India has seen a diverse set of startups growing in the last decade. Today, entrepreneurs have set their focus on innovating in areas of healthcare, digital payments, education, and others. And while setting their startups to scale, entrepreneurs also go through their share of difficulties in the initial stages.
It is here that accelerator programmes come into the picture. Moulding startups in its infancy stage, they serve as the bridge between startups and the corporate firms. Accelerators also guide them with practical business applications in the industry, and connect with experts and investors in their respective domain.
Most corporates today are usually keen on a startup’s potential to address the pain points they and their clients face every day. And it is here that companies like Microsoft, Google and Cisco have been incubating the entrepreneurial spirits for years.
YourStory lists five lesser-known accelerator programmes that budding startups in India can participate in.
Backed by Indian multinational company Reliance Industries (RIL), the JioGenNext accelerator programme, initiated in 2013, focuses on entrepreneurs who are innovating for social good. The four-week-long programme helps seed-stage startups receive mentorship opportunities from industry experts, thought leaders, and the leadership team from Reliance as well.
Some of the startups that have emerged from the programme include LegalDesk, Bodhi Health Education, and Call Ambulance, among others. This year, the programme is hosting a cohort of eight startups in the financial technology sector, marking its 11th batch.
The accelerator programme is carried out in partnership with corporates including IBM, Google Cloud, Accenture, and Amazon Web Services.
California-based IT technology company Oracle launched Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator in 2017. Hosting two cohorts per year, the six-month-long residential programme selects five to six startups, innovating in areas of technology.
The selected startups will get mentorship from technical and business experts, access to technology, and a host of other things including Oracle customers, partners and investors, and free Oracle Cloud credits.
Some of the alumni startups that are currently leveraging technologies like Machine Learning (ML), Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are marketing platform HeyMojo and big data analytics company SustLabs.
The firm has also initiated Oracle Scale-up Ecosystem, a non-residential global programme.
Software company Hewlett-Packard launched HP Haven Startup Accelerator programme in 2015. It is a one-year-long programme for early-stage startups, focussed on big data solutions.
It is aimed at shaping them into data-driven organisations, leveraging open-source platforms, equipping developers and the startups with necessary tools.
To be eligible, startups should have less than 50 employees and should not have received more than $10 million in funding.
Amazon Launchpad was introduced in India in December 2016, a year and a half after its launch in the US. The programme provides a platform for startups to effectively launch, market, and distribute their products to Amazon customers across India and around the world.
For this, the ecommerce major has tied up with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) for the Startup India initiative. This provides companies to access Startup India’s self-service HR, legal templates, and other resources to build their business.
In the first year since its launch in India, there have been 200 applications per month. Some of the best-selling brands on this platform are health food company Alpino Foods, men’s grooming product company Ustraa, and Beardo, among others.
Mobility and Automobile Innovation Lab (MAIL) is a programme initiated by automobiles major Maruti Suzuki, in partnership with Indo-Japanese seed fund and co-creation centre GHV Accelerator.
A four-month-long programme, it was launched in January 2019 to guide early-stage startups that are bringing innovation in the automobiles sector. The programme will monitor the proof of concept, optimise business models, and evaluate other key areas.
It includes 'need gap' mapping, mentoring sessions, industry testing and feedback, and interaction with domain experts, among others. The startups must be registered under Indian jurisdiction, and applicants should have business plans as well as an adequate understanding of the market needs and potential.
(Edited by Megha Reddy)