We are publishing an interview of Mr. Siddhartha Sharma, Program Manager of Aaarambh Ventures – Gurgaon, Haryana based Startup Accelerator.
Could you please introduce yourself, describe the responsibilities and functions of your role, designation and who are the other people behind the Aarambh Ventures?
Aarambh Ventures has been founded by Mr. Pramod Saxena, Chairman & Managing Director, Oxigen Sevices India Pvt Ltd and led by Mr. Vivek Kaushik as CEO. At Aarambh, I’ve been involved in strategic planning, Startup Sourcing, Curation & Onboarding. I work closely with acceleratee companies to refine their Business Plans and Product Strategy. In a nutshell, I am managing the accelerator program at Aarambh.
In your own words, what is Aarambh Ventures?
Aarambh Ventures is an innovation & design driven startup accelerator. Aarambh aims to be the first milestone of every startup it works with. The acceleration program, at Aarambh, is quite flexible to address diverse needs of start-ups across different domains and functions. The main idea behind this approach is to identify and resolve the real pain points of the startup, on the contrary running a classroom management program for the founders.
How and when did you get the idea to launch Aarambh Ventures? What originally motivated you to start Aarambh Ventures?
Aarambh Ventures was conceptualized by Mr. Pramod Saxena and Mr. Vivek Kaushik in September 2016. Many young minds used to reach out to Mr. Pramod Saxena for mentorship support and funding. So, he decided to structure the entire process to support young breed of Indian entrepreneurs and Aarambh was born.
What are the goals of Aarambh Ventures? What is the business model?
Our mission is to find people who want to pursue the adventure of entrepreneurship and then release them into the world with the drive and capability to build great companies. Aarambh’s aim is to create exceptional growth and mentorship for entrepreneurs and their ideas through a network of domain experts, sector experts, seasoned entrepreneurs and investors. Aarambh follows equity based model.
Could you please detail the services offered by Aarambh Ventures?
Four month Accelerator Program at Aarambh combines handson help, seed capital, a rich entrepreneurial work environment, and an expert leadership team to quickly enable early stage startups to go farther, faster, doing in 16 25weeks what might take 16 25months if they were on their own.
What are the selection criteria for admittance into the Aarambh Ventures program? What are the important characteristics you are looking for in the pool of applicants?
Aarambh works with companies which have reached from Idea Stage to Early Traction, within 612 months of starting up and have not raised any money.
Startups with scalable and global impact ideas in Technology / Mobile, Health, Agriculture, Clean Tech / Energy, IoT, AI, Big Data & Fin Tech are eligible to participate in this program.
There are two rounds of screening in the selection process. First round is a preliminary screening, performed by our in-house team, after the concall/f2f with the founders. If the startup qualifies for the second round, they’re required to fill ‘Start Application Form(SAR)’ consisting of 50 questions. Basis our analysis of the startup, we prepare a ‘Startup Evaluation Report (SER)’. The report is shared with our partners and board at Aarambh. The final decision of acceptance of the startup into accelerator program is based on the feedback of all the stakeholders. Whether or not the startup is inducted into accelerator program, we use to share the detailed report of the screening with the founders to provide them with the insights of their venture. Till now all the startups have appreciated our approach and considered our findings useful.
What are the companies that Aarambh Ventures is currently accelerating?
We’ve curated 300+ startups till date. In span of a year, we have successfully accelerated our first startup, ‘Kalaage’, which has recently raised seed funding from RAIN. The Ideation program of 5 startups is scheduled to kick off in first week of January, 2017 at iLab, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee.
Could you please detail your immediate future plans for the Aarambh Ventures?
We’ve partnered with IIT Roorkee to setup iLab at IITR campus. We are planning to create a world class Ideation Hub at IITR Roorkee campus. iLab aims to create an ecosystem to nurture innovation and entrepreneurship among the IITR fraternity. It is a confluence of start-ups, corporate, academics and research. Also we are planning to induct more innovation based startups in our accelerator program.
How do you reach out to Indian tech entrepreneurs?
At Aarambh, startup sourcing is a continuous process because we don’t want to miss on any great innovative idea. We source startups via startup challenges, our partners and also through references. But every startup has to go through our comprehensive technology enabled screening process i.e. Online Startup Management and Evaluation System. We’ve successfully closed two start competitions this year, #GotanIdea Challenge and IITRHF-Aarambh Startup Boot Camp ’16.
Has Aarambh Ventures so far found any private partners?
Our partners include Omnivore Ventures, Unitus Seed Fund, Ivycap Ventures, Lets Venture, Aspada Investments, Design for Use, Oxigen Services, IIT Roorkee Heritage Fund etc.
Fantastic. Do you have any thoughts for the future of Indian Tech Entrepreneurs or other concepts you wish to ignite?
It has been only a year that Aarambh was founded. We believe failing and learning is a continuous process. Aarambh also, is a startup and has been on experimenting and learning path. We think that it would be very early for us to comment on this. But certainly there is huge scope for learning and innovations.
Thanks Mr. Siddhartha for your precious time.