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The Indian startup landscape is teeming with talent, however, not every idea gets its time in the sun. According to data from Startup India, India has one of the top 3 startup ecosystems in the world, with over 1,12,718 DPIIT-recognized startups spread across 763 districts. However, the majority of Indian startups fail very early on because of a lack of market knowledge, effective mentorship, networking access, founder burnout, team-building challenges, fundraising opportunities, essential business knowledge, and an unsuitable business model.

This is why it’s significant when bigger organizations step in to invest in budding startup ideas.

A Pioneering Initiative for Early-Stage Space Startups

Recognizing the rising interest in space exploration among young entrepreneurs, in June, the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) launched the Pre-Incubation Entrepreneurship (PIE) Development Program, a pioneering initiative designed to support and nurture early-stage space startups. The 21-month program will guide aspiring entrepreneurs through a comprehensive journey divided into distinct phases of ideation, innovation, and prototype development.

Dr. Pawan Goenka, Chairman of IN-SPACe, said, “India’s space sector is poised for exponential growth, and young entrepreneurs are crucial to driving this expansion. The PIE program will provide them with a launchpad, equipping them not only with technical expertise but also with the business acumen needed to navigate the complexities of the space industry. The early-stage support will help to unlock the potential of innovative minds and contribute to India’s leadership in the global space industry.”

As per guidelines of the program, applicants must be Indian citizens graduating in 2024 or already graduates, they should not have received any grants, funding, or monetary support from private or government schemes and all submissions must be original work to qualify for this program. Startups registered with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) on or after July 1, 2022, are classified as early-stage startups.

This program will target students in technical courses or those with a strong interest in space technology, expected to graduate in 2024, or pursuing Master’s or Doctorate programs and early-stage start-ups focusing on space technologies and aiming to develop entrepreneurial ventures.

Exclusive Startup Branch

In June, Indian Overseas Bank inaugurated a new, exclusive branch dedicated entirely to startups in Chennai. IOB ‘s dedicated startup branch offers a comprehensive suite of financial products and services.

MD & CEO of Indian Overseas Bank, Ajay Kumar Srivastava said, “Start-ups are the cornerstone of innovation and job creation in our economy. By establishing this dedicated branch, IOB aims to remove financial obstacles and empower entrepreneurs to bring their visions to fruition. Additionally, this branch will enhance our MSME portfolio, which is a vital focus area for the bank and the country.”

Leveraging its location advantage startup branch has entered into MoU with many premier institutes in Chennai. These partnerships will enable the branch to reach out to recognized startups, assisting them with the financial aspects of their ventures. This marks the launch of IOB’s first exclusive startup branch with plans for five more branches in different locations nationwide.

Singapore Based Startup School in India

Singapore based LaunchPilot – a startup school for first-time entrepreneurs and working professionals, has announced its entry into India. 

Sarvesh Tusnial, Co-Founder LaunchPilot commented,” Entrepreneurship has the potential to impact so many lives, and yet so many founders face difficulties in executing ideas because people can think of ideas but fail to execute them effectively.”

LaunchPilot has collaborations with several respected academic institutions and communities, including NUS Singapore, NTU Singapore, IIM Bodhgaya, Eden Academy, RemoteYear among others, to support gig economy training and assist student entrepreneurs. Realizing the problems faced by founders in their 0-1 journey,  through these collaborations, Launchpilot expanded its offerings with its Startup School initiative to help folks learn-build-scale ideas. 

Singapore Network Launches INR100 Crore Maiden India Fund

In May, Singapore-based angel investment network, ThinKuvate launched their first India focused Fund – ThinKuvate India Fund – I with a total corpus of Rs100 crore. The India Fund will look to invest in tech startups across sectors with an initial amount of up to Rs 3 crore. ThinKuvate aims to invest in 12 – 15 startups every year through this Fund. The Fund launch will also be announced through investor roadshows across cities in a phased manner. In the first phase, ThinKuvate team will be rolling out the fund in key cities like Nagpur, Raipur, Bangalore and Chennai, with an aim to tap into emerging startup hubs in India along with established centres.

ThinKuvate has received the Sebi approval to launch this AIF CAT 1 Fund in India. With an investor base of nearly 200, the fund expects to reach its first close within this quarter. The fund is founded by Nagpur University alumni Ghanshyam Ahuja, Ritesh Toshniwal and Vikas Saxena. The Fund has also expanded its core team with Mayank Jain joining ThinKuvate as CEO of the fund.

Notably, ThinKuvate has completed two exits thus far, with one portfolio company listing on the Australian Stock Exchange. Nearly 40% of their portfolio have secured follow-on rounds.

The Fund expects to start deploying capital from the next quarter. Addison Appu, Partner, ThinKuvate, says, “The surge in digital adoption, conducive policy environment, has led to emergence of products and technologies from India with a “glocal” approach, blending global perspectives with local relevance. Drawing from our experience in mentoring and advising startups, we recognize the potential to extend the India playbook to Southeast Asia.”

VIP Program to Scale Up Ecommerce Network of 14 Lakh Rural Merchants

Spice Money (a subsidiary of DiGiSPICE Technologies), an Indian rural fintech launched its VIP Program, designed to provide a four-fold exclusive benefit package to its network of 14 lakh Adhikaris (merchants).

This program is tailored to enhance their experience and drive growth in their businesses and is designed to offer premium benefits, personalized assistance, and exclusive earning opportunities, ensuring that high-transacting Adhikaris receive exceptional service, support, and priority attention. The aim is to earn the loyalty of Adhikaris, ensuring their commitment to the Spice Money platform through exclusive benefits and additional earning opportunities.

Dilip Modi, Founder & CEO, Spice Money, said, “This initiative provides them with a clear pathway to increased earnings and superior services, aligning with our mission of fostering financial inclusion and empowerment in emerging India.”

Kuldeep Pawar, Chief Marketing Officer, Spice Money, said, “This program not only recognizes the exceptional performance of our top Adhikaris and rewards it but also enhances their experience with exclusive benefits and personalized services.”

Adhikari’s enrolled in the VIP Program will enjoy additional commissions on core products such as Aadhar-based withdrawals AePs, DMT, and financial services products like opening of CASA and consumer loan products. The program also offers discounts on hardware, including the change of biometric devices as per UIDAI guidelines as an industry-wide change in the ecosystem, leading to a reduction in fraud. It also includes personal benefits such as insurance and scholarships for Adhikari’s children.

Adhikaris can choose from three levels of subscription plans, Basic, Advance and VIP plans starting at Rs. 199 as an introductory monthly price, tailored to meet varying needs and preferences.


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