WATCH: This US-based accelerator is redefining ‘mentorship’ for Indian startups
The terms “accelerator” and “mentor” have a different meaning in India compared to the rest of the world, and US-based accelerator Techstars is set to redefine how they are looked at here. Mentorship, as this 12 year-old accelerator sees it, is experienced people (whether investors or industry veterans) willing to give back. It is not easy to find them, and that’s a task Techstars has taken up.
Founded in 2007 in Colorado by serial entrepreneur David Cohen, Techstars has 1,700 startups from across the world in its portfolio. It connects founders with entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, alumni, investors, community leaders, and corporate partners to grow their companies. This year, Techstars will choose over 500 startups around the globe, investing $120,000 in each.
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Techstars launched the India chapter last year, looking for startups that focus on the Indian market, with expansion plans that include emerging and developed markets. It received about 1,000 applications from 30 countries by June 2018.
Based on team, market, and idea, Techstars has handpicked 10 finalists (nine in India and one from Sri Lanka), and trained them for three months. The 10 startups were showcased in Bengaluru today as part of Techstars Demo Day.
1. Bengaluru-based Ambee provides information on hyperlocal air quality in real time.
2. Dcoder, from Rajasthan, enables coders to create and compile code on mobile devices.
3. InstaCar, based in Indore, provides chauffeur-driven cabs for inter-city travel.
4. Leucine from Bengaluru assists pharma companies to be compliant through automation.
5. Liquid Diamonds is a B2B online exchange for certified diamonds, based out of Mumbai.
6. NIRA, based in Bengaluru, provides credit to grey-collar workers for their emergency needs.
7. oDoc, from Sri Lanka, is video medical consultation platform for grey and blue collar workers.
8. Redwing Labs in Bengaluru connects remote areas by drones and proprietary technology.
9. Rephrase.ai, from Bengaluru, creates high quality videos with text as inputs, using artificial intelligence.
10. Unifize, also based in Bengaluru, helps manufacturers reduce the time taken to design, make, and sell their products.
The 10 startups of TechStars 2019 class in Bengaluru on Thursday, May 2.
Over the course of a 13-week programme, founders from InMobi, Wattpad, Zest Money, and many other successful startups shared details of their personal journeys. The startups also participated in more than 740 meetings with 80 mentors from India, Australia, the US, and Canada, and interacted with the Techstars global network of alumni (there are 28 India-based companies among its alumni).
Techstars has also launched its corporate innovation programme in India by partnering with more than 10 companies. They are working with startups from the proof-of-concept level.
The accelerator is also partnering with State government-led programmes like Kerala Startup Mission, Karnataka’s Elevate 100, and Telangana’s T-Hub, among others.
Furthermore, they are partnering with corporates who run their own accelerators, to help each other with finding good startups. They will be working with local ecosystem builders like VCs and angel investors along with corporates in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, and other cities.
Techstars also conducts ‘startup weekend’ for aspiring entrepreneurs to experience the process of starting up. This has been done in more than 120 countries already. Techstars connects the tech talent pool in Bengaluru to its portfolio startups in Germany, the UAE, and Sri Lanka.