As a part of our series Indian Startup Hubs, our focussed city this time in Mumbai, we have already covered some of the awesome growth stage startups, startups that have made the Mumbai city proud and also talked about some of the Mumbai based startups that got acquired.
This time we bring to you comprehensive list of the ecosystem builders of Mumbai startup scene. The article consist of Mentors, angels, investment firms, accelerators etc that are based out in Mumbai, thus make this article a must read for all the entrepreneurs/starup founders who are based out in Mumbai.
An Entrepreneur-turned angel investor, Ajeet Khurana, has been an active angel investor in the Indian startups with a number of investments being done. Few of them include Rolocule Games, ShepHertz, Avaz, Carveniche Technologies, Maximojo, United Mobile Apps, Karmic Lifesciences, Carve Niche Technologies Pvt. Ltd., PickMe eSolutions. He is a graduate from University of Mumbai in Computer Engineering (1987-1991) and has also done an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin in Business (1991-1993). Based out in Mumbai, Ajeet primarily invests in education, ecommerce, software, internet & internet-enabled services and mobile startups. He is known to invest about ten thousand dollars in eight startups every year.
Co-founder and CEO of MAIA Sanjay Mehta, is a well known entrepreneur as well. This is his third venture; his first venture Bespoke Software Consultancy was a successful business in software but later he ventured into various other areas. He also founded app development firm Globalware System & Software Solutions and steel trading exchange firm ispatudyog.com. He is an investor member with Mumbai Angels and VentureNursery. Sanjay is a graduate from Shah & Anchor in Electronics (1988-1993) and is an alumnus of Indian School of Business. Some of his investments include OYO Rooms, PrettySecrets, Klip.in, Talview, Unbxd, OrangeScape, Consure Medical, FabAlley, EcoSense Sustainable Solutions, Poncho.in
IIT Bombay graduate, Zishaan Hayath is a tech entrepreneur from Mumbai and is also a co-founder of Toppr.com which is backed by SAIF Partners and Helion Ventures. He an angel investor in a few Indian startups including Ola, Housing.com and Shopsense and also runs an angel investment group called Powai Lake Ventures. Prior to this, He co-founded Chaupaati (2008), a phone commerce marketplace, that was acquired by FutureBazaar in 2010. Earlier, he worked with management consulting firm Opera Solutions in Delhi and New York and FMCG major ITC Ltd in Bangalore.
Anupam Mittal is the founder and CEO of People Group which owns businesses such as online matrimonial service Shaadi.com, real-estate portal Makaan.com (acquired by PropTiger), Mauj Mobile and produced films like Flavors, An NRI cult-classic and 99, 2009’s biggest Bollywood summer hit. He is a Graduate from Boston College (1994-1997). Known for his business acumen and an eye for detail, Anupam is an active angel investor with over 20 investments done till date, few of them includes, Tushky.com, Olacabs, PrettySecrets, Sapience, Druva Software, Zepo, Peelworks, Taxspanner, Cafe Zoe, Interactive Avenues. In 2014 he invested in around 8-10 startups alone. Industries: Clean Technology, Consumer Internet, Mobile, Healthcare and SaaS.
Samir Bangara is the CEO and Co-founder of Qyuki.com, a platform for artists to create content, connect with similar-minded people and monetize their creations. He started his career in venture capital with IL&FS Venture corporation and moved on to being an investment banker focused on the tech space with Ernst & Young, he also drove several US sell side mandates in the IT services BPO and wireless sector as a Vice President in the M&A team. He joined Indiagames in 2005 as Chief Operating Officer and grew the company which led the sale of the company to The Walt Disney. Samir led the Disney group in India as Managing Director and left it to join Qyuki.com in 2013. He is a graduate from University of Mumbai in Bachelor of Commerce and Finance (1993-1995). The investment banker-turned-entrepreneur is now actively investing in startups with about 20 investment done so far which include tushky.com, Overcart, ZAPR, Pokkt, Playblazer and Thrill.
