Sequoia India has launched a fellowship for women entrepreneurs in an attempt to support women founders. The venture capital firm will offer a $100,000 fellowship to 15 women entrepreneurs per year in India and South East Asia whose companies are at the pre-launch or pre-product market fit stage. The first Spark Fellowship will be launched in November 2021. Applications for the same will close on September 15.
The firm said that recipients will also receive one-on-one mentorship with a senior Sequoia India investment advisor who will work closely with them for a period of 12 months. The recipients will have hands-on support from Sequoia India portfolio specialists across hiring, legal. Finance, product, technology and marketing.
“The $100,000 grant has no strings, no equity nor any convertible note for Sequoia,” stated the firm.
Some of the founder mentors who will be helping the recipients include co-founder and CEO of Zilingo Ankiti Bose, Byju’s co-founder Divya Gokulnath, CRED founder Kunal Shah, Groww co-founder and CEO Lalit Keshre, MobiKwik co-founder Upasana Taku, and Meesho founder and CEO Vidit Aatrey.
“Gender diversity is good for any society and every economy. Different perspectives, experiences and points of view help drive innovation,” said Sequoia India, further adding, “Our Sequoia Spark initiative for female founders in India and Southeast Asia is one such effort to spark a change. By encouraging more women to start companies, we hope to increase the top of the funnel for all venture firms, including ours.”
Apart from the fellowship, Sequoia India is also expanding its programme to offer more sessions and events to the wider women entrepreneur community including a monthly webinar called Spark Talks, group sessions with Sequoia India specialists called Spark Studios and 250 hours of ‘coffee-chat’ sessions per year called Spark Coffee Chats.
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