Launched in May this year, PVC Accelerators has announced its first batch of startups. Madpiggy, SenseGiz, Transtutors and RocketFood are the four startups chosen for the accelerator program. Each company selected for a six-month mentorship will receive up to Rs 30 lakh in funding without having to give up equity. This first batch of four dynamic startups was selected from a pool of 500 applications from across cities in India.
The PVC Accelerators program --- designed to assist entrepreneurs in securing additional funding by building real businesses with healthy gross margins --- focuses on ad tech, e-commerce, gaming, mobile apps, education, enterprise software, and other segments.
“PVC Accelerators has been designed to create the next wave of product-oriented technology startups across mobile, enterprise, IoT, cloud and wearable sectors. We also focus on inclination towards building ventures of global relevance when selecting startups,” says Peesh Chopra, Managing Director, Peesh Venture Capital (PVC).
In March this year, Peesh realized the need for an accelerator in India --- poised to become the second largest startup ecosystem in the world, according to Nasscom --- that can support an entrepreneur’s vision by not only providing seed capital but also by aiding them with strong infrastructure that can help them scale-up quickly and acquire global customers.
However, the market is already crowded and boasts of about 50 accelerators. In such a scenario, what differentiates the PVC Accelerators program from the others is the ‘no equity model’ which, says Peesh, “is a reflection of our focus on investing in disruptive technologies without taking any advantage of them.”
“Also, our state-of-the-art facilities are a first-of-its kind, and provide robust technical support in the form of physical and virtual co-working space for our portfolio companies,” he explains.
Mentoring the first batch will be a challenging job, as much as it will be spotting the next game changers on the horizon. The program, the Ocean Accelerator Curriculum, will include classes, workshops, speakers and partners in a business boot-camp, which aims to translate vision into an executable strategy. For early startups, this could be a product prototype that can be tested with early customers. For existing businesses, this may tantamount to developing a deeper component of product experience.
“Regular ‘pitch’ practice will allow you to perfect your pitch to investors. Workshops will provide a step-by-step path to learn from experienced entrepreneurs, while expert mentors will help guide decision-making, business strategy and customer connections. This will culminate on stage during Demo Day, where you will present your product and the vision for your startup,” says Peesh.
The Tests, Trials, and Timing stage focuses on further defining strategy, elevating value proposition and testing market readiness. Is the audience ready for you? Have you created a culture others want to join? Workshops are geared to dig in and build deeper foundations.
Efforts in the last part of the program are focused on funding, customer acquisition and tools to help manage the company. Partners and mentors will help make key business connections, as well as assure that the brand, business model and funding strategy is ready for the market.
Peesh himself is the chief mentor for the startups, while there is an impressive list of executives from successful Indian ventures and major VCs such as Flipkart, Ola Cabs, InMobi, Zomato, Sequoia and Accel Partners.
PVC Accelerators’ ‘no-equity model’ underlines its commitment towards encouraging innovation. The team plans to select the next 20 startups under this model. Peesh, when asked why he decided to give up on equity, says: “I believe that an accelerator’s role is to empower entrepreneurs by helping them scale-up and become growth-stage startups. PVC will only take an equity stake if we invest in the accelerated companies’ Series A round.”
Accelerators do not usually have the required follow-on capital to ensure the success of a portfolio company, says Peesh. PVC, as both an accelerator and a venture fund, is able to provide follow-on capital in the form of Series A, if required. On the future strategy, he reveals that PVC is planning to expand Startup Saturday from Gurgaon to Bangalore, and continue to select companies from Startup Saturday for future accelerator batches.