Anirudh Damani is the owner of Artha Energy Resources which is an advisory firm that is focused on bringing new investment into the renewable power generation industry in India which is responsible for adding over 2 Bn kWh worth of energy. With an experience for over 10 years, he worked and lead notified organizations in the energy sector. In this period, he garnered rich experience in procuring energy customers for 5 of the top 10 retail energy providers (REPs) in the US. He led a team of over 500 sales agents in the deregulated markets of Texas, Illinois, New York, Maryland and Connecticut. After that Anirudh has set up his own consultancy firm for facilitating investments into power projects across geographies and asset classes like wind, solar, hydro and bio-power. He has done his bachelor’s from Austin College in Business Administration (Finance) and Economics. He has made many investments, few of which includes InVenture, OYO Rooms, Mobilewalla, Klip.in, Rolocule Games, Maximojo, purplle.com, BlackBerry, BookMyCab, United Mobile Apps, NowFloats, Graam Vani Community Medi.
Steven Sule is a partner at Naste Advisors, a Mumbai-based advisory firm. Prior to this, he worked as an associate Vice President at Euromax Capital. He started his career as an analyst at Yes Bank and went to London in 2011 where he worked in the same profile but at a larger scale. He graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Finance(2000-2004) and did his post graduation from Cass Business School in Banking & International Finance(2010-2010). Steven has also invested in few startups, these include AdPushup, Kwench Library Solution, POSist, Aureus Analytics.
Dewang Neralla is the Director of Atom Technologies (atom), a Financial Technologies Group Enterprise that is a payments service provider focused on creating an end-to-end payments ecosystem over Internet, IVR, mobile and Point of Sale. He is also the co-founder and Director – Technology of the Financial Technologies (FTIL), a global leader in creating next generation financial markets. His vast experience of more than two decades in transaction technologies and their implementation stands Dewang in good stead to spearhead Atom Technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering Degree in Computer Science and has been a featured speaker at several national and international academic, business, and technology forums as well as at industry events.
Anil Joshi started his career at Century Rayon, B.K. Birla Group Company at shop floor and moved to Sales to head the Branch Office post his MBA. Anil then moved to Business Access India Pvt. Ltd., specializing consulting services to Scandinavian companies from diverse industrial sectors to establish their presence in the Asian markets. After that, he moved to Transasia Biomedical Ltd., India’s largest manufacturer and Exporter of Bio-Medical equipment and Reagents for Medical Diagnostic applications. Prior to joining Mumbai Angels, he was working with the Artheon Group, a diversified Group focusing on Telecom, IT & Energy, heading all new projects and investment in startups. Anil headed the operations at Mumbai Angels and Bangalore Angels, the leading Angel Investment forums in India and was instrumental in closing over 15 deals in Mumbai Angels. He has a bachelors degree of Engineering, PG in Management (Marketing) & PGDBM in Strategic Finance and Control. His professional experience also includes involvement in corporate management functions in medium and large organizations, Investment in startups, Project management, Joint Ventures and business development.
Yezdi Lashkari is currently a Member Advisory Board at Matrimony.com Pvt Ltd. Prior to this, he was a senior business and product leader with 15+ years of experience leading global software businesses and entrepreneurial startups spanning digital entertainment, consumer internet, mobile and cloud infrastructure with operating experience in both India and the US. As for his educational qualification, he completed his B.Tech, then completed his Computer Science & Engineering, he then completed his M.S computer Science. After that he studied in Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he secured his M. S., MIT Media Lab where he focused on intelligent agent research and developed collaborative filtering techniques combining features and user ratings. He is also an investor in PaySimple.
Anand Ladsariya is the CEO and promoter director of Everest Flavours Limited, which is a privately owned company, manufacturer and exporter of Menthol, Peppermint Oil, flavours and fragrances. He is a Graduate, topper and gold medalist from Bombay University and Post Graduate MBA from IIM, Ahmedabad. He is ex-Chairman of CHEMEXCIL, a premium export promotion organisation established by Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India, for promotion of exports. Anand is an active Angel Investor with both Mumbai Angels and Indian Angel Network. He has invested in over 35 startups till date and actively mentors and guides the promoters to reach the next level. Few of his key investments include Onward Mobility, Reverse Logistics Corporation, Exclusively.in, Asiatic Serial Innovation, Talent Bridge, Wild East, No Paper Form, Mobiquest, Algorhythm and Svasti Microfinance.
