After three successful cohorts, the NetApp Excellerator is among the sought-after programme for B2B startups, if the hundreds of applications from hopefuls is anything to go by.
One of the reasons for its popularity is its strong value proposition. As one of the very few B2B focused accelerators in India, the NetApp Excellerator enables startups to create innovative market-ready products and solutions by providing access to NetApp’s expertise and its ecosystem of partners and customers. Since its launch in June 2017, 18 startups have graduated from the programme. While most of these startups have grown, pivoted their product and gained traction in the global market, some of them have also gone on to successfully raise funds.
Applications are now open for the fourth cohort of this four-month-long programme. Startups from a diverse set of technology areas that include (but are not limited to) cloud, IoT, big data and analytics, machine learning, virtualisation, data security, data management, storage, and other adjacent areas can apply for the programme.
Why the NetApp Excellerator is a compelling proposition for startups
Designed to help startups create innovative world-class products and solutions that are market-ready, the programme helps them realise the potential of their innovative ideas.
The accelerator programme provides startups access to mentors, collaboration and productivity tools, co-working space, as well as networking opportunities and more. Here’s a quick look at the array of unique offerings of the NetApp Excellerator programme:
- Mentoring by successful entrepreneurs, senior industry leaders, and investors and in-house experts
- Personalised learning programme
- Targeted customer access for requirement analysis, proofs of concept, and demos on a case-by-case basis
- Investor connects for selected startups
- Co-working space in the NetApp’s Global Center of Excellence in Bengaluru with access to campus amenities
- Access to collaboration tools, productivity tools, and the NetApp software development kit (SDK)
- Equity-free grant of $15,000 upon completion of the programme
Here’s how the programme propelled growth for these startups
For InstaSafe, a software-defined perimeter-based cybersecurity provider, which was part of the second cohort, the programme gave them an opportunity to leverage NetApp’s connections for various go-to-market strategies for both domestic and global markets, and also work closely with NetApp to create a world-class product demo for their existing and prospective customers to explain their product in a simplified manner. In essence, the programme helps startups refine their product build-out strategy and execute a structured go-to-market approach, providing the startups the needed experience and visibility to grow and mature faster.
The opportunity came at the right time for FirstHive, a Bengaluru-based MarTech startup. Aditya Bhamidipaty, Founder & CEO, says, “The timing couldn’t be more perfect. We got into the programme when we were embarking on a revamp of our technical architecture. The Excellerator experience enabled us to validate our assumptions. We have also got the opportunity to interact with experts which helped us simplify our business pitch, to make it more relatable.”
A key component of the programme involves helping startups identify gaps, bringing a fresh perspective and showing them how to fine-tune for a global market. Abinash Saikia, Co-founder of Enclouden, shares, “We always thought it was to our advantage that the three co-founders had different perspectives and brought different points of view to the boardroom discussions. However, during the sessions with our mentors, they actually pointed out how the three of us were talking about different things. It helped us realise that we were not coherent about what we would like to collectively say as a company and the need and importance of having a common public statement about the company, future plans, etc.”
He adds that the sessions with the technical mentors helped them benchmark their product against the best in the market. “It is important that you are equally good, if not better, and the sessions helped us bring that perspective, and scale ourselves. Also, as a startup it is important to identify the stage that you are in. You will need funding to accelerate your growth but you need to be able to identify when it is the right time to seek investment. The sessions with investors have helped us identify that as well,” explains Abinash.
Each of the 18 startups who have been part of the NetApp Excellerator across cohorts echo this sentiment. While they say access to world-class facilities, mentoring and channels are key highlights, what is of most significance is NetApp’s expertise and feedback. The startups say that getting to be part of the cohort sends a positive signal for potential investors, customers and employees, thereby making it conducive for networking and growth.
If you are a B2B tech startup looking to take your brilliant ideas to the next stage, need guidance on building business relevance and exposure to expertise in the areas of the hybrid cloud, storage, and data management, look no further than the NetApp Excellerator.