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Apoorv Sharma, IAN: "Out of the 15 startup deals taken to investors, only 1 gets funded. But that number can be raised."

Team YS
15th Mar 2011
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IAN

Earlier this month, we at YourStory had featured Bootcamp, a series of multi-city startup events that's being put together by the Indian Angel Network (IAN) and Springboard Ventures (click here to read that story). Apart from attending the Bootcamps, key members from IAN are expected to be involved in the shortlisting of entries and interactions with startups. Today, we bring you an exclusive interaction with Apoorv Sharma, Assistant Vice President, IAN where we speak about IAN's involvement with Bootcamp, their new incubator facility and the sort of investments that they're looking at.Can you take us through IAN's perspective on associating with Bootcamp?

At IAN, we have a clear mandate. Simply put, we would like to fund more startups. And this is not just hype. We have a member base of about 150 angel investors and that fact that they're associating with such an event and spending valuable time shows the seriousness of our intent to get startups investments.

So, how many deals does IAN get every month? How many of them get funded?

We get more than 250 deals every month. About 15 get shown to investors and one of them eventually gets funded. More startups could be considered for investments if some gaps are fixed. That's why we've gotten together with the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India and started IAN Incubator. It's a virtual incubator.

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How is the response to IAN Incubator? What sort of companies and investments are you looking at? It's been three months and we already have 10 startups on board. We had received applications from about 70-80 companies and this was without any formal marketing. We take about 5% equity from them and in return, we assign one angel investor to mentor them. The equity is then shared between the mentor and IAN.

Typically, we're looking at companies that are 6-9 months away from investment. During this period, the various problem areas like revenue model, reach-out strategy, logistics, marketing, connections to potential partners, etc. are dealt with, through a structured mentoring process. It works because after that duration, it is invariably the mentor who leads the investment round.

We have mentors like Raman Roy, Saurabh Srivastava, Pradeep Gupta, etc. Now, these are the sort of people who can help startups tremendously even in a time frame as small as 5 hours per month. Normally, we do investments in the range of Rs. 2 crore to Rs. 5 crore. But recently, IAN invested about $1.25 million in Jigsee, a startup in the mobile video streaming space.

So, is mentoring by investors the best way to make startups more suited for investments? We've gotten the IAN side of the story. Do let us know what you think. You can write to us at feedback@yourstory.in. Also, to know more about Bootcamp, check out http://www.boot-camp.in/.

Sriram Mohan | YourStory | 15th March 2011 | Bangalore

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