Nitin Agarwal is the Managing Partner of M/s. N.M. Fashions which is into Manufacturing Textiles for Exports and is also the CEO and Promoter Director of M/s. Devesh Agriexim Pvt. Ltd. a company into Exports of Agri Products. He is a Graduate from Mumbai University and a Chartered Accountant by education. Nitin is very active in the field of investment since last 25 years and has deep exposure to various investments/assets classes like Equity, Real Estate, Venture Funds, Mutual Funds, Debt etc and continuously views options for sound investments with suitable risk return profiles. Currently, he is an active Angel Investor and in last four years invested in more than 30 startups on his own as well as through Mumbai Angels and Indian Angel Network. He also actively mentors and guides the promoters to reach the next level.
Vikram Chachra has about 15 years of investing and operating experience in India, the U.S. and Latin America. He co-founded Eight Capital in 2005 and is a Managing Partner and Chief Operations Officer of the fund. He combines buy side experience with an entrepreneurial track record of building successful global organizations. He started his career as an emerging markets fixed income analyst and trader for Banco Santander’s proprietary trading desk. Thereafter, he complemented his Wall Street experience with organization building and fundraising skills to become a successful entrepreneur in the mobile sector. Vikram has an MBA in finance from the Stern School of Business, New York University.
Soon after finishing his schooling, Vishal started his own company, in fact, at the age of 16. Vishal is an entrepreneur and angel investor and also the founder and CEO of GOQii (pronounced Go-Key). He previously founded the game development and publishing company Indiagames, which had over 120 employees and is an award winning multi-platform games company and sold it UTV Digital, The Walt Disney Company India Pvt. Ltd. in 2011 for $100 Mn. Prior to that, in 2008, Vishal launched Sweat and Blood Venture group to invest in startups at a seed level. The organization has invested in Instablogs and Docsuggest, among others. Vishal is a frequent speaker at gaming and wireless technology conferences.
Haresh Chawla is the Group CEO of Network18. Over the last decade, Haresh has been instrumental in driving the group’s entry into new segments and creation of multiple market leading brand franchises. Under his leadership, the group’s revenues have grown almost 100 fold to over $600 Mn. Haresh in an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta and is an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai. He is now partner at India Value Fund, and mentors several start-ups.
Amit Patni is a promoter shareholder of Patni Computers and former Director of PCS Technology Ltd. Amit holds a MBA from Babson College, Boston, USA and 22 years’ of extensive experience in technology, software and projects. He has extensive experience in the computer hardware and components market in India and overseas. In his various roles, Amit has independently ensured implementation of Greenfield projects and launched new business operations. Currently he is Founder & Director of RAAY Global Investments (Family Office), Co-founder & Chairman at Nirvana Venture Advisors (40 Mn USD Digital & Internet Venture Fund), Co-founder and Partner in Elysium Investment Advisors (A Hedge Fund) and Co-Founder and Partner in The Hive-India (A Big Data incubator), and Director at Waterfield Advisors ( A Boutique Family Business Advisory Services Firm).
Arihant Patni began his career at his family business, Patni Computer Systems, one of the leading Indian IT businesses of the time. He is now a financial advisor and venture capitalist with extensive experience in diverse areas such as IT services/infrastructure, business development/marketing and wealth management. Currently, Arihant is the Managing Director of Patni Financial Advisors, a wealth management company, and Hive Technologies, a platform that invests in data analytics and data science (‘Big Data’) companies. He is also Co-Founder and on the Board of Directors of Nirvana Venture Advisors, a venture capital fund with focus on the internet space. Arihant received his Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Chemical Engineering. He continued his education at Babson College, where he received his Masters of Business Administration (Magna Cum Laude), with a concentration in entrepreneurship. He then received a separate Masters Degree in Statistics from Columbia University.
Bharat Banka is the founding CEO and Senior President at the Aditya Birla Group, he had set up Aditya Birla PE (ABPE) in 2009 by building team and raising $200 Mn in domestic funds. Diverse experience in business, strategy, principal investing, M&A, post-merger integration, capital markets & CXO-level roles brings unique value-creation abilities, commercial acumen for portfolio companies and strong team management skills. He is mentor/investor in early-stage startups and mentoring entrepreneurs through Indian Angel Network (IAN) and as Charter Angel at Venture Nursery (VN) and The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE). His selected startups include IHO (acquired by Aetna, US), OYO Rooms, Perpetuiiti Tech, Invenzone, Interview Master, HotelsAroundYou, Vegayan Systems, AdStringo, Vividha, Jugular Social, etc. Most of them have raised next series of funding.
