Viridian Group, ESpark form JV to support startups in India

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Viridian Group has formed a joint venture with UK-based Entrepreneurial Spark to support startups in India earmarking fund of up to USD 300 million for the purpose. The JV, Viridian-ESpark will offer an 18-month accelerator programme to budding Indian entrepreneurs besides providing funding support.

"The USD 300 million is going to be for building the ecosystem, for investing in the entrepreneurs. It is what you call a mega fund," Viridian Group Global Head (Venture Strategy) Murali Hariharan said.

The selected startups will work with a team of global business enablers, external mentors and experts with enormous experience in their domains - on all aspects of starting and running successful companies, he added.

When asked by when the fund would be invested, he said, "It depends on when they require funding, it is a function of each of the entrepreneurs that come to us. By case that we will look at. This money is the support money."

The joint venture aims to facilitate access to seed capital, subsequent funding rounds and access to markets through various other platforms. Besides, the startups will also have access to high quality infrastructure and office space alongside international exposure, targeted events, networking sessions and pitching sessions with investors.

A Business plan contest run by the Viridian Group at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2015 attracted more than 140 entries from the Indian entrepreneurs, out of which 23 have already been shortlisted for the accelerator programme.

According to PTI, ESpark-Viridian plans to set up acceleration centres in key entrepreneurial hubs such as Delhi-NCR, Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Cochin, Chennai, Chandigarh and Kolkata.

"The first centre will go online on August 18. We will start it in Ahmedabad. We see a tremendous amount of energy in the ecosystem there, lot of entrepreneurs who want to grow from there," Hariharan said. He added, "We will look at another two centres in the first year, which will probably be Delhi and Noida. That should happen by October-November. In the next two years we will go from 3 to 10, that is the plan".

Entrepreneurial Spark is one of the world's largest business accelerators for early stage and growing ventures - supported by top philanthropists and the Royal Bank of Scotland in the United Kingdom.

Image Credit : Shutterstock

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