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Interview

More News from the GSF Accelerator; In Conversation with EiRs Brij Bhasin and Esha Tiwary

Jubin Mehta
5th Oct 2012
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GSF Accelerator, India’s first multi-city programme which was announced recently, has created a lot of buzz in the startup ecosystem in India; especially with names like Dave Mcclure of 500 startups being associated with the accelerator.

In a recent disclosure, GSF inducted twelve EiRs: Entrepreneurs-in-Residence.

Now what exactly are EiRs?

As GSF puts it, EiRs are serial entrepreneurs and executives with deep domain expertise in technology, product management and start-ups.

In a recent article, BI put it very succinctly, saying, It's an informal and usually temporary position at a VC firm. EIRs are not full partners and they aren't usually looking for investments for the firm to make. In a sense, it's a sabbatical that serial entrepreneurs take while they figure out their next thing, instead of traveling the world.”

At GSF, the EIRs will manage different aspects of the accelerator and will be responsible for the following functions in particular:

  • They will assist in the evaluation, selection and induction of startups for each city.
  • They will provide functional expertise and assist the startups as buddy mentors.
  • They will manage the 25 workshops during the 7 weeks and coordinate with 250 mentors in GSF network.

Where are these 12 EiRs? 6 in Delhi, 4 in Bangalore and 2 in mumbai

How many startups will be taken in? 3 to 5 in each city

How will the startups work? Co-working; there will be a dedicated space out of which the startups will be encouraged to work.

We at Yourstory had the pleasure to have two of the EiRs; Brij Bhasin and Esha Tiwari (profiles to follow) our office to know more about the plans and their experience till now.

YS: There are many accelerators and incubators coming up in India now; how do you put GSF? What does it stand for?

Brij: Yes, it’s great to see the ecosystem growing and many such efforts being made but we want to provide value in a very meaningful way. We don’t think that every company that comes to us should get funded; our main motive is to add value to the business of the entrepreneur. He should go back feeling that his time wasn’t wasted.

Esha: And it is also structured in a way that this happens quickly. Many have said that 7 week is not enough but we want to keep it very hands on- almost like a 7 week hackathon.  

YS: Having high profile names on board, the response from the startups must have been overwhelming?

Brij: Yes, absolutely, each of us have seen more than 70 companies and the quality has been phenomenal!

YS: Any trend that you’ve noticed?

Esha: The kind of startups that have been applying have been of a significantly superior quality to the kind we had even two years ago. They’re all coming with iterated products which is a great thing! And talking about challenges, customer acquisition still remains to be the biggest one.

Brij:Adding to challenges, I believe the product vision is where many need help. This is where we think we would add value.

YS: So, when is the program starting and when can we expect the selected companies to be announced?

Brij: You can expect the list of companies coming out very soon as the programme is slated to start off on October 15th. We’re in exciting times and really looking forward to this batch.

(The Demo Day is scheduled for November 26-27)

Profiles:

Brij Bhasin: Brij Bhasin has experience in creation of Technology products. He founded Boost Tech, a startup focused on Tablet and Cloud based CRM applications for the Retail Industry. Previously, as a Product Manager at Pramata Corp and its 2nd employee he was an integral part of conceptualizing and executing an Enterprise SaaS product that helps Global 2000 companies run Business Analytics. Brij has a BS in Computer Science from University of Minnesota, Minneapolis with a minor in Business Administration.

Esha Tiwary: Esha Tiwari's strength is in building new businesses. Having done this twice, in different industries, she has good insight about what it takes for new businesses to scale. Most recently, Esha was Vice President-Marketing and Business Development at Embrace, a start-up developing affordable healthcare technologies. Before Embrace, Esha was part of a small new business development team that launched the personal care product business for ITC in India, where she headed three product lines (Fiama di Wills brand). Esha has an MBA from Harvard Business School and B.Tech. in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Kanpur.

Know more about the EiRs here. GSF is one more addition to the bunch of enablers and we're nearing the tipping point where the ecosystem will just shoot up; all we need are a few more big exits.

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