According to a 2017 Nasscom-Zinnov study, by 2020, the total number of startups in India is expected to reach 11,000. In this crowd, what does it take for a young and innovative startup to be noticed and get the best platform to scale and grow?
Here is where JioGenNext, the flagship startup programme of Reliance Industries Limited, can make a difference. It is a programme that mentors exceptional founders in building products and services for the Jio ecosystem.
Next stop, exponential growth
Speaking about the programme, Amey Mashelkar, Head – JioGenNext, says, “This is an opportunity for founders to build a startup for our 150 million plus Jio customers and 30 million plus retail customers.” He further adds that the accelerator offers startups an opportunity to partner with an organisation that believes in exponential thinking and growth.
The six weeks full-time programme over 12 weeks helps disruptive early-stage startups build their business from the ground up through a four-stage approach, which involves intensive mentoring, followed by a successful proof of concept with RIL / Jio, securing strategic partnership or investment and finally the commercial launch within the Jio ecosystem. Key modules of the programme include: exhaustive one-on-one mentoring with subject matter experts, developing a business model canvas and operational plan, evaluating product market fit and corresponding product roadmap, growth hacking strategies, digital marketing and PR strategies, amongst others.
Who can apply?
If you are a pre-seed or venture-stage technology startup with product(s) in place, and an initial customer / user base, then JioGenNext is the right platform for you.
Why you should apply?
Access to mentors and experts: Apart from hands-on mentoring from the external ecosystem, experts from RIL will spend a significant amount of time helping the entrepreneurs sharpen their focus and develop and deploy their solutions / products in a scalable way. From an external ecosystem perspective, the programme has successful founders taking classes and one-one sessions with the startups.
An opportunity to test and validate their product: Following a successful Proof-of-Concept within the RIL / Jio ecosystem, the startups have the opportunity to pitch for a larger project, and get a strategic investment and/or a commercial partnership thereon.
The RIL connection: The programme provides an effective bridge for startups to connect and collaborate with the larger RIL / Jio ecosystem and help startups gain faster traction. With RIL as a large customer / partner, startups also get better credibility and visibility in the marketplace.
Global connects: With a number of prominent global partners, the programme also provides startups a chance to connect with accelerators and entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley to explore appropriate global go-to-market opportunities.
Other resources needed to scale up: In addition to the above benefits, JioGenNext also provides startups with all the tools and technology components they need to scale up. They also get dedicated office space for the duration of the programme, followed by access for a plug-and-play office space for important meetings in Mumbai.
Ancillary support needed to start up: This includes advice and help with matters related to taxation, legal, term sheets, shareholder agreements, professionally shot marketing videos, and pitch preparation. The startups also get help with public and media relations.
Demo Day: The programme culminates into a Demo Day which is attended by top executives and investors from the ecosystem and RIL / Jio to celebrate the launch of your startup
The selection process, which kicks off in June will see the top 30 shortlisted applicants pitching to a distinguished jury comprising Dr. R.A. Mashelkar (Board Member – RIL), Ravi Gururaj (Founder – QikPod), Naveen Asrani (Microsoft), Pranav Pai (3one4 Capital), Sanjay Mashruwala (Jio), Kiran Thomas (Jio), Anish Shah (Jio), Anshuman Thakur (Jio), Ashwin Khasgiwala (Reliance Retail), Sushil Borde (Reliance Innovation Leadership Centre) among others.
Of these 30 startups, 15 to 20 startups will be invited to participate in the programme. The founders of these startups will go through a total of 12 weeks programme to discover/ validate market needs and launch their startup in the Jio ecosystem.
Key Ecosystem Partnerships
Since product-market fit is a continuing journey, partnerships are a way to plug the startups into the larger ecosystem for further assistance. Startups going through JioGenNext can be recommended for further product and growth mentorship from Microsoft Accelerator (Enterprise), Upekkha Accelerator (SaaS) in Bangalore and Alchemist Accelerator (Enterprise), FalconX and Spinta Accelerator in Silicon Valley.
JioGenNext also works regularly with several other prominent seed investors in the ecosystem such as 3one4 Capital (Pranav Pai), Blume Ventures (Radhesh Kanumury), K-Start (Revant Bhate), Venture Catalysts (Dr. Apoorv Ranjan Sharma), CIO Angel Network (Sanjay Mehta and Anoop Mathur) to name a few.
Since its inception in 2014, 80 startups across seven cohorts have been a part of the programme. The success stories from previous batches include IntelloLabs, enguru, HeadSpin, DATTUS, DSYH, Interview Mocha, LegalDesk, LogiNext and RecipeBook.
Also know more about the JioGenNext advantage in these videos:
JioGenNext Summer 2018 Applications are no longer open.