The India Accelerator (IA) is a seed accelerator started in March 2017; it aims to be the spawning ground for emerging tech start-ups. “The selected start-ups receive not only seed funding, advice and mentoring, and connections, but also other critical inputs required to enable them to be launched successfully,” said Ashish Bhatia, founder, IA, in a recent interaction with FE.
The IA is part of the Global Accelerator Network, a group of 100-odd top accelerators in the world. “The IA model closely follows that of TechStars and other internationally-known accelerators,” he said.
Bhatia added that the IA is unique in terms of its intensive hands-on approach, 360-degree coverage, investor relationships, partner network and global focus. “Our mentors are all successful people who have the passion to build the entrepreneurship community. We are the only GAN-backed accelerator in India; GAN opens up numerous opportunities for our portfolio start-ups to expand globally, and also brings global mentorship and investment into the picture,” he said.
The pandemic year (2020), Bhatia said, has been tough on start-ups. “The funding funnel dried up, revenues declined, profits shrunk, and companies scaled down growth plans. Early-stage and mid-stage start-ups are the worst-hit, especially in travel and transportation space,” he said.
At the same time, start-ups in the healthtech and edtech space witnessed a surge in revenues and attracted good funding. “The good thing is that none of the ‘our start-ups’ shut shop during these trying times. They pivoted, they reengineered, they scaled down in some cases, but they managed to stay alive and I’m sure they will strike back harder with things now looking up,” Bhatia said.
In 2020, the IA funded 30 start-ups in its cohort, and it aims to fund 100 start-ups this year.
Going forward, the IA is planning global expansion. “We are on the drawing board for launching a programme in Singapore, as a base for covering the Southeast Asian geography. Another focus is to expand our footprint to Africa,” Bhatia said.