecting start-ups to the right mentors and the right investors is the key here. 

 

 Q-Is it like college training?

A-No, there is no classroom training, what we do there is a schedule to it. 

 Every week we do a mentor day, we invite corporate mentor or celebrity founder who has been through a journey, they talk about the journey, the insights they have, they open up new horizons for the start-ups. We do a founder's lunch; the idea is to create a community of young start-up founders who get a chance to interact with each other and build synergies to work together.

 

Q-What kind of change do you see in the first and last day when they graduate?

 A-When the start-ups enter the program, they are looking at sustainability and by the time they graduate they are looking for scalability.

 

Q-2 most common mistakes made by start-ups in investor pitch?

A-Start-ups are stuck up on valuation and equity dilution, whereas they need to think bigger and think long term.

 

Q-In which sector start-ups utilize their time and energy in 2020?

A-Healthcare is going to be a boom to 2020. There is a lot to do in healthcare in 2020. The other domain is cybersecurity that will attract big investors.

 

Q-Is there any right time for start-ups to raise money? 

 

A-It is different for each company. It depends on what kind of product the start-ups come up with, what kind of vision they have, it completely depends on the concept. 

 

Once a start-up has figured out that there is a product-market fit, yes their solution is beneficial, then they need to look out for investors to give sustainability to their business. 

 

 Q-How many women founders are in your winter batch start-ups? As a woman, what you think about women empowerment in this sector?

 A-We hardly have seen any women founders in our starting batches. In our third batch, we saw some women representatives. In our current batch, there are three women founders. So slowly and steadily the women's participation in start-ups is also increasing. We are thinking about launching an entire women-centric cohort. 

 

Q-Can you give one message to young start-up founders?

A-Execution is the biggest thing. Whether it is early-stage, mid-stage, late-stage if the execution is not done properly it will not go anywhere.

 

Q-What is the one biggest no for you to start-ups for investment?

A-We don't invest in part-time start-ups unless there is a valid reason

 

Q-Is IIT the key for Indians to enter into the start-up industry? 

A- Indians will give lots of credibility to the brand. IIT & IIMs have recognition and value. They are the institutions that produce the best quality students in the country. But once you out of your institute, your credibility depends on you. IIT could get you some mileage beyond that individual is more important.

 

 

 

 

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Taniya Tikoo

Editor-in-Chief & Co-Founder at ObserveNow. A Mountain girl using the power of words to change the world.

I dream to wake up to a world where I see a thriving Kashmir, a free Palestine and a Free Tibet 

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