Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), the apex organization of the Kerala Government for supporting startups, and Zone Startups India have jointly launched a first-of-its-kind initiative in the state to accelerate start ups in the revenue stage.
Christened the “Kerala Accelerator Programme”, it will help the startups to achieve the right product-market fit through a curated customer validation process.
The structured three-month virtual accelerator programme commencing on February 5 comprises a mix of live and virtual mentoring sessions, including visits by mentors to Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi to interact with the participants. There will be weekly reviews, customer interactions and an end-of-program demo day with investors.
Selected start ups will also be provided a week-long residential programme — travel and accommodation included — in Bangalore and Mumbai from February 12 to 16.
Interested startups, which have already launched their products, can apply here by January 18. The programme fee is Rs 1,00,000 and Kerala-based founders can get 90% scholarship from the KSUM.
Dr. Saji Gopinath, CEO, KSUM said: “Exposure is a key challenge for startups from Kerala. We hope this accelerator programme to bridge this challenge and ensure that start ups attain product market fit and growth faster. Programmes like these will help the founders to keep pace with the start up ecosystems in Bangalore and Mumbai.”
Zone Startups is the global brand of early stage tech accelerators and venture funds operated by Toronto-based Ryerson Futures Inc. Zone Startup India has been set-up as a joint-venture of Ryerson Futures Inc., BSE Institute Limited, Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, B.C) and the Department of Science and Technology (Government of India). Startups supported by Zone Startups India have raised more than 45 million USD as funding and created more than 900 jobs.
Ajay Ramasubramaniam, Director, Zone Startups India, said it was their first direct engagement with a state government in India. “A lot of promising hardware and software start ups emerge from Kerala. So, the ecosystem of entrepreneurs has been in place for a while now. Start ups in such markets lack the exposure to the ecosystems of potential customers, investors and peer entrepreneurs that larger hubs of Mumbai and Bangalore offer,” he pointed out.