India's private sector RBL Bank has joined hands with government’s Startup India initiative and Invest India to launch InFinIT20, a three-month intensive programme where RBL Bank will provide funding support and mentorship to 20 promising startups.
RBL Bank highlighted that as per recent statistics, 55 percent of failed startups last year had received funding. This indicates that investment is not the primary factor contributing to a successful business – mentorship and good strategy play a critical role as well. Experienced mentors can help the founding startup team address the unique challenges of each stage of growth.
The initiative hopes to go a long way not only in empowering and educating companies, but also in driving sustainable economic growth and generating large-scale employment opportunities across diverse sectors including insurance tech, wealth management, agri-finance, financial inclusion, digital payments, digital contracts, digital lending, artificial intelligence, blockchain among others.
Anil Agrawal, Joint Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, highlights that the goal of the initiative is to help the startups create meaningful strategies and successful businesses. He said,
Corporates are one of the most important stakeholders in the startup ecosystem, and have the potential to create the most impact. This programme will assist startups in receiving full-fledged guidance from experienced professionals in the fintech space.
Over the last few years, RBL Bank has been closely working with the startup ecosystem. It was one of the first banks to launch a dedicated branch in Bengaluru that facilitates opportunities for startups to field-test their services and get recognised for their strengths. The bank has also recently invested in Omnivore Fund, an impact venture fund that invests in Indian startups developing breakthrough technologies for food, agriculture, and the rural economy. Executive Director of RBL Bank, Rajeev Ahuja, added,
We are a young bank and a lot of our own growth and scaling up has been because of our startup mentality. We have partnered with almost 1,000 plus startups across the spectrum providing them with variety of services. With InFinIT20, RBL Bank will provide its domain expertise through seven years of engagement with startups and help them in achieving their goals by employing the best financial tools, resources, and technology.
Under its ‘India Startup Club’, RBL Bank also organises incubation and funding contests like ‘The Big Pitch’ and ‘Hackathon’ to provide dynamic exposure to young companies.
Launched in 2016, Startup India is a flagship initiative of the Government of India, aimed at building a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation and startups in the country that will drive sustainable economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities. Under this initiative, recognised startups under DIPP are offered several benefits, which includes fast tracking patent applications, rebates on patent applications, self-certification on nine environment and labour laws, certain tax exemptions, financial assistance through fund of funds under SIDB, among others.