As India continues to work towards attaining a more self-reliant economy, accelerators like 9Unicorns believe strengthening the country’s startup ecosystem is the most important place to start, and 9Unicorns wants to play a crucial role.
9Unicorns, an early stage accelerator fund launched in late 2019, has already become the largest player in the country by investing in over 60 unique technology startups with a cumulative valuation of nearly USD $450 million.
Co-founded by Dr. Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, Anil Jain, Anuj Golecha, and Gaurav Jain, the Mumbai-based $72 million sector-agnostic fund provides up to $100k per startup in the first round, and up to $2 million in successive rounds with its ecosystem of co-investors. The fund is scouting for startups beyond the top Indian metros.
“9Unicorns is helping build a community where early and idea-stage startups can get more personal and systematic advice. We ensure that founders have a great mentorship experience (as lack of mentorship is the second most prevalent reason why startups fail). Lack of funding is still the first reason,” said Dr. Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, Co-founder and President of 9Unicorns.
He further added that 9Unicorns is on a mission to help strengthen early-stage investing and help create quality startups that have a potential to become billion dollar companies in the future.
Built on the lines of US-based accelerator Y Combinator, 9Unicorns was launched by the country’s largest integrated incubator Venture Catalysts (VCats) to identify the best ideas and early-stage startups from India.
India’s startup ecosystem is thriving and the birth of 16 Unicorns so far this year is a testimony to the fact that the emergence of quality accelerators and incubators such as 9Unicorns is playing a major role in meeting early-stage company’s needs. At present, India is home to about 50 Unicorns (by valuation — according to data from Tracxn), and has the potential to create about a 100 more in the next two years.
9Unicorns’ platform provides innovative start-ups with initial hand holding, funds, world-class mentorship, go-to-market strategies, and ideas to create more potential Unicorns in the near future.
While doing that, 9Unicorns also ensures that the accelerator doesn’t interfere in the day-to-day operations and running of its invested companies. “Founders know their product well. We only help them to grow, raise bigger rounds, and increase their presence in different markets. The larger idea is to create a community of start-ups that works together and helps one another,” said Dr. Sharma.
To help its portfolio companies raise bigger up-rounds, 9Unicorns is launching its first ever startup showcase, Demo Day. The event will showcase about 30 shortlisted portfolio startups including 15 from its parent Venture Catalysts, presenting their ideas before global marquee investors on August 11-12.
These startups are from multiple sectors including deep-tech, artificial intelligence, defence tech, fintech and health-tech amongst others.
“We are super confident that each of our 30 portfolio startups presenting on those two days will be able to impress the global VCs and bag the funding they deserve. The growth of these startups could automatically boost the economy and help create more employment,” Dr. Sharma added.
The 30 startups have been selected after rigorous workshops, coaching sessions, mentoring sessions and proof of concepts (PoCs) that were conducted virtually, in the wake of the remote working conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Demo Day will see over 100 global investors including those from the US, UK, China, Hong Kong and Singapore.
As a responsible accelerator fund and as part of its efforts to put Indian startups on the global map, 9Unicorns will be organising the Global Demo Day every quarter with the assurance that each edition will feature some of the finest startups from the 9Unicorns family.