Early stage startups require all the help they can get to move to the next orbit of growth – whether it is through guidance on the business model, sales process, hiring or through introductions to prospective customers, partners and investors.
If you are an early stage startup looking for avenues to receive feedback and insights on your product from prospective customers and domain experts, FLAME University’s equity-free accelerator program could be just what you need. Registrations for the FLAME Origins Program are underway.
Early stage startups across industries which have a commercially pilot tested product in place and are revenue positive are eligible to apply for the program. The last date for application is September 15, 2018. Shortlisted startups will go through two rounds of selection and about 15 startups will be chosen as part of the first cohort of the FLAME Origins Program.
The FLAME Origins Program has been carefully designed to meet the growing needs of India’s startup ecosystem and has marquee offerings to bring distinctive advantages to young startups.
Here are four reasons why this equity-free accelerator program could benefit a young startup like yours.
1. Personalised coaching
A lot of the accelerator programs across India focus on sharing of knowledge and experience by successful entrepreneurs. In most cases, these generalised sessions don’t add significant value to the startups. What’s distinctive about the FLAME Origins Program is that it is structured and personalised for each selected startup. A major part of the program is the one on one advisor/mentor sessions, done either through in-person meetings or via video-conferencing. These sessions are dependent on the specific need of the startup and can cover various aspects of business – ranging from the business model, go-to-market strategy, customer acquisition, product development, product roadmap, sales process, marketing plan, cash flow management, long-term financial projections, hiring, fundraising etc. Initially, while some of the topics will be covered through workshops, these will be followed up with the one on one advisor/mentor sessions. The personalised coaching will help startups identify the most critical aspects of their business that need attention and address them through facilitated introductions to relevant experts, investors, partners or customers.
2. Access to talent and co-working space
FLAME Origins Program is essentially a 20-week blended program, which gives founders the flexibility to attend the program without having to relocate. However, startups also have the option of working out of the co-working space on the FLAME University campus and use the facilities as they look to scale up.
The selected startups also have the option to hire student interns and have access to undergraduate and postgraduate students specialising in finance, marketing, human resources management, entrepreneurship, operations, digital marketing, economics, applied mathematics and psychology, among others. FLAME University provides an interdisciplinary platform of education that propagates different models and paradigms from various learning disciplines that develop students holistically enabling them to contribute significantly to startups.
3. Going beyond introductions and making real connections happen
Every startup will be assigned an advisor who will connect once every fortnight, in-person or online, and closely help the startup founders enhance their understanding of the business and the market.
Depending on the need, the advisor will connect the founders to experts from various domains – sales, marketing, finance, investment, etc. The experts are people who have built scalable businesses or are business leaders at global companies. The pool of experts who will be helping startups include industry leaders like Mangesh Panditrao (CEO, Shoptimize), Dhruvil Sanghvi (CEO, LogiNext), Dr. Vikas Joshi (Chairman, Harbinger Group), Sundara Nagalingam (Head, Deep Learning Practice, NVIDIA), Lokesh Gupta (Co-founder, DATTUS), Vishwas Mahajan (CEO, Compulink Systems), Ravikant Agarwal (Principal Consultant – Blockchain, Infosys), Advait Kurlekar (CEO, Upohan Management Consultants), Vivek Sadhale (Co-founder, LegaLogic Consulting), Ashish Nene (CEO, Precimetrix Technologies), Rohit Pandharkar (Head of Data Science, Mahindra Group), Sudeep Doshi (CEO, Dhanlaxmi Engineering), Amit Gandhi (GM, GE Healthcare), Abhijit Gupta (Founder, Praxify), Chinmoy Mishra (Founder, AllizHealth), and Gayathri Sharma (Head of VFT, Wadhwani Foundation), among others.
4. Access to customers and angel networks for equity funding
Towards the end of the program, startups that have made progress, achieved growth and have attended at least 80 percent of the sessions earn the opportunity to receive equity investment. The program’s advisors and mentors, who are well-connected, can introduce the performing startups to potential customers and partners across sectors, including BFSI, FMCG, Healthcare, Agriculture, Cyber Security, Manufacturing, Engineering, among others.