Sequoia India’s new accelerator expected to bring ‘Surge’ in India’s early stage startup financing


After Blume and WeWork launched their startup accelerator programmes last year, it seems that India’s largest operating Venture Capital firm has also joined the bandwagon.

Sequoia Capital India is ready to kick off its startup accelerator programme in the country. The platform called Surge will be seeing after accelerating and incubating new entrepreneurial idea.

Surge is expected to receive $100 million over the next three-four years. It will be using this money to pick 10-12 early stage startups twice every year and invest $1.5 million in each of them at the beginning of the batch that is expected to last for around 16 weeks.

The strategy of the firm is to take startups from seed to Series A funding. At then end of the 16-week programme, the accelerator also plans to invite other venture capitalists in an investor meeting for the graduating startups.

The focus of Surge will be on both Indian and Southeast Asian consumer internet, enterprise software, deep tech, fintech, healthtech, cryptocurrency, and direct-to-customer startups.

These startups will be mentored by guest entrepreneurs like Ritesh Agarwal, OYO’s founder, Zomato’s Deepinder Goyal, Go-Jek, Indonesian cab aggregator’s Nadiem Makrim, and Freshwork’s Girish Mathrubootham.

They will also have access to Sequoia’s US-based Advance Management Programme (AMP), which had earlier backed behemoths like Google, WhatsApp, and PayPal.

Sequoia India itself has backed several early-stage startups like Prizm, Citrus Payments, SCIO Health which have now been acquired by other companies. These are few of the 91 investments made by the VC in the past decade.

Due to all these factors, Surge is expected to become India’s largest accelerator programme, that also brings spur in the sluggish Indian market when it comes to financing and guiding early-stage startups.

As per ET’s quote from Bain and Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association research, the number of angel and seed fundings had gone down from 400 in 2015 to 150 in 2018.

It is now foreseen that things will start to shake up again with new players coming in, and creating a push for the growth of early-stage startups. Surge is expected to be instrumental in the same, as it is the part of India’s largest VC.

The entity, however, will be separate from Sequoia’s investment arm and will be run by a separate arm as well, Shailendra Singh, MD at Sequoia Capital India told ET.

Going further, it will be interesting to see how much of the expected ‘Surge’ is brought in by Sequoia’s accelerator in the Indian startup ecosystem.

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