Entrepreneur since 1998, Siddharth Rao is a proud founder of a couple of really spectacular internet businesses in India, he also the founder of WebChutney. He is also an investor in ScoopWhoop, LocalOye among others.
Abhijeet Kumar has consulted in both business and technical capacities, with the extensive experience working directly and indirectly for various functional domains. Abhijeet has the ability to evaluate ventures across the board and help entrepreneurs with intelligent cost planning through optimisation of systems, processes and networks, as well as creating and achieving targets. With his wide network of professionals from various verticals like operations, finance, accounting, and marketing, he is not only able to help stem temporary gaps, but also generate business. With a B.Tech from IIT Mumbai, he has worked with Deloitte Consulting as an Associate Consultant before moving on to found his own company, Pronto Infotech, in the ITES space. Hereafter struggle in the last 6 years, has created a successful venture with a multi-crore revenue stream, worked with numerous clients across industries and in various functional domains including Tax, Retail, HR, ECommerce, Web, Supply Chain, Technology, Banking and others.
Anirudh Patni is a second generation entrepreneur and investor with significant leadership and business building experience. He is currently executive director of Patni Holdings, L.L.C., and a director of Patni Technologies (P) Ltd. and iSolutions, Inc. Prior to this, Anirudh was Senior Vice President for Strategy and Corporate Development at Patni Computer Systems (NYSE: PTI), where he also built key businesses and led several acquisitions. Before that he was an Engagement Manager with McKinsey & Company in New York. Anirudh has a Masters of Business Administration in Finance, Strategy and Entrepreneurial Management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and S.B. Degrees in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Management Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Dr. Aniruddha Malpani is a consultant IVF specialist and practices with his wife, Dr. Anjali Malpani in Mumbai, India. He did his MD from Bombay University, and has won over 20 gold medals in his academic career. They run one of India’s leading IVF clinics, Malpani Infertility Clinic which provides comprehensive services, including IVF, ICSI and egg donation. Over 2000 babies have been born all over the world as a result of their treatment. They have also founded HELP, the Health Education Library for People, which is India’s first Consumer Health Education Resource Center and the world’s largest consumer library. He is a fervent believer in Information Technology; and using the internet to empower patients. He has authored 3 books – How to Have a Baby; How to Get the Best Medical Care; and Successful Medical Practice. He is also an investor in Primaseller.
Gautam Shewakramani is a co-founder of Ras Maestros, a technology startup in the handheld multimedia guide business. His family business interests include Primary Cuisine Pvt. Ltd., owners of a pan-India quick service restaurant chain, and the Ras Group of Hotels, owner and operator of over 200 hotel rooms at Ras Resorts, Silvassa, Hotel Rosewood, Mumbai, and Hotel Rajdoot, Mumbai. Prior to this, he worked at Deloitte Consulting LLP in their strategy and operations group, where he worked with several private equity firms assisting with strategic and business due diligence for potential acquisitions. Gautam holds a Bachelor of Science from the College of Engineering, University of Notre Dame where he double majored in Computer Science and Film, and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. He works closely with the executive committee of the Cathedral and John Connon Alumni Association, is Chairman of the Alumni Schools Committee for the University of Notre Dame, and actively mentors & sponsors MIT Sloan student teams pursuing entrepreneurship courses and field-studies in Asia.
Gita Nayyar is a finance professional with 26 years of leadership experience with MNC banks (UK and India) and Venture Capital Funds. She is an extensive cross-functional expertise in Corporate banking, Investment banking, Wealth management, Fund raising, and Risk management. Gita works closely with senior managements in diverse client segments including Start Ups, SMEs, Multinationals, large domestic Companies and Financial Institutions. She is a seasoned advisor, with experience in guiding Venture Capital Fund, large NGOs and HNIs. Currently she is serving as, an Independent Director on the board of three companies, on the Advisory Committee of a large NGO, Senior Advisor to a fund and a Board Observer for a fast growing e-tailing company.
Hiren Asudani is a result oriented leader and capable of producing immediate and significant contributions in revenue generation, business operations and strategic objectives. He has a valuable experience and achievements across a range of industry verticals spanning Mobile Telecom VAS, Direct Marketing, Internet solutions & business consulting, IT Enabled Services and Industrial Engineering. He is a passionate business coach, active advisor, mentor and technology evangelist. His aim is to develop new age technology-based consumer centric, scalable business models. He also has vast knowledge on strategy conceptualizing and executing business plans to monetize revenue streams. He loves guiding teams, building marketing campaigns and distribution channels. Hiren can also negotiate revenue-share deals, structuring agreements & key business alliances.
