Global diversity-focused startup incubator Encubay is looking for 30 women-led tech startups with a scalable model to be a part of its first cohort in India. Encubay founder Deeksha Ahuja has highlighted that the six-months-long programme will be sector agnostic and is open to businesses in ideation stage or execution stages.
The incubator’s founding team consists of fintech investment company Greenhouse Capital Africa, 91springboard’s Eashita Maheshwary, Alpha MD’s Rakesh Chavan and Prophetic Ventures’ Jehan Karanjia, along with Ahuja. Ahuja has previously founded Collaborat-her, cofounded teachers network Cedarwood and MadeByHer. Entrepreneurial community F6S, which hosts over 3.5 million entrepreneurs, has also stepped in with its benefits and platforms to support Encubay.
The incubator will offer intensive and in-depth virtual learning programmes, mentorship sessions from industry experts, and one-to-one sessions to select 30 women-led startups. Encubay aims to help women entrepreneurs graduate their initial product or idea into an investment-ready business. Besides these, select companies will also gain pre-seed capital to grow their business.
The incubatees will further gain access to more than 300 value partners in the network who will provide access to tools, technologies and services to enhance their business operations. The applications for the same are open till August 30, 2020. In an interaction with Inc42, Ahuja mentioned that the Encubay may consider expanding their first cohort in case they receive more than 100-150 applications.
She believes that the platform will help women entrepreneurs not only build a stronger network needed in the initial stages of business but also help them build a plan to scale their businesses. It will also help these entrepreneurs build proprietary material or content.
“The incubator is like a platform that is bringing everything together. It is giving them access to the network that they don’t have at the moment, but they need to grow up. They are getting mentorship from some of the best industry experts. They are getting access to build proprietary material or content. And of course, the funds are available,” Ahuja said.
She noted that the diversity in the startup ecosystem will also need enthusiastic investors besides trained women entrepreneurs. Therefore, Encubay will act as a platform for investors and venture funds to look for opportunities to invest in the scalable women-led business.
It has also partnered with Artha Ventures, Avishkar Capital, Winslow Capital and others. Though there is an average ticket size in the pre-seed capital between INR 5 to 10 Lakh before the incubation, the select startups can raise more capital after the programme from these investment firms after the completion of the cohort.
Encubay aims to increase the number of women entrepreneurs which currently stands at 14% to a substantial number by facilitating every step of their growth process. “The Encubay program has been designed keeping in mind the complexity of issues that women face while scaling up their ventures. The Greenhouse Capital virtual learning program will help them build a strong foundation in entrepreneurship and the guidance provided by our mentors will help them apply the same in their businesses. Another very important aspect is the networks that will open up for these women entrepreneurs, which are strategic to scaling up,” Ahuja emphasised.
Earlier this year, Mydala founder and former CEO Anisha Singh had launched an early-stage venture capital fund, She Capital, to facilitate fundraising for women entrepreneurs. She Capital especially focuses on Pre-Series A and Series A startups working in the consumer services tech space. For its initial fund, She Capital has decided to invest an average ticket size of INR 3 Cr to INR 5 Cr in 12 to 14 female-led early-stage businesses.
With inputs from Yatti Soni.