This article is part of the series called Startup Hatch, about incubators and accelerators in the startup ecosystem.Veteran entrepreneurs - Bala Parthasarthy, Sanjay Swamy and Shripati Acharya - today launched AngelPrime, a unique “incubator” that plans to launch multiple startup companies focused in three areas: Electronic Payments, eCommerce, Smartphones & Tablet-based applications. AngelPrime brings ideas and entrepreneurs together, fueling this with much-needed mentorship and seed-capital to rapidly create successful startups.
India is at the threshold of widespread adoption of Internet and e-commerce among consumers and in small and medium enterprises. Together with the explosion of mobile data traffic, affordable Smartphones & Tablets and new digitally verifiable identities like UID, there is a unique opportunity for next generation of entrepreneurs to start with a clean slate and build applications and products that can leapfrog existing technologies. While numerous funds pour capital into later stage companies, the very early stage start-ups or entrepreneurs with ideas are highly starved of investment and critical mentorship.
AngelPrime is the brainchild of serial entrepreneurs - Bala Parthasarthy, Shripati Acharya, Sanjay Swamy – who have a proven track record of launching and scaling very successful companies in India and the USA from scratch. Most recently, all of them served as volunteers for the UIDAI, working directly with its Chairman and Infosys co-founder, Mr. Nandan Nilekani in defining the blueprint for the architecture and use of Aadhaar (UID) across multiple industry and government segments.
The entrepreneurial journey for Shripati and Bala began with the launch of photo sharing site Snapfish. They built the site to be the largest online photo site in the world today with over $600M in gross revenue and over 100 Million users. Snapfish was sold to Hewlett Packard (HP) in 2005 for over $300M, where Bala stayed on as the MD and launched the business in over 20 countries, today accounting for $100M in revenues.
“AngelPrime’s approach is to use the “lean startup” model in bringing together highly talented entrepreneurs, mentor them through the process of taking an idea, prototyping it, validating the market, building a customer base and in 9-12 months raising institutional investment for the business”, said Bala Parthasarthy, co-founder of AngelPrime.
After leaving Snapfish, Shripati Acharya worked at Cisco Systems where he was Managing Director of Cisco’s Education initiave in India and emerging markets. Commenting on the introduction of AngelPrime, Shripati said, “We are passionate about working with entrepreneurs to develop ideas that challenge the status quo. In this ambitious journey, we provide hands-on help in technology, marketing, sales and business development, in essence get our hands dirty and work on a full-time basis with the entrepreneurs, until the companies are self-sufficient”.
Sanjay Swamy is one of India’s leading expert in Electronic Payments. He was the CEO of mChek, a key member in the authentication and payments group at the UIDAI, and the Mobile Payments Forum of India. Sanjay is also the Chairman and founder of ZipDial - one of the most promising startups in the mobile marketing space. Sanjay has also worked in Silicon Valley and, along with Shripati, was an angel investor in Picsquare, a company acquired by Infibeam.
“We are excited both by the caliber of investors and the early entrepreneurs we have been able to attract”, said Sanjay Swamy, Co-Founder, AngelPrime. “Our first companies will be coming to market soon. Within the next 30 days we will be launching a Mobile-based Payments company and within 90 days, a Smartphone/Tablet based eCommerce company”.
Raj Mashruwala joins AngelPrime as its lead investor and will be on the board of directors of all AngelPrime companies. Raj is a veteran of Silicon Valley – while he is best known for his founding role at Tibco & Consilium, he is widely respected for his contributions to the industry as an entrepreneur, investor and board member of several startup companies. He was also one of the founding members of TiE.
Raj commented, “AngelPrime is filling a key gap in the Indian startup eco-system – enabling entrepreneurs to focus on building great companies while relying on an entrepreneur-friendly, been-there, done-that set of committed co-founders, advisors and mentors whose incentives are squarely aligned with company success”.
AngelPrime is an “incubator” that plans to launch multiple startup companies focused in three areas – Electronic Payments, Ecommerce, Smartphone & Tablet based apps for the Indian market. AngelPrime is started by three veteran serial entrepreneurs with a proven track record of launching and scaling very successful companies in India and abroad. They have quickly raised the first round of capital to invest in their companies from a set of marquee investors. Their objective is to cultivate successful startups by bringing together highly talented entrepreneurs, mentoring them through ideation, prototyping, market validation, building a customer base and subsequently raising institutional investment for further scaling.