With the plan to prepare entrepreneurs for anything that comes their way and learn from others’ mistakes, Accel India has announced the launch of Founder Stack.
In a Medium post, Avinash Raghava of Accel India wrote that the aim of Founder Stack is to exclusively help early-stage founders gain knowledge and clarity to build their startups. They can do this with the help of Accel India and its network of over 140 portfolio companies — without diluting any equity.
Raghava said that the first cohort is focused on Software as a Service (SaaS) startups, calling it Founder Stack for SaaS. Raghava said that the cohort is designed as a deeply immersive program for SaaS founders to spend most of their time focusing on gaining knowledge and clarity on their market, revenue opportunities, and long term plans without having to worry about infrastructure, resources, and knowledge.
The crux of the programme is to enable founders to learn from the journey of SaaS companies, venture funds, board members and others in the fast-evolving ecosystem. The investor group wants to bring its knowledge and exposure to pre-venture funding and pre-product-market fit stages of a startup with the help of founders, experts, practitioners in SaaS.
Why Founder Stack?
Raghava explained that SaaS is a $400 Bn global opportunity and the team believes that Indian founders have a great potential to tap this opportunity to build large SaaS startups from India.
“There is access to capital for good ideas, but there is a knowledge and exposure gap on how to build large venture backable SaaS companies. We meet extraordinary founders who are building startups, putting in a lot of effort. Their intent is in the right place but they face challenges in addressing the right market, getting the idea to a product-market fit (PMF), and identifying distribution channels for growth,” Raghava said.
Accel says that SaaS is its forte and it wants to help many founders with its decade of expertise.
What Is Founder Stack?
Founder Stack is a 10-week programme for early-stage SaaS startups to learn from the ecosystem biggies without losing out on the equity. For 10-weeks, every Thursday, the investor will host master sessions, roundtables and 1–1’s at Accel Launchpad building in Bengaluru.
The programme also provides infrastructure access to working space at Accel Launchpad (Koramangala), a financial grant of INR 1.5 Lakh as an allowance, compliance support, exclusive deals, special cloud support and more to build the business.
The coaches include Arvind Parthiban and Girish Mathrubootham from Freshworks, Krish Subramanian from ChargeBee, Shekhar Kirani, Anand Daniel etc from the Accel team and more.
Accel India: The Increasing Portfolio
Accel entered India in 2008 with the acquisition of Erasmic Venture Fund and has since backed hundreds of companies like BookMyShow, BlackBuck, BlueStone, Flipkart, FreshDesk, Portea, Power2SME, Swiggy, Urban Company (earlier UrbanClap), among others.
In 2016, Accel had closed its $450 Mn fund through which it invested in ecommerce giant Flipkart and food aggregator Swiggy. The firm continued backing Flipkart until Walmart acquired 77% of the company in May 2018, and eventually increased its stake to 81.3%, giving Accel India a successful exit from the Indian ecommerce giant.
Apart from this, Accel has also the first investor in SaaS unicorn Freshworks. In December 2019, Accel announced the final close of its $550 Mn India-focussed fund, saying it would exclusively focus on seed and early-stage Indian startups. This is Accel’s sixth India-focussed fund.