Jiten Apte, currently CEO of Wizarth Advisors Pvt. Ltd., is an entrepreneur active in the area of optimization of energy generation and storage, and also a co-founder of igrenEnergi Inc. The products are targeted at Solar, Smart-Grid/Homes/Cities, Electric Vehicles and other applications. In the past he has founded and exited companies in Corporate Finance Advisory, IT-Services, and Data Networking products. He is also also an angel investor, having invested in companies numerous areas, including in Clean Tech, Online Music, Distance Learning, Enterprise PaaS, Networking Software, Web-design, Internet Infrastructure, Consumer Health, etc. His educational qualifications include B.Tech. (IIT-B), Ph.D. (Duke Univ) and Ex.MBA (Wharton).
Karan Maheshwari currently serves as an Advisor to the Government of Bhutan & Supreme Education Council of Qatar. He has over 6 years of consulting experience as a McKinsey consultant advising clients especially in the education, health care & rehabilitation sector. He manages the Angel investments of Maheshwari Investor’s Private Ltd and has overseen 6 investments in Angel companies and 2 exits. Karan is the co founder of 2 start-ups in the education space, Ignite Education & Saffron Education. He is a Duke graduate with degrees in Comparative Economics & Markets and Management.
Manish Mahendra Choksi serves as the President of Home Improvement, IT & Supply Chain at Asian Paints Ltd and served as its Chief Information Officer and Chief Corporate Strategy. Manish served as Vice President of Strategic Planning and Information Technology of Asian Paints Ltd. and has made significant contribution in achieving Asian Paints’ growth plans, more particularly in the critical areas of implementation of Supply Chain Management solution as well as the Enterprise Resource Planning software and demonstrated maturity and foresight in identifying opportunities and guiding its e-business initiatives. Manish holds a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from the University of Houston (USA), a Masters of Business Administration with specialization in Entrepreneurial Management and a MIS from the same University.
Manish Dalal is a seasoned technology executive with over 20 years of experience in the Internet and mobile space at leading companies like Yahoo, Motorola, and Verisign, both in the US and in Asia. He has held numerous engineering, product, and business leadership positions at these companies. He has also spent several years in strategy consulting at PRTM Consulting advising CxO’s at Qualcomm, Cisco, Seagate, Qwest Wireless, etc. Manish is also an active early stage investor and has invested in several innovative startups in the mobile and consumer Internet space through Mumbai Angels, as well as an active mentor with several incubators including GSF Accelerator and Microsoft Accelerator. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology, a Master’s in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago.
Nandini has a 13 years of experience across Investment Banking, Media and Education industries and has worked for 5+ years with J.P.Morgan in India in leadership positions in the Investment Banking research group. In her role, she was a part of the senior management team responsible for a 120-member team involved in preparing client pitches, focusing, amongst others, on valuations for Mergers & Acquisitions, IPOs and debt capital raising. Prior to J.P.Morgan, Nandini has worked for over 5 years with the Times of India Group. As a part of the Mumbai Angels Network, Nandini interested in investing in startups who have been able to demonstrate proof of concept and are looking to scale up with the next round of funding. She is also keen to actively participate in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, through her work experience and network. Nandini holds a professional degree as a Chartered Financial Analyst.
Paresh Kariya is a Chartered Accountant and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India since 1996. He has 10 years of rich experience in the Financial Markets, Wealth Management and Advisory services and has a proven track record of managing multiple assets locally and internationally. He is also a co-founder and Director of Aargus Advisors Pvt Ltd which is a multi-family office and has a host of other financial and wealth management services under it. He is an ardent finance professional who is well versed in tax laws, commercial laws, company law, accounting and auditing standards and management consultancy which can thus help in providing a wide spectrum of services to clientele of the company. He is an Active member of many elite clubs for IFAs formed by various Asset Management Companies like HSBC, ICICI, Franklin Templeton, Kotak, Fidelity and Reliance.
