The Economic Times yesterday reported that The Morpheus is shutting down operations. The news was a hyperbole for a shift in operational model for India’s oldest accelerator. Co-founder Sameer Guglani told YourStory that The Morpheus was not shutting down but will undergo a radical shift in its model.
Founded by Sameer Guglani and Nandini Hirianniah, the accelerator had come into existence more by chance after the duo had sold their company MadHouse to Seventymm. Initiated in 2007, The Morpheus has accelerated 82 companies and formed a strong network of more than 160 founders. Having been in the space for more than six years, the duo has realized the need to pivot the venture. The Morpheus also stopped Demo Days (a typical feature of accelerators across the country) about a year ago.
We got in touch with Sameer for a conversation on the developments:
YourStory: Being the first accelerator in the country, this move is surprising. What changed?
Sameer Guglani: This was more of a natural progression for us. We’ve worked with a lot of companies and formed a very tight network of entrepreneurs. The startup space also has matured to an extent and there are enough resources available for the early stage entrepreneur. We feel there is a more challenging space where entrepreneurs need support and we’re moving in that direction.
YS: What happens till then?
SG: We’ll be working with all our portfolio companies and help them consolidate. Our last batch ends in March after which we’ll break for a few months. We’ll be talking to startups and are always available for a chat but there will be no formal engagements.
YS: How do you think the model will shift?
SG: As I said, we feel that there is enough support for early stage entrepreneurs in India now. As the companies mature, the set of challenges also change. Hiring issues become pressing, how to position yourself to attract a strong second line of management and such. Then the founders themselves face a whole new set of challenges, they’ve taken funding and there is pressure to show the numbers, coping with that is difficult. We’ll be working more with companies in this space and help them sail to the next level.
YS: Will you still be funding companies?
SG: Yes, that component will remain but our current investment of INR 5 lakhs wouldn’t be of much value for a company which has survived for a few years. We’re yet to decide on the mode of engagement.
YS: The Morpheus Gang keeps growing, any exciting developments on the network front?
SG: Yes, we have 160 founders on our internal software right now for networking.This group is evergrowing and we intend to rely more on this to build a strong support system for the entrepreneurs we’re associated with. Taking an overall view, we’re undergoing a lot of restructuring and we’ll have a better idea on the road ahead in a few months.