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CoWrks launches Foundry to connect startups to corporates, mentors, and investors

Vishal Krishna
1st Mar 2018
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The 24-week CoWrks Foundry programme aims to help startups grow into resilient businesses by providing interdisciplinary curriculum, world-class mentorship, and seed funding.

CoWrks, one of India’s largest co-working space providers, has announced the launch of The CoWrks Foundry, a platform that offers home-grown businesses a solid foundation and gives them a competitive edge. Its vision is to forge resilient and unsinkable businesses by connecting startups to global mentors and corporate programmes.

The foundry will nurture early stage startups over a 24-week period in the areas of urban tech, enterprise tech, and social enterprise. This move comes with the need to protect ideas that don’t necessarily get funded. It is commonly believed that often startups close down because of lack of funding. But, that’s not necessarily true because a good solution requires exposure and needs to be used by clients. Most startups in the B2B space close down because they cannot access the corporate ecosystem.

CoWrks founder Sidharth Menda along with Managing Partner of the CoWrks “Foundry” Nruthya Madappa agree that many entrepreneurs often shut down good ideas because of their inability to connect to the right ecosystem.

Nruthya Madappa, partner at CoWrks Foundry

Clearing the bottlenecks

“Housing hundreds of startups, entrepreneurs and large corporates in our co-working space, we understand that Indian entrepreneurs are battling a challenge. With an awareness of the gaps in the current ecosystem, we decided to create a well-architected framework to address these bottlenecks by providing mentorship and support to early-stage startups,” says Sidharth Menda.

He added that they aspire to nurture scalable businesses by investing in the ideas and the minds behind them.

Eight startups from the fields of urban tech, enterprise tech and social enterprise will be chosen per cohort to undergo a rigorous 24-week programme during which they will build their company and learn about frameworks to accelerate and manage growth.

The CoWrks Foundry programme is built to refine the founding team’s industry, product and company building knowledge through a world-class curriculum designed in partnership with top global educational institutions.

The programme places emphasis on tailored, high-quality mentoring, global exposure, and access to a diverse network. Startups will be equipped to turn their innovative products into resilient companies at the end of the programme. On Demo Day, entrepreneurs will also have the opportunity to pitch their product to select strategic investors, clients, and partners.

Support for startups

Nruthya, who has worked extensively with startup communities in the US and India, says CoWrks Foundry is a rigorous, real-world programme for high-potential entrepreneurs who are talented, motivated, open to critical feedback, and ready to perform the hard work needed to build a resilient, enduring company.

“We’ve intentionally selected these three major sectors as they face industry-specific issues that are not addressed by existing mentorship and accelerator programmes in the country. At the CoWrks Foundry, startups will find absolute support in their pursuit to build scalable and sustainable businesses,” she says.

The CoWrks Foundry will operate out of CoWrks, situated at RMZ Ecoworld, Bengaluru, which offers reach to a carefully curated community of investors, startups, and enterprises, as well as external networks, including the government.

 Every co-working space looks more at per-seat rentals than making their business a bridge to corporate innovation or finding mentors. Most co-work spaces follow a hands-off model, and do not get involved in the life of the startup. But CoWrks aims to take a minute stake in each of these companies and stay on till they go towards Series B. This makes their business even more accountable because they are tied to the success of a startup. This business model is an addition to their co-work business, and will create an additional revenue stream for the company.

Currently, there are more than 160 players in the co-working space who run more than 350 operational centres across Tier I and II cities in the country, according to a report by Colliers International. The better-known names are InstaOffice, Awfis, BHive, Regus, Spaces, 91springboard, and Investopad. Global Unicorn WeWork is the closest competition to CoWrks in India.

With CoWrks launching the “Foundry”, the industry can expect similar announcements and partnerships. But, that’s a good thing because the more benefits for startups to find right partners, the better it will be for India to foster future businesses.

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