Pravin Gandhi has over 35 years of operational and entrepreneurial experience in the IT sector in India, and is a founding partner at Seedfund. With over 10 years of investing experience, he is extensively networked in the Indian investment and entrepreneurial scene and is an active private equity investor in the technology sector. He is on the board of Avendus, Kale & Microland as an independent. He was also the Key Sponsor and General Partner of Infinity Venture Fund, the most successful early stage fund out of India, and has a record of 2 investment exits at 10x+ and a few at 3-5x+. He has funded and exited three technology companies in Singapore and India at 2-8x. Pravin holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Cornell University, and serves on the board of several public and private corporations in India. He was the President and is currently the Trustee of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), Mumbai, as well as on the board of SINE, the IIT (Bombay) incubator. At I3N, Pravin has invested in rural skill training enterprise Head Held High.
Rushabh Gala is the co-founder and director of Aargus Advisors Pvt. Ltd (www.aargus.in) which is a multi Family Office and has a host of other financial and wealth management services under its belt. He holds a Bachelor Of Engineering degree with specialization in Information Technology and has done his Masters in Business Administration specializing in Finance. He has vast experience in a broad spectrum of financial services and Information Technology sectors in India and has previously worked with organizations like Patni Computer Systems, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and KPMG before starting Aargus. Apart from investments in a Nadar owned bank namely Tamilnad Mercantile Bank, a Maharashtra based bank called Ratnakar Bank, an adult diaper company called Nobel Hygine and a few interesting companies in the clean tech space, he has also invested in the early stage start-up companies.
Somak Ghosh is the Founder and Managing Partner at Contrarian Drishti Partners. Prior to this, Somak had been a Co-Chief Executive Officer at Motilal Oswal Private Equity Advisors Private Limited since September 10, 2012 until April 2013. Previously, he was a Co-Founder of Yes Bank Limited and served as its Group President of Development & Government Banking at and served as an Executive Officer of Corporate and Institutional Banking. He is a Director of Aye Finance Pvt Ltd. as well as a Director of Rabo India Finance Private Limited. He has 20 years of experience and is an Advanced Leadership Fellow 2011 from Harvard and holds an M.B.A. in Finance from the Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), Delhi and B.E. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Mumbai.
Suneel Bandhu is an ex COO of Indian wireless carrier Tata TeleServices and is a member of Mumbai Angels. Suneel is an MBA from FMS, Delhi and an Electronics Engineer from Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani. He also has a P&L leadership role in consumer and enterprise markets since last 7 years, with high performance track record spurred by innovative approach and drive for excellence. He has a vast experience in managing Operations, Strategic Planning and Project Management and an extensive exposure to start-up environments. Suneel has also worked with Tata Group across its businesses for over 15 years in a current career span of 24 years.
Taha Nabee is the Co-founder and Vice President of Beaute Boutique, a mass market beauty retail business with licenses to a number of brands that are positioned to target Indian Consumers with an international offering. Taha also co-founded Aromafume an online-offline hybrid model for a line of home fragrance products, including but not limited to incense and other aromatics. Family owned firm Aromatan Cosmetics previously owned the license to the Yardley of London brand and is focused on the health and beauty categories within FMCG. Taha is a young entrepreneur, and ran a college dorm room business alongside varsity squash while pursuing his Bachelor of Arts from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Several attempts to scale this business nurtured a passion to invest in scalable early stage ventures. He has invested in a number of start-ups, and is on the Board of Directors of PickMe E-solutions Pvt Ltd, and operates in an advisory capacity with several other start-ups in the consumer and technology spaces. Taha is extremely passionate about real estate, consumer-technology and the thriving early stage venture ecosystem in India.
Tarana Lalwani has a 16-years of experience in finance, corporate advisory, and business development. She started her career in New York with Morgan Stanley, followed by joining Radian, a financial services firm, in their structured finance group. In 2006, Tarana managed fund raising activities at Webaroo (SMS Gupshup), a mobile internet start-up at IIT Mumbai, a boutique private equity firm, where she acquired a better understanding of the investing and deal management environment in India and Asia. Tarana is actively involved in the angel and early stage space and was actively involved at Mumbai Angels, screening and closing transactions for the forum. At Seedfund, Tarana evaluates and mentors early stage companies. She also works closely with the portfolio companies to help them get to the next level. She holds an undergraduate degree in accounting from LaSalle University, and an MBA from Columbia Business School, USA.
