Morpheus Gang is now a community of entrepreneurs, not an accelerator


The Morpheus is the oldest accelerator in India and has accelerated 10 batches till now with more than 80 companies in their portfolio. Founded by Sameer Guglani and Nandini Hirianniah, who had earlier co-founded Madhouse Media, that sold to Seventymm, The Morpheus has genuinely helped early stage companies over the years. We've covered numerous startups from The Morpheus and continue to track their progress.In it's old avatar, The Morpheus used to invest INR 5 lakhs in a company and a lot of education and connections in return for 6-9% equity. They've had some success stories with InterviewStreet (now called HackerRank), CommonFloor, Plivo, and a handful of others before deciding to take a step back and rethink their model. We earlier reported this shift in ideology and we now have an update on the model.

I met Sameer, Nandini, Amit and Abhishek who form the core team of the Morpheus Gang at CoVeda, an alternate learning school and what I saw and heard was very pleasing. Morpheus Gang has already added 16 teams to the gang since their decision to restructure and are growing steadily. The biggest shift is that there is no involvement of equity. The Morpheus Gang is now a select set of entrepreneurs who learn and grow together. They all tend to follow an ideology of common growth.

"We realized that there is enough in the ecosystem for early stage entrepreneurs and as a model, we needed to evolve," says Sameer. They felt that the ecosystem had matured to an extent when entrepreneurs didn't need the hand holding that was initially needed. "Earlier, entrepreneurs would come to us for six to seven out of ten problems they faced. In the tenth batch, entrepreneurs would hardly come for two to three. Most of them were on self drive and there wasn't need for us to work as co-founders any longer," says Amit, the operations man at Morpheus Gang.

The Morpheus Gang core team will continue to engage with teams on matters of building a conscious business. Morpheus will not raise any more fund, but continue to help companies if they want to raise money, conduct events for its founders, go on gurukuls (a regular trip the entire gang goes to to unwind) and carry on other activities but there won't be a formal batch any longer. Companies will get added as and when deemed fit. There also isn't a certain time period for which a company will stay engaged.

What shaped this?

While accelerators continue to come forth, why this shift from The Morpheus? There is a deeper reason here (disclaimer: my views henceforth might be influenced due to my involvement with a community in Dharamsala I'm involved with in building). Sameer and Nandini have always been introspective and a few visits to Auroville have helped them put more shape to their ideology.

"The entire system currently revolves around capitalism and processes that were built to suit the industrial revolution. But times are changing now," says Sameer. We're living in a world where there is a growing movement that promotes a more collaborative way of living. Over the few decades, each one of us has been compartmentalised and the race is to increase one's own net worth. This wasn't the case previously, people used to work and share and grow together.

I'd also like to draw a parallel to CoVeda, the alternate learning centre I mentioned earlier. Sameer and Nandini's daughter goes to this learning centre where there are no classes. And it is more of a learning place (school) for parents, than kids. Everyone is on the same platform and decides to learn what they're interested in. The parents are just gardeners and their role is to observe the kids. The children decide for themselves what they want to learn and do in life. The current system is built only on mental excellence while humans have other aspects like physical and emotional. A system would break down in the longer run if it is only built on one of the factors. It is about time this is recognized and paid heed to. If followed, things take care of themselves and flow a natural course.

And this is pretty much where the Morpheus Gang now draws its inspiration from. It is not a revolution or a movement against the system, it is just a path which is more natural. A path where one is not caged or following a set of rigid rules. If everyone starts doing what they're really meant to (like to), shackles will break and there will be much more worth living for in this beautiful world. The MorpheusGang is now a community where startups come in to become a part with an intention of growing together. Everyone feeds off each other and genuinely comes in to contribute whenever help is required.

What do you ink of this? Too romantic? Well, it's workable.


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