What do startups get from the IAN Incubation program?
The IAN Incubator program increases the chances of success of a startup through:
- Mentoring by experienced entrepreneurs and investors. Many of the IAN members and mentors are serial entrepreneurs who bring a perspective from their experience of building and scaling up companies. This helps startups significantly cut down the time that they take from concept to market.
- IAN and the mentor help startups understand funding options and strategies. IAN provides startups access to not just equity investment by IAN members, but also seed support in the form of soft loans from partner organizations like Technology Development Board and SIDBI. (Do note that while a team recommended by the mentor will be presented to investors, the decision on whether to invest or not will be taken by an independent investment committee.).
- IAN Incubation program helps startups build the product or service model & processes. In fact, because of the large network of IAN, we are able to help startups get customers for pilot projects or for validating their concepts/products/value proposition.
- IAN Incubator has partnered with a number of service providers like legal firms, accountants, technology companies, hosting partners, etc. who provide discounts, benefits and credits to our startup companies.
- IAN Incubator can provide startups an opportunity to showcase at IAN forums, including investor meetings so that they are able to get early feedback and therefore be better prepared for the market or for funding.
- IAN is active on social media and also has a strong PR program. We are able to provide visibility to our startups through these initiatives.
Because most IAN members and mentors are experienced entrepreneurs, they are focused on accelerating the startups move from concept to market. In effect, this is evident from the fact that over 50% of our portfolio companies have started generating revenue during the course of the program. In fact, many of them have raised funding, have won national awards or filed for IP.
How do I know if my company qualifies for the IAN Incubation program?
We select startups that have a potential to scale and if we have the ability to add value to that startup. In shortlisting companies for the program, we review the following:
- Scale – Is the size of the market opportunity large, and is the aspiration of the team large
- Uniqueness - Does the product/service have a differentiator
- Competition – How crowded is the market and is there space for new ventures to create a meaningful presence
- Investment worthiness – if the venture progresses well, is it likely to attract equity or debt capital
- Relevance – is this venture in an area of focus of IAN and IAN Incubator
- Our ability to add value – do we and/or our investors/mentors have the expertise to add value to the venture
- Team – is the team competent and have the skill sets to implement this venture (in case the team is not complete, we evaluate the founder’s willingness to bring in other relevant co-founders)
Based on the above, a selection panel meets shortlisted teams for accepting startups into the program.
While startups may not be registered as a private limited company when they are accepted in the program, they have to start the process of registration (If required, IAN helps with the registration process through our partners).
How do I apply for the IAN Incubator?
You can apply to the IAN Incubator by sending your concept note or presentation to firstname.lastname@example.org
A guiding document which provides you suggestions on how to structure your concept note or presentation can be downloaded from our website, or you can write to us to request for one.
You can also apply by meeting one of our team members.
What is the process after I submit my application?
An internal selection panel will review your application and may contact you to seek more information and to understand your needs better. Post this interaction, we assess if your application meets our selection criteria, and if your venture is in an area in which we can add value.
We then identify an appropriate mentor from among the IAN investors or from our panel of subject matter experts. Once a mentor has agreed to engage with you, we coordinate an interaction between the mentor and you wherein both of you will decide if you would like to proceed with the engagement.
Post this, the relevant documentation will be processed and you will be accepted as an IAN Incubator portfolio company.
If your venture is not selected for the program, we try to provide you comprehensive feedback and our observations on your concept or plan.
What is the process of incubation and what do entrepreneurs / startups get from the IAN Incubator?
- Once a startup is shortlisted for incubation, the incubator team will have detailed discussions with the founders to understand them better and to assess the need gaps and the team’s requirements, so that an appropriate mentor can be assigned to the team.
- Once a mentor has been identified and accepted to mentor the startup, the incubator team will have facilitate a meeting with the startup and mentor for them to understand each other, assess if they would like to work together. If they decide to progress the relationship, then either at the same meeting or soon thereafter, we will have a longer joint session to review the current plans, evaluate the aspirations & goals, set specific milestones and identify the direction in which the mentoring will progress. This helps the mentor and the mentee get a clear understanding of what to expect, and how to get and deliver value.
- Post this, the mentor and startup will interact (in-person or via phone/e-mails, as practical) on a periodic basis, typically once a month, for the duration of the program. The mentor and mentee may decide to meet or interact more often depending on the need, availability and the personal chemistry between the mentor and mentee. The mentor will provide a perspective on the plans of the startup, and thereby help the entrepreneurs make better-informed decisions.
- In this role, the mentor may make some introductions to potential customers, vendors or advisors. However, introductions and access should not be the main objective from the mentoring engagement.
- IAN Incubator team will assist the entrepreneur coordinate the interaction with the mentor, and will also periodically review the engagement. IAN Incubator team will also support the mentor and the startup access other resources available to IAN Incubator e.g. access to other mentors, partners (e.g. lawyers, accountants, technology partners, hosting companies, etc.) who offer credits & benefits to our portfolio companies, as well as schemes and grants of Department of Science & Technology and Technology Development Board.
- Through our partners and associations, the Incubator will assist the startup on areas like R&D, technology transfer, commercialization of IP, etc.
- The Incubatee company can use the IAN Incubator office address for official communication
What are the fees and charges for the program?
- The incubatee company pays an incubation fee of Rs. 12,000 Incubation Fee for the12 months program
- The incubatee company gives 5% Equity Stake to IAN Incubator, of which the incubator shares 3% equity to a mentor. The mentor’s equity portion is vested over 12 months in 3 equal installments of 1% each, starting from the starting of the mentoring relationship.
What does the mentor do for the incubatee?
A mentor can help the Incubatees with one or more of the following.
- Suggest broad strategic direction for the startup. The mentor will provide his/her perspective. The final decision on what direction to take the company will be the entrepreneur’s.).
- Assist you in refining, formulating the business plan
- Provide guidance and advice on product /concept development
- If the mentor has subject matter expertise, he/she could assist in the technology development. If not, he could help the startup access the subject matter expertise through from the IAN network, through the IAN Incubator team.
- The mentor may connect the startup to potential clients, partnerships, team members, etc. However, the decision on whether he wants to do this or not is entirely the mentor’s and that decision may be based on a number of factors, including if mentor feels that the startup is ready to leverage those introductions.
What the mentor cannot do (or deliver)
- He/she will not run the company
- He/she will not take any decision on behalf of the company
- He/she will not be a signatory to any legal or non legal documents of the company
- He/she will not be on your board or advisory board (unless he/she independently agrees to)
- The mentor is NOT your business development asset nor is he/she a means of getting funded.