For a little over four years now, JioGenNext has been partnering with startups to help them understand their business better, enabling them to be successful and be the best in what they do. The accelerator backed by Reliance Industries Limited also provides participants with exceptional mentoring from industry experts, thought leaders and leadership team from Reliance, and other change-making organisations.
A strong guiding belief of JioGenNext is that entrepreneurs need to create societal value, which has to be the main objective of the business, while financial returns are actually a by-product. Previous cohorts have amply demonstrated this by achieving non-linear growth with speed, scale and sustainability.
Several startups aren’t able to get traction from their innovative ideas due to lack of a basic understanding of how to build a valuable business. JioGenNext helps solve this problem through Basecamp, a four-week-long mentoring programme for seed-stage startups. The new programme launched this year is going thematically by identifying sectors of importance to Jio and Reliance Retail. They are organising focused thematic cohorts, which follow the ‘inch wide – mile deep approach. The 11th batch has been in financial services with eight fintech startups that are working on various pain points faced by customers in this sector.
As part of the camp, the startups got a chance to understand how to think from a customer’s perspective and why is it important to always have a frugal approach.
Amey Mashelkar, who runs the programme, kicked off the first session by introducing the startups to the ASSURED framework as a new way to think of building a scalable and sustainable business.
A - Affordable, S - Scalable, S - Sustainable, U - Universal, R - Rapid, E - Excellent, D – Distinctive as conceived by Dr. R.A. Mashelkar is highlighted in his new book – Leapfrogging to Pole-vaulting: Creating the Magic of Radical yet Sustainable Transformation.
A Q&A session helped the startups further connect with the Jio ecosystem. The Jio team exchanged their experiences in return for expectations from the next-gen startups, and the new-age processes that would help them.
From the perspective of building a ‘Scalable’ and ‘Sustainable’ business, Vinit Bhansali, Vice President, Orios Venture Partners said, "Entrepreneurs need to first and foremost find a very large market to serve and have a clarity of vision for scaling up rapidly."
There was also a talk by Dilip Krishnaswamy, Vice President, Jio Blockchain Centre of Excellence on the evolution of blockchain technology, and how startups have the potential to be the neutral entity that actually drives the blockchain platform, leading them to success with smart contract intelligence. Taking from the ‘Rapid’ principle from the ASSURED framework, Adam Walker, Growth Associate, Montane Ventures, led a presentation on product marketing, where he shared a variety of tools that startups can use to learn about their customers faster, to identify channels to acquire customers, and to build interfaces to validate their idea to match their target customers.
George Paul, Head - Strategic Alliances & Partnerships, JioGenNext, provided an understanding of Jio and led a tour of the Jio Experience Zone, which showcased various current and future usability of Jio hardware and how Jio devices can be used at home, in the car, at the office, school and for billing. The whole experience was around IoT and how, with the right hardware, it can help a person lead a digital life.
The eight startups in the first cohort of JioGenNext Basecamp fintech series are pre-series A startups. From helping people in low-income groups to file their tax returns, to providing pay-day loans to employees of MSMEs, and even providing quantum-random numbers for encryption, here’s what they are working on:
The four-week basecamp will allow the founders of these startups to work hands-on with practitioners to build their first fundable business plan based on the ASSURED framework. Practitioners include successful entrepreneurs, leading experts and accomplished industry executives.
The startups will also get access to general sessions that cover important topics, as well as one-on-one time with experts in their domain. These sessions will cover all aspects of startups, from product-design thinking, marketing, sales and operations, team-building, hiring, legal and social responsibilities and technology as-well-as employee development.
The Demo Day for the JioGenNext Basecamp will be held on May 16, 2019.