The Startup ecosystem represents a new world order, where everything is possible and no path is forbidden; where genius is nestled in simplicity and the waterfall of new ideas stems from young and seasoned minds alike, giving birth to an ocean of practical solutions that are tremendously exciting and unmatched in brilliance.
India has a booming startup landscape that has now become the third largest in the world. The country’s startup ecosystem is witnessing year on year growth of 12-15%. At present, 38 startups are valued at over $1 billion, or what is better known as unicorns. Despite the disruption to the economy by the Covid-19 pandemic last year, India minted around 12 such unicorns.
There has been a conscious attempt on the part of the government and private players to encourage the startups and foster the right ecosystem for them to flourish. The latest addition in this arena is the “Circle Program” – peer to peer mentoring of founders of start-ups, launched by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). Startup founders can enrol themselves for the program which has many notable mentors.
The program has been designed for founders who aspire very high but need guidance and handholding from established founders to achieve their vision. At the core of the program is:
- a) matching each mentor-founder with two founders and building a lifetime relationship
- b) a strict selection process satisfying both sides
- c) confidentiality of the interaction between the parties
Through this program, founders can take informed decisions around funding, investments, technology adoption and any other matter related to realization of their aspirations.
Eminent and established founders such as Dinesh Agarwal [IndiaMart], Nitin Kamath [Zerodha], Rajesh Jain [Netcore], Adhil Shetty [Bankbazaar], Vivek Bhargava [Dentsu and Profitwheel] will be the mentors to the Circle Program.
In addition, Ameera Shah [Metropolis], Rajesh Magow [MakeMyTrip], Nigel Morris [Ad-mix], PK Gulati [Optimistix Ventures] and Tarana Lalwani [InnoVen Capital] are also other mentors of the first program.
Commenting on the importance of the program, Dinesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, IndiaMART.com, said: “Startups hold the potential to become the growth engines of our economy and they are our future. They have shown exemplary performance over the years. Our endeavour is to support the Indian startup ecosystem – which can set an example for the rest of the world. We are confident that the Circle Program would provide a major boost to the startup ecosystem, helping startups to strategize their business plans and achieve growth.”
Vivek Bhargava, Chairman, IAMAI Startup Committee, Co-Founder, ProfitWheel and Head Dentsu Performance Group, said: “The Circle Program is addressing the challenges of entrepreneurs who usually have a lonely journey and may not know what to do and whom to reach out to when they come across either challenges or opportunities.”
Amid current uncertainties, launch of such programs not only provide a boost to the budding entrepreneurs but also develop a positive ambience that is essential for fostering the startup ecosystem of India.