[Startup Bharat] For entrepreneurs in level II-III cities, access to finance is a common challenge. The startup Odisha wants to solve this problem
Keen to make Odisha a leading startup hub, the Odisha government has launched the Startup Odisha initiative, which aims to promote strategic partnerships, investments and policy interventions to create a conducive entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Startup Odisha has now launched Fund-Stack to help Odisha-based startups raise funds and investments, and access mentorship.
Sanjukta Badhai, manager, start-up Odisha, reveals that the initiative, which has more than 1,000 registered startups, aims to help startups become better acquainted with investors through the Fund-Stack platform.
Prior to joining startup Odisha in 2021, Sanjukta held various positions at KIIT-TBI over the past 12 years. As COO at KIITTBI, she led the incubator operations, fund management and mentoring processes of startups, ensuring quality deliverables. During her tenure, she helped position the incubator as one of the best in the country.
Sanjukta previously worked with NCERT, New Delhi, and WNS, India office. She is a doctoral candidate at Ravenshaw University, Cuttack, and obtained her Masters and Masters in Life Sciences from Sambalpur University.
In conversation with Your story, Sanjukta explains what Fund-Stack aims to do, how startups can benefit from the program and their plans for the future.
Edited excerpts from the interview:
YourStory (YS): Tell us about Fund-Stack. What is the idea behind this?
Sanjukta Badhai (SB): Fund-Stack aims to connect investors with startups seeking to raise funds to develop and develop their businesses.
The startup Odisha has more than 1,000 registered startups and the Fund-Stack platform will offer them an extraordinary opportunity to familiarize themselves with the funding ecosystem and to get an idea of the steps to follow before seeking funds.
Participating startups will receive organized advice on pitch perfection, investor preparation, legal compliance documentation, and other necessary due diligence.
Startups will have the ability to connect and interact with 21 investors from 20 angel networks and VCs.
YS: What are the main goals and what challenges do you aim to solve?
SB: Fund-Stack aims to give a helping hand to every Odisha startup looking to raise funds and grow. Top notch mentorship will also be provided by renowned investment leaders, experts, angel investors and VCs.
All of these sessions will prove to be beneficial in providing essential knowledge about the funding ecosystem and business growth that will help shape a startup and increase its chances of success. Investor feedback is crucial for startups to improve their business models and advance discussions about their funding needs.
YS: How can startups benefit from it?
SB: Fund-Stack provides a platform for several new startups to acquire several skills to develop and grow their businesses.
The sessions will disseminate a wide range of relevant information on how the funding ecosystem works and how a new startup can attract investors.
The startup Odisha plans to attract investors to invest in startups based in Odisha. Besides investment opportunities, such a platform also brings intangible added value to start-ups by opening connections for networking and market access, and by offering strategic and operational advice. These are necessary for startups to achieve accelerated growth.
Startups that can apply must:
- Be registered with Startup Odisha or Startup India
- Have a presence / operations in Odisha
- Have a viable product / service and get early market traction
We are looking for startups interested in raising private funds in the category:
- Seed (up to Rs 25 lakh)
- Pre-series (Rs 1 crore to Rs 3 crore)
- Serie A (Rs 5 crore to Rs 15 crore)
YS: What are the criteria for selecting a startup?
SB: This program includes 21 fundraising knowledge sessions with nearly 21 renowned investors from different angel investor networks and venture capital firms.
Participating startups are required to attend all sessions to learn the art of pitching and understand the basics of investor finance. They should be prepared for the first main pitch before acquiring a platform to connect with the right investors.
YS: What are the key things startups should keep in mind when applying?
SB: Interested startups should prepare a few necessary submissions: an appropriate business plan and a clear description of the idea and its uniqueness (in terms of innovation and commercialization). They should be prepared to undergo due diligence for the shared data and clearly develop their investment structure during the knowledge sessions.
After 21 investor sessions, the 10 best ideas will be selected by Startup Odisha. These will be presented to investors on the last demonstration day in association with Carve Startup Lab and AIC – Nalanda.
YS: What do you get out of this process? Do you have an equity sharing model?
SB: This process will not only provide several investment opportunities for new startups to flourish, but will also improve the economic development of the nation.
Several investors like Indian Angel Network, Unicorn Ventures, Lead Angels, Mumbai Angels, Venture Catalysts, Chennai Angels, Social Alpha, Ekcle Ventures, Modular Capital, Ankur Capital, Orios Ventures, Lets Venture, 100x VC, Bharat Innovation Fund, Inventus Capital India , Ideaspring Capital, Eagle10 Ventures, IvyCap Ventures, Alfa Ventures and Kolkata Ventures participate to invest in a progressive and successful startup, with plans and strategies to conquer the market.
We do not have a share share model at this time, but follow-up agreements with investors will have their own structured models.
YS: What are your future projects?
SB: The future plans of Fund-Stack and Startup Odisha are aligned and focus on the development of innovation and entrepreneurship in the state. A fund of funds of Rs 100 crore has been notified by the Odisha government to strengthen the state’s ecosystem and provide scale-up capital to Odisha-based startups.
This is expected to attract investment from various angel investors and private venture capital firms for Odisha-based startups.
The state currently offers a monthly grant of Rs 20,000 and Rs 15 lakh for product development and marketing to nascent startups. More than 17 incubators have been set up to support startups.