Investing in a start-up isn’t always a guaranteed path to success. It is difficult to develop a unique and innovative product and market it in such a way that it becomes profitable. In the startup industry, investors are a crucial part of helping businesses grow beyond the seed stage. India’s start-up ecosystem was expected to grow exponentially in 2020 but there has been a decline in total investments. Yet, there are presently more than 27,000 start-ups in India and 11 of them became unicorns just this year.
In the seed stage, acquiring capital isn’t enough. Most start-ups don’t fail just because of a lack of funds; more often than not, lack of experience becomes their bane. This is a primary reason start-ups rely on accelerators. Accelerators help start-ups gain footing in the industry through mentorship. These mentors are stalwarts of the industry who condense years of experience into programs that increase start-ups’ chances for success.
9Unicorns is India’s first accelerator venture capitalist. As a VC, it invests in start-ups with potential and also gives them access to successful founders and angel investors to help start-ups push past the funding stage. Despite the interrelation between investors and accelerators, companies that incorporate both are rare in India. 9Unicorns, on the other hand, closed its second fund at Rs. 200 crore despite a global pandemic and aims to further raise it by Rs. 300 crores.
Managing Director Dr. Apoorva Ranjan Sharma says, “We made our second close of another Rs 100 crore just within six months of the first close, a difficult feat to achieve, intensified by the pandemic. We will close the rest of the fund soon to further boost the entrepreneur network in India, especially for those in non-metro areas.”
The Mumbai-based accelerator VC has a wide network of over 4,000 professionals across India; a network that they use to help start-ups expand into tier 1, 2, 3 and 4 cities as well.
9Unicorns also aims to democratize investments, which will become possible with the launch of their newest program. The Catalysts Program aims to create an easily accessible community of founders and CXOs to make transactions between them and start-ups seamless.
By leveraging their experience towards India’s emerging start-up industry, they finalized 32 deals in their first year with companies like Toch and Janani. Dr. Sharma believes that India will soon see exponential growth in unicorn start-ups and 9Unicorns aims to help facilitate that.
The pandemic caused a shift in the investor landscape but there is tangible growth in tech (especially fintech) start-ups. 9Unicorns envisions India continuing to grow as a start-up hub, helping new companies reach their goals.