These serial entrepreneurs decided to launch a borderless incubator programme to help emerging startups
Indiarath is a borderless incubator programme launched in September 2020. Founded by serial entrepreneurs Yatin Thakur, Upasna Dash, and Arjita Sethi, Indiarath on Tuesday announced its first cohort of startups.
There were close to 700 startups across the country that applied to the programme and most of the applications came from Tier-II and III cities. The selected startups will be given access to mentors across borders from Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Silicon Valley Bank, Blume Ventures, Cisco, Paytm, OYO, Morgan Stanley, and more.
The 24-week long incubator programme has personalised sessions and coaching to enable startups of any scale navigate business challenges across verticals.
The programme is focused on three broad categories that include upskilling entrepreneurs to handle real challenges through fundamentals, business remodelling, product designing, branding strategy etc., provided by some of the best experts from the industry in the form of masterclasses.
Other advantages include one-to-one mentorship by industry veterans to help entrepreneurs achieve tangible goals over the course of six months. Also, help with global connects in order to build stronger market reach and build products and services keeping in mind the global markets/economies.
Prior to starting Indiarath, Yatin founded CoworkIn, a co-working platform. He is also the Chairman of GEN ASIA, the leading voice of emerging Asian startups.
Having served as an Executive Committee Member towards the formation of the Women Entrepreneurship Platform set up by NITI Aayog, Yatin is also an advisor to various organisations in India and around the world.
Upasna is the Founder and CEO of the PR and Brand strategy firm Jajabor Brand Consultancy. She also serves as the Vice-President of Startup India Advisory, is a jury member in the Women Entrepreneurship Programme - Niti Aayog, and is part of the Global Shaper community in the World Economic Forum.
Arjita is the Founder of The Founders Vault, a collective of global founders, experts, and investors building sustainable businesses. She is the Professor - Entrepreneurship and Innovation, at Hult International Business School and San Francisco State University.
She is also the Founder and CEO of Equally, a Silicon Valley venture-backed startup that uses AR and AI to redefine education. Arjita sits on the Advisory Board of Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Centre.
The selected startups in the cohort are Tales By Le Weaver, Printpackexchange, Ringlerr, CORDSS, Wardo Circular Fashion Private Limited, Minions., Lekh-Haq, Black Eye Technologies, and a startup in stealth mode.
In conversation with YourStory, the three founders explained why they chose to startup, and what startups can get out of this programme.
Indiarath would be launching programmes for international founders, besides running specialised programmes in association with public and private sector partners.
Edited excerpts of the interview:
YourStory [YS]: Why did you feel the need for this incubator and what gap does it solve?
Upasna Dash [UD]: We humans are problem solvers at our core. Anytime we are stuck with key changes, radical issues, we don’t succumb, rather we want to find a way out. This is why entrepreneurship comes naturally for most of us. Sadly, the core skills needed to pursue entrepreneurship aren’t provided anywhere.
And COVID-19 just magnified this problem. Founders across the country were dealing with inaccessibility to new users, markets, lockdowns. So, what better time to create a solution that unites the spirit of entrepreneurship and reaches anyone with a vision to change the world.
When the pandemic began earlier this year, we were trying to do our best in our individual capacity to help founders/ecosystem to tide over the upheaval. The biggest challenge for founders was sustainability and survival. We have more than 30 years of experience altogether, and this provides strong support to founders in achieving sustainability, scale, and access to new markets.
YS: What is the key aim of Indiarath?
Yatin Thakur [YT]: Our aim is to create the next generation of homegrown entrepreneurs building world-class products/services right out of India, which are sustainable and can achieve scale. Within the first year, we will be looking to support and build over 200 startups. We believe the community we are building is beyond just our cohorts, it's a new way of life for the new age of entrepreneurship. This new age focuses on impact, scale, global access, giving back to the community, and is built from insights from across the world.
YS: What are your selection parameters, and what kind of startups are you looking at?
UD: The most important parameters of selection include the scope of their product/service and the impact. One can apply directly on our website. Founders will have to apply through an online application form. The screening team shortlists the top teams and would conduct a video interview with the founders.
Post video interview, the shortlisted startups will get an intimation to enroll on the online platform and will become part of our cohort.
YS: What benefits do the startups get and what sets you apart from the other incubators?
Arjita Sethi [AS]: We believe our incubator stands out because we are 100 percent virtual, and we offer one-to-one mentor coaching from global experts with 360-degree coaching/learning. We also provide access to global markets and help form a community for life, and enable the startups beyond funding.
YS: What are the key things you look for in the founding team?
AS: The ability to solve problems and build innovative solutions is a must. The founding teams and the founders’ ability to make an impact is also taken into account. In terms of a global perspective, at Indiarath, we look for founders who are solving global problems and building products which can be taken globally.
YS: Do you get an equity stake? How does the model work?
YT: We do not take an equity stake. To get into the programme, startups need to get through the selection process that requires them to submit a form, get through two rounds of screening, including a one-to-one interview process. There is just a one-time membership fee that gives the cohort access to a 24-week specialised programme, and a lifetime membership to the Indiarath community, including access to its global partners.
Edited by Anju Narayanan