Here’s how Bengaluru-based Turbostart is enabling pre-Series A startup founders to rapidly validate, scale and amplify their businesses
2019 saw Indian startups raising $14.5 billion in funding. The year also saw the emergence of nine new unicorns. Even though the global ecosystem saw a slowdown, the Indian startup ecosystem continued to thrive. However, 2020 brought its share of setbacks primarily brought about by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic challenges thereafter. In spite of the initial setbacks, the Indian startup ecosystem has shown signs of resilience and resurgence. It continues to thrive in comparison to the global ecosystem, believes Ganesh Raju, Founder and CEO, Turbostart, a startup programme for early-stage companies.
On a mission to simplify the entrepreneurial journey by providing unparalleled startup support
Playing an active role in the startup ecosystem in the last four years, Ganesh has advised close to 400 startups and has played instrumental roles in startup programmes like ‘LevelNXT’ and Elevate 100. Observing that entrepreneurs, although driven by a strong desire to grow, continue to find the early days challenging because of the usual obstacles that come in the way of starting a venture, he took charge and launched Turbostart in 2019.
Ganesh Raju, Founder and CEO, Turbostart
A brainchild of Ganesh Raju, Turbostart is a sector agnostic, pan-India programme that felicitates 25 promising startups in the country, twice a year.
Founder & CEO of Turbostart, Ganesh shares, “The programme works towards providing critical business support for innovators and helps them scale up fast, efficiently and cost-effectively. It aims to eliminate hurdles and challenges faced by startup founders.”
Team Turbostart: a unique blend of experience and enthusiasm
A key aspect that makes the Turbostart programme stand apart is its innovative venture economics. With its unique differentiated model, the programme deploys an operating team and infrastructure that is affordable only to big funds. Fast and effective deployment of funds enables accelerated value creation to both Turbostart startups and investors.
While it provides access to funding of up to Rs 2 crore for each of the selected startups, the larger vision of the programme is to provide tailored expertise for these innovators to help them overcome the hurdles of scaling up. “We are enablers first, financiers next,” says Ganesh.
A 65+ strong ,multi-disciplinary team consisting of business leaders, strategy consultants, serial entrepreneurs and venture investors helps Turbostart in its quest to enable startups to derive value beyond just financing. “Our leaders have 500+ years of cumulative experience working with early to late-stage startups and this therefore gives us a better understanding on how to plug market gaps to achieve scalability,” explains Ganesh.
From helping startups narrow down the right customer segment, or deep diving into legal, finance or infrastructure-related aspects, help is right around the corner for startups. In addition, the leaders play a critical role in helping the founders shape the long term vision of their startup. The Founder says the team is united by the common vision of easing the process that startups go through to successfully scale and run a business globally. This team includes industry leaders like K Ullas Kamath, Joint MD, Jyothy Laboratories; Dr. Vivek Mansingh, General Partner, YourNest VC Fund; Aniruddha Ganguly, Ex-Executive Director, GMR Group; R Natarajan, Co-Founder, Foundation Partners; Venkat Raju, Angel and Silicon Valley Entrepreneur; G S Krishnan, Ex-Regional President/ MD, Novozymes; Muralidhara C, Partner, Murali & Co; Shivkumar Janardhanan, Ex-CEO, Essilor; among others.
Multi-functional expertise to overcome the hurdles of scaling up
The programme has been designed to ensure startups are able to execute their innovations with a strong support infrastructure, and grow to be well-positioned to succeed in the market. The path of development is being made smooth for these entrepreneurs by providing them with an open, flexible and accessible environment that later prepares them for the next stage of funding.
For DOQFY, a legaltech startup, its selection into Turbostart’s first cohort helped to realign its vision and get the strategic support it needed in the areas of technology, business strategy, branding, customer access, among others to continue to drive growth. DOQFY’s integrated SaaS platform with Digital Agreements, eStamping, and eSigning eases the cumbersome process of paper documentation and provides more than 1,200 curated legal document templates suitable for businesses, professionals, and individual users across India. Even though it is a sector agnostic platform, it is extensively used by Banks, NBFCs, Investment Companies, Financials Institutions and Law Firms. “The pandemic saw a rise in demand for our services but at the same time the market dynamics was different compared to the pre-COVID-19 times. Here, the business mentorship of the experienced advisory and management team at Turbostart benefited us immensely and helped to drive a clear growth path.”
DOQFY is among the 25 startups that was selected for the first cohort earlier this year. In fact, Turbostart received an overwhelming response of 1000+ applications across 15 sectors from 157 cities and 25 countries for its inaugural cohort in less than 45 days.
The 25 selected startups represented a range of sectors including FinTech, EduTech, LegalTech, MediaTech, HealthTech, FoodTech, LogiTech, Deeptech and those working in the area of social impact. The startups that are part of the first cohort include startups like Tathya Earth, a Deeptech startup that uses technologies such as machine learning and computer vision technologies to provide near real-time factual insights on economic indicators; TRANSO, a collaborative, optimisation and automation technology platform for supply chain stakeholders to efficiently move shipments; Sightryt Vision, a social impact startup that is working towards offering appropriate access to eyecare solutions in Tier 2 cities; Argoid, a deeptech startup that offers autonomous consumer insights; Fluid Robotics, a DeepTech startup that offers water resource management solutions.
The impact of Turbostart’s programme has been multifold for the startups that are part of the cohort.
For, since its induction into the programme, its customer pipeline went from a few numbers to 30+ strong prospects with at least three active running POC projects and two paying customers. The startup has also benefitted from the market and subject expertise of the teams at Turbostart, apart from funding. TRANSO has received assistance in building its business strategy, customer acquisition strategy, team mentoring and other ancillary services.
“With new norms dictated by the pandemic, getting a traditional sector like Logistics to transition and transact online was a challenge but with steady support from the teams at Turbostart, TRANSO was able to intervene in the market in time and witness faster adoption,” says Srikanth M, Founder and CEO, TRANSO
“We are encouraged to see the rapid progress of our inaugural Cohort and celebrate their success thus far. Though they have graduated from the programme, we aim to provide continued guidance and support in their long journey ahead,” shares Ganesh.
Upwards and onwards in the journey to realise the potential of entrepreneurs
Given that the pandemic has made it all the more challenging for young startups than ever before, Turbostart has opened applications for its second cohort.
The programme is open for startups which have been incorporated for a period of less than 10 years, have a minimum viable product or proof of concept, a scalable business model and are working towards innovation and development or improvement of products or services. The startups will be selected based on the strength of the innovative products and solutions, team, their business model, market depth, viable unit economics, traction, and impact.
With cohort 2, Turbostart aims to provide specialised guidance and operational support to thrive amidst the ongoing pandemic.
“We hope the success of the inaugural cohort provides the much-needed encouragement and assurance for startups that there is room for growth in the midst of the tough economic climate. And Turbostart aims to provide all the support entrepreneurs need. Our larger vision is to put these entrepreneurs under the spotlight and create meaningful synergies to consolidate India’s startup ecosystem,” says Ganesh signing off.
Applications to the second cohort of Turbostart close on September 30, 2020. Apply now!