Aiming to nurture and mentor early stage ventures and to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and potential investors, entrepreneurship evangelist and startup mentor Prajakt Raut has announced the launch of his new venture Applyifi.com, a private platform for startups and early-stage companies to create a comprehensive and elegant online investor pitch deck and get funded.
Speaking on the launch, Prajakt Raut said, “We want to make it easier for startups to reach potential investors. Also, we wanted to significantly expand the angel investor community in the country by making it possible for senior professionals, recently successful entrepreneurs and HNIs to discover curated and assessed startups that they can co-invest in.”
Why Platforms Like Applyifi Are Needed
Typically, angel investor groups invest upwards of $500K. However, a number of startups can actually get started with $50K – $100K. Most existing angel investor groups are not able to invest in startups that are raising smaller amounts. Now, here Applyifi comes into picture. Applyifi makes it possible and easier for startups, whose funding needs are smaller than those serviced by angel groups and VCs, to raise capital from a larger base of senior professionals, entrepreneurs and investors.
“Given the small size of the current investor ecosystem, the number of startups that receive funding is very small. In a country like India we need 10,000 angel investors to provide capital for 1000s of aspiring entrepreneurs,” added Prajakt.
Applyifi will provide startups a 36-point scorecard and assessment report, which will help startups understand their strengths and weakness, and provides them actionable inputs to sharpen their business plans.
Startups can share their Applyifi profile with multiple investors or accelerators and incubators, including those not registered on Applyifi. The platform will showcase only curated and verified, high-potential startups to investors.
How Applyifi Is Solving The Problems Faced By Investors and Accelerators
Incubators, Accelerators and even early stage/angel investors, always face problem when they have to shortlist startups, the basic question, arises for them is, “How do I sift through and shortlist from the 1000s of deals that I get through various sources?”
Applyifi will provide them with resources which help them shortlist the startups in a simple manner:
- Investors can filter deals using the Applyifi 36-point scorecard
- Elegant, comprehensive pitch deck will give investors all the information that they seek without the information they do not need
- They just need to Select the shortlisted deals that are vetted by experts, including in-person or Skype interviews for a detailed assessment of the investment worthiness of the venture
- Investors, accelerators and incubators can use customers filters to shortlist as per individual investment thesis.
Although, Applyifi hasn’t started on-boarding institutional investors and accelerators yet., Prajakt told us that, this will be done once they announce 4-5 curated companies that they want to showcase which is expected to be done by the end of this month.
Further, he also said that they will look to expand the investor pool from the current 200 – 300 to 2,000 – 3,000 in 2-3 years in the coming time. “Our goal is to get new investors into the startup eco-system, and hence our efforts will be to make it easier for senior professionals and recently successful entrepreneurs to co-invest in startups,” he added.
In India, LetsVenture is another platform which is trying to bridge this investor and startup gap. In a conversation with Inc42, Prajakt Raut explained us how Applyifi is different from existing platforms:
- Since most entrepreneurs are not aware of what information investors seek, we have made it easier for them by providing a comprehensive form which helps them think through their business, and converts that information into an elegant pitch deck.
- Most investors are not keen to sift through 1000s of profiles. They want to spend quality time on a few startups that are high-potential. Hence, our plan is to feature only curated startups along with a scorecard & assessment report, which investors can refer to to as a base document and then layer it with their own perspective.
- The scorecard and assessment report also provides startups with actionable insights to help improve their business, and investment worthiness.
- Our focus is on smaller deals – startups looking for under INR 1 Cr. – our sweet spot will be deals in the INR 50 Lakh range.
Prajakt Raut has over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur, marketing professional and entrepreneurship evangelist. He is also the founder of The Hub for Startups. He has been mentor to startups on strategy, business model & monetization, fundraising and on preparing the company for growth. He was previously a part of TiE as a Director of Asian region. He also headed operations of the Indian Angel Network, one of the largest angel investor groups in the world.
The initiative like Applyifi.com will definitely nurture and mentor budding startups and help them to grow. Besides, it will also allow investors and accelerators to discover and shortlist the best deal.