FinTech in India has grown exponentially in the last five years, especially due to the innovative and dynamic use of technology by startups. India's adoption of FinTech has led the charts along with China. With the introduction of emerging technologies and advent of digital disruption, the Indian retail industry has also seen a major evolution. RetailTech is the new buzzword, and according to KPMG and E&Y, the Indian retail industry accounts for well over $600 billion.
While this is true, many startups in these sectors fail to see the light of day due to a lack of know-how, scaling issues, lack of mentorship, scarce resources, lack of funding, and so on. This impacts everyone, from startup founders, to investors to corporates and end-consumers because potentially profitable and game-changing ideas are never brought to fruition.
Various accelerators in the country are seizing this opportunity to support these startups and helping them transform their ideas into a reality. Jain University Incubation Center is one of them, with their defined processes and expert mentors ready to support startups at all stages.
Success from humble beginnings
Jain University Incubation Center (JUiNCUBATOR) is a not-for-profit Technology Business (TBI) Incubator (TBI) established in 2015, funded and supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India (GoI) and Jain (Deemed-to-be University). The Center’s story dates back to 2001, when Jain was just an institute and its Founder Chairman Dr. Chenraj Roychand, an entrepreneur himself, started incubating student ideas. This was a time when the terms ‘incubation’ and ‘startups’ had yet to see the light of day in Bengaluru. Yet, the pioneering Dr. Chenraj mentored students and even turned their ideas into reality by funding them. Most of these ventures have created jobs, wealth and have sustained till date.
Since then, JGI Group, the promoters of Jain (Deemed-to-be University) and Jain University Incubation Center (JUiNCUBATOR), has supported 60+ ventures. They went on to create a venture fund - JGI Ventures. As per directions from DST, they shifted their focus on tech entrepreneurship through the Technology Business Incubator in 2015.
Helping startups grow upward and onward
So far, they have incubated 18 startups out of 444 applications received. Last year, they launched the seed fund, supported by National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), DST, and GoI. As Dr. Chenraj Roychand is an entrepreneur himself, the entire organisation functions from an entrepreneur’s perspective.
Close to 10000+ enthusiasts have gained value from various value-added programmes provided by JUiNCUBATOR. Due to the high standard of resources the programmes offer, the selection process is quite rigid, with startups receiving quality support in terms of the team, product, and creating successful business models.
Commenting on the programme, Dr. Chenraj Roychand says, "Startups are a source of creativity, vigour and dynamism, but they are unable to scale for enterprise use cases, and that is where JGI Accelerator comes in. Through this programme, entrepreneurs will have access to domain experts and business leaders from industries who will aid startups to scale over 12 weeks. JGI Accelerator stimulates the co-creation ecosystem with inspiration and learnings from successful global economies. The JGI Startup Ecosystem magnifies this potential by linking startups to corporates, providing access to innovation that is reviewed, reliable and is supported by the top startup enablers in the country."
The launch of JGI Accelerator RetailTech and FinTech track
JGI Accelerator, a new business unit of JUiNCUBATOR is an intense and immersive programme aimed at accelerating emerging startups for high-impact growth by compressing years of learning into just a few months of execution.
The accelerator programme, funded by NSTEDB, DST, Government of India, currently works with late-stage FinTech and RetailTech startups. Startup Karnataka, KITS, Department of IT BT and S&T, Government of Karnataka are the state partners.
The programme runs for three months and offers startups an opportunity to get mentorship, feedback on their business model, networking and funding opportunities. Selected startups who are incubated under JUiNCUBATOR will be offered seed funding of up to 25 lakhs.
"We are delighted to embark on a new journey with innovative startups to shape the future of Retail and FinTech Industries. With support under the NIDHI Accelerator Scheme from NSTEDB, DST, GoI and many leading industry and ecosystem partners, the JGI Accelerator programme addresses the top challenges of today's entrepreneurs - finding customers and access to corporate clients. This is a go-to programme for startups willing to scale nationally and are looking for global access," says the driving force behind the programme, Nayaz Ahmed, COO at JUiNCUBATOR.
The RetailTech track is organised in partnership with Global Venture Alliance (GVA) and will work with RetailTech startups who have raised at least Series A funding. GVA is an international organisation that has worked with more than 1500 startups in retail technologies, executed close to 30+ accelerator programmes worldwide, and has offices in San Francisco, Moscow and Almaty.
Daniel Kozlov, Managing Partner, GVA, says, “In creating this accelerator jointly with Jain, we set up a programme that will focus on the RetailTech field. To make it a success, we provide startups with access to best knowledge from real-world experts in retail, access to top corporate partners, and dedicated resources such as mentors and coaches that will work with them. We have seen this approach provide amazing results in 32 programmes that we have conducted in six different countries. I would like to personally add that our funds from the Valley will be looking at the top startups in the programmes in terms of considering them as an opportunity for an investment. We also plan to bring in Indian partner funds to look at the startups in the JGI Accelerator.”
The RetailTech track will focus on segments like marketing and CRM, AI in retail, payment solutions, logistics and HR. Startups who apply to this track will be assigned coaches who will bring invaluable real-time experience, connections, industry-related knowledge and skills to help startups become more successful. They will meet with the startups every weekend to understand their progress, milestones achieved and to structure future goals.
JGI Accelerator also plans to bring partners of “500 Startups” and “Plug And Play”.
The FinTech track is organised in partnership with Startup Réseau, an ecosystem bringing in various types of structured interface for enabling unique linkages between startups and business pillars such as enterprise, capital, markets and services. Driven by its founding team's cumulative experience of over 45 years, Startup Réseau has developed a strong understanding of new models of startups and entrepreneurship-related innovation and economic development engagements.
As a knowledge partner, they offer mentorship in the form of FinTech experts to support selected startups. Under the programme, corporate leaders from Microsoft, India Fintech Forum, Mumbai FinTech Hub, among others, will act as advisors and offer insights, and provide feedback for startup ventures.
Ms Sweta Tiwari, Co-founder, Startup Réseau, says, "It is a great opportunity for us at Startup Réseau to partner with Jain (Deemed-to-be University) Incubation Center for operating a FinTech accelerator in Bengaluru, supported by DST. With a strong mentor, industry and investor network, we are confident that the programme will be able to provide a strong platform for emerging FinTech startups to scale fast. We look forward to working with some exciting FinTech founders.”
The FinTech track will focus on startups who are into credit/lending, payment, insurance, banking, wealth management, enterprise/B2B software for BFSI, financial inclusion, RegTech, and so on.
Access to pilot opportunities, credits and more
Startups in both the tracks will get to work closely with corporate partners who will share their expertise and provide global market access. In fact, if they find the startup’s products interesting, they will provide them a platform to launch the pilot project within their company. Moreover, if the idea is a transformational one, this could lead to contract signing. Tech partners like AWS, Google, Zendesk, HubSpot will also provide access to benefits of up to $50,000 to selected startups.
Roadshows are planned in Bengaluru in the month of March. Interested founders can attend by visiting http://bit.ly/jgiroadshow.
Who can apply?
If you're a registered RetailTech or FinTech startup with a working product/solution of six months of existence, have a team, and are ready to pilot, you are eligible to apply.
The selection board includes investors and corporate partners who are experts in Silicon Valley methodologies, so that startup-fit is ensured early on. During the Demo Day, startups can interact and stand a chance to get funding opportunities from these stalwarts.
So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and apply and let your business scale to greater heights! The last date to apply is April 30, 2020.
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