I believe that incubators are necessary for an active entrepreneurship ecosystem, and India sure needs more of them. So I am more than glad to write here about iAccelerator – an incubator of internet and mobile startups in India, backed by IIM-A.
iAccelerator is an incubator of internet & mobile startups in India. We’re looking for brilliant individuals and teams who want to make a dent in the universe and do so profitably. Our incubation programme runs from June 1st to August 1st this year. Apply now, the deadline for our 2010 edition is April 10th.
Here is some more information from Karam Lakshman [karaml at iimahd.ernet.in], their Program Manager, for those of you who are interested.
Frequently asked questions inline below :
The first thing I suggest you do if you haven’t already had a chance to is check out our website: www.iaccelerator.org
# What is IIM-As involvement in this?
iAccelerator is an initiative of the Centre of Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship at IIM-A. We’ve got our own building in the IIM campus.
If you’d like to read more about CIIE you can check out www.ciieindia.org
# Is this a first? In India? In IIM?
We’ve run the program 3 times in the last 2 years and we’ve funded a total of 16 companies so far. It isn’t the first incubator in India, I think… and this is off-hand.. there are about 20 incubators across the country, however we are the most prolific in the number of companies we fund and the diversity of our companies.
# What to expect?
Its fairly simple. You send us an application for funding saying that you want a startup that does xyz. We read every single application that comes in. If we like your application, we’ll get in touch with you via email and then meet you if the email conversation goes well. We’re funding companies in Delhi, Hyderabad, Bombay, Bangalore & Mumbai.
We offer living and working space in each of these cities if the startup needs them.
Once you get selected, you spend 10 days at IIM to sort things like your business plan, get your company incorporated, etc… After that, you spend 3 months building the first version of your product.
We’ll have weekly meetings with mentors & inspiring speakers in your cities + free dinner !
After 3 months, we help you get your first set of customers so you can see if your product is actually viable.
We’ll take it from there after that… if you need funding and your customers are happy, we’d be happy to fund you ourselves or introduce you to other investors too.
# Who are the mentors?
So we’ve got partners in Delhi, Bombay, Hyderabad & Bangalore + a variety of mentors all over the board… you can see their profiles on www.iaccelerator.org.
In terms of mentors, we’ve had the people who started naukri.com come to talk, the guys from zoho, indyagames… you name it really.
# What is the selection criterion?
Its as simple as are you smart and is your idea good. Please see this page for what we look for: http://iaccelerator.org/brilliant.php
I think there’s a great story around the fact that there are extremely few incubators in India who are willing to fund a startup even if all they have is just an idea.
The other thing is, given that we’re backed by IIM-A… we can do a tremendous amount to help startups apart from just funding them. If they apply from a place like mysore for example, we can give them living and working space in Bangalore.
We’ll get them in touch with mentors to advise them if they come across any difficulties and I think the greatest value we provide is the fact that we’ll help them get their first set of customers once their product ready.
The other great thing is that we’re the only incubator that can support a startup across the country, We’ve got amazing partners in Delhi, Bangalore, Bombay & Hyderabad apart from our own facility in Ahmedabad.
The best thing I can say however is that we’ve got zero in the way of red-tape even though we’re technically a government organization. That and we read every single application that comes in.
If there’s any other information you need, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.