Bengaluru-based venture capital firm Chiratae ventures has announced the launch of the 7th edition of the one of the country's longest running start-up mentorship support - The Innovators Program. The intense 5-week programme for select 20 start-ups will see specific theme-based focused mentorship each week in key investment sectors of Chiratae Ventures.
The focus will be on companies solving real-world problems through technology across sectors like consumer tech, deep tech, health tech, enterprise/software tech and financial tech. Startup founders will not just have access to dedicated mentors and workshops by top industry subject matter experts but also a weekly round table discussion with the investment team of the firm and access to their portfolio companies to work on potential synergies.
The cohort start-ups will be picked based on the market opportunity, team, innovation, scalability and building a dominant brand in India with global relevance. "We have been running this for many years and it is typically done one to two times a year overall," Sudhir Sethi, Founder & Chairman told BusinessToday.In.
Identifying unique start-ups at an early stage of their journey provides distinct advantages, he said. It helps them shape ideas, work on product and market strategy, he added. The last cohort which happened just around the time of lockdown saw Chiratae make investments into companies like Aether Bio, KBCols and WeInnovate Biosolutions.
Explaining Chiratae's investment philosophy, Sudhir said the firm typically looks at two ways of identifying potential start-ups to invest in. "We identify them proactively, which is this seventh edition, and we also take decisions to invest faster overall," he said.
The core criteria for selecting start-ups include the magnitude of problem being solved and intensity of technology being used to solve the problem. Also the quality of entrepreneurs, the addressable market size/opportunity and the ability of the company to turn into a market leader also weighs heavily while deciding their investments into any start-ups, Sudhir further explained.
While Chiratae started seed investments in 2010 with internal programes, the Innovators Program in its current form came into existence in 2016. Over the past six editions of the program, the firm has invested in over 14 companies and invested over $75 million through the programme and in follow-on rounds.
Since inception, Chiratae has made seed investments in nearly 50 companies including Uniphore, Nestaway, PlaySimple, and CloudCherry (acquired by Cisco). These companies collectively raised capital worth nearly $500 million dollars.