The Promise of 2020
While 2019 was about claiming our rightful identity as the Innovation Continuum with a bold vision and (re)organising ourselves to deliver on the vision, 2020 is about walking-the-talk with a relentless focus on excellence in execution to bring the vision to life.
We are excited to bring you perspectives and plans for each component of the Continuum from the amazing folks who are leading the charge!
Chintan Bakshi, Partner — Incubation:
Our vision is ‘Building Tomorrow’s Startup Capitals’.
Last year we focused on consolidating the regional incubation work that we had started in Rajasthan and Gujarat, with Jaipur and Ahmedabad as the focal centres for the activities. Through attracting high-quality startups from across India to the Craft Accelerator in Jaipur, we have demonstrated the scalability of accelerator programs built around strong regional themes. The Innocity model of regional incubation has established itself firmly in the startup ecosystems of Jaipur and Ahmedabad and is ready for scale now. We have made our work more inclusive by launching a dedicated program to support early-stage women entrepreneurs.
2020 is about building on these strong foundations to deliver on our vision. Here is a sneak peek into our plans:
Have you checked out our newly refurbished facilities in Ahmedabad? We plan to launch it as the go-to place for innovation-driven entrepreneurial activities in the city. We are working on a similar space in Jaipur that will serve as the hub for all things innovative and early-stage entrepreneurship in the city.
Scale-up Innocity to the upcoming startups’ capitals of Indore and Chandigarh.
Deepen the support to regional startups with investments in at least 25 high-potential local startups.
Launch a sectoral accelerator in Gujarat focusing on the inherent strengths of the state, while also scaling-up the Rajasthan based Crafts Accelerator Program nationally.
Build on efforts to support women entrepreneurs by integrating closely with the regional incubation model.
Vipul Patel, Partner — Seed & Acceleration:
We want to be ‘The largest source of pre-series A and series A funded startups in India.’ We acknowledge that realising this vision will require us to transition from incremental activities to leapfrog initiatives that identify extraordinary entrepreneurs and propel them into a higher orbit.
We have exciting plans lined up to help deliver on our vision in 2020:
Setting up an accelerator fund that can invest up to $0.5 million at the seed stage.
Undertaking an accelerator for deep technologies in collaboration with corporates and early-stage venture funds.
Deepening our support to inclusion-focused entrepreneurs through the revamped Financial Inclusion Lab (we will be running 2 editions this year) and Bharat Inclusion Champions program.
Enhancing our deep-tech portfolio with more amazing startups; some of our notable 2019 investments being Bellatrix, CynLr, Onward, Crimson, RCupe, Cellprop and Agrisk. (By the way, some of our awesome startups are ready to raise Series A funding this year. Do check out 5C Network, SuperZop, Agricx and Dheeyantra.)
Harvesting existing portfolio to get big exits that help unlock capital for upcoming startups
In order to accomplish all this, we might have to become a little unsettled and uncomfortable, perhaps even a little more outgoing. Irrespective, we will continue to push our boundaries in service of CIIE.CO’s core mission of supporting fearless entrepreneurs creating game-changing solutions across stages and sectors.
Shyam Menon, Partner — Venture Investing and Chief Growth Officer at CIIE.CO:
We announced some very exciting early-stage (pre-Series-A — Series B) investments across the two themes — Deeptech through the Bharat Innovation Fund and Inclusion-tech through the Bharat Inclusion Seed-fund. Through our investments, we are helping build companies of consequence from India — either solving a massive global problem through an IP-driven game-changing innovation — or through a digital-tech led democratisation of services for India’s masses.
We strongly believe that the Indian ecosystem is ripe for both types of ventures and 2020 will be a landmark year for deep-tech and inclusion-tech entrepreneurs. We look forward to continue backing India’s future disruptors — and engaging closely with our portfolio companies and helping them transform the status quo.
Supriya Sharma, Partner — Insights:
While the earth was going around its favourite star, we were going after our North Star. Our vision is to be the entrepreneurs’ toolbox. In the true CIIE.CO spirit, we will undertake experiments, continue learning, work harder and make an exponential impact on creating robust actionable knowledge for startups in India.
We are going to activate multiple channels of inspiration for budding entrepreneurs. The People of Bharat series was designed to bring the consumer at the centre of the discourse on financial inclusion. In less than 18 months, we are now seeing a salient change in the narratives of many inclusion initiatives. It makes us feel a little proud. Building on some initial trials from 2019, we will integrate insights from this series into actionable tools for startups. Through entrepreneur chronicles, we will continue to demystify entrepreneurship, one story, one video at a time.
In 2020, we will make a few strides in this direction to put entrepreneurs in charge of their skill-building. In 2019, we delivered on the startups’ needs of creating and implementing a winning go-to-market strategy and building exceptional teams. In 2020, we will develop and offer short programs aimed at solving critical challenges facing each driven entrepreneur. We will also publish a few workbooks for entrepreneurs to access them and build key skills, at their own pace.
The year 2020 will also be marked with the unravelling of sharp insights, gaps and opportunities for startups and investors. In all honesty, we began working on this in 2019 with publishing a report highlighting the opportunity of civic tech in India, releasing an episode on people strategy in startups in the IIMA Podcasts, writing a research paper on analysing incubation in India at four different levels. In 2020, we will unpeel opportunities in high impact spaces such as insurtech, AI/ML, craftstech, agtech etc. and push the boundaries of knowledge in entrepreneurial cognition and learning, people strategy, and women and entrepreneurship. We will create a novel channel for entrepreneurs to better access and apply these insights into their businesses.
In a nutshell, we are going to do big things in 2020. Running a startup is a serious business. And, we are the toolbox for it.