People including Ajay Hattangdi, Siddharth Ladsariya, Ajay Pandey, Nikunj Shah, Pratik Singhi, Ravi Kiran, Rishi Bhasin, Varun Pardiwala, Vijay Talreja, Vivek Jhangiani are also active as an angel investor in Mumbai.
Anand Jain is currently the Co-Founder of WizRocket Technologies. Previously, he was the founding CTO of burrp.com, India’s largest local reviews and recommendations platform out of Mumbai, India. burrp.com was acquired in 2009 by the publicly traded yellow pages company, Infomedia 18 Ltd (now merged with Network 18). Prior to burrp.com, Anand was based out of the US (Seattle and San Francisco) where he has worked with Motorola, AT&T and a mobile startup – Brience. He has more than 20 years of hands-on experience architecting and building software and is a management professional with significant experience leading engineering, design, quality and IT teams.
Ankit Utreja serves as the Chief Technology Officer of WebEngage. Ex-burrp and ex-TCS, Ankit has 11 years of solid technology experience and is known as a database guru. Ankit is developer and claims to be in love with MongoDB (one of many cross-platform document-oriented databases). Also, he is the Architect of the tech stack.
Avlesh Singh is the co-founder and ceo of Webklipper Technologies, the company behind WebEngage. Prior to starting up with Webklipper, he engineered two successful Indian startups – burrp! and Onyomo. Avlesh was also the founding team member at burrp! and post its acquisition in 2009, he had an year long stint with Infomedia18, the acquiring company, where he lead a team to build an online yellow pages product called Askme. He is a 2005 batch Mineral Engineering (read Metallurgical Engineering) graduate from ISM, Dhanbad by degree, one can also refer to him as a psuedo IIT-ian (as the college admits via IIT-JEE).
Aakrit Vaish is a technology entrepreneur and investor, currently CEO at Haptik, a company in the mobile customer support space he co-founded in Fall 2013. Before, he was an early hire at Flurry where he founded the business operations team, later he founded the company’s India office and grew the team to 10. Aakrit also invests in startups in India in the areas of ad tech, SaaS and mobile and is the Co-Founder and Lead Investor in Flat.to, a real estate marketplace for college students and bachelors. He actively advises companies on mobile strategy and is a frequent speaker at industry events, particularly on emerging markets. Prior to Flurry, Aakrit was at Deloitte Consulting working on large scale technology implementations. He got a BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Nischal Shetty is a software developer with a good experience building web applications. He built http://www.justunfollow.com which was profiled on techcrunch and is currently being used by over 10 Mn users. He started his career as a programmer and is now learning the nitty gritties of building and managing a fast growing startup. Prior to building Crowdfire, Nischal was part of the core development team at burrp.com, the biggest restaurant review site in India that was acquired by Network 18.
V C Karthic is the Founder of VoucherKarma and is a successful first generation entrepreneur. VoucherKarma is an online service that monetizes your airline & retail vouchers. Highlight of his current venture includes getting better valuation for a less than 6 month startup than he got for a 10 year old company from Investors. Before VoucherKarma, he founded Buzzworks, which offers contracted payroll & contact centre technology services for clients pan India in the BFSI & telecom spaces. His mission is to be the best in the business and create relationships between brands and consumers that are long term, relevant and profitabe. Currently, he has also started a small BPO that serves SME customers in the GCC/North American region for their outsourced HR, accounts & IT support needs. He has done his Bachelor of Business Administration from Annamalai University.
Akancha Srivastava is the founder of Azure (www.azureonline.net) – a strategic Brand Consulting Firm based out of Mumbai. She is an incurable entrepreneur, dreamer, writer, traveler and an eternal optimist. Her journey of about 11 years as an entrepreneur is an interesting tale of hard work and great relationships. She plays an active role in mentoring and conducting leadership excellence programs for several large organizations. Akancha carries diverse industry and product knowledge with an entrepreneurial experience of almost a decade and has worked with some of the largest global Brands from across different industries. She has successfully handled market entry for many new products across categories and geographies as well as devised solutions for organizations and managed their implementations for globally placed teams.
Jasmeet Gandhi has a 15 years experience in digital and mobile product development and marketing. He is specialized in creating consumer services that help empower mobile users across the spectrum. As the Head of Software and Services (GTM) at Nokia, he has helped create consumer services and applications for mobile users in India and have worked with Indian and global teams across various functions. Having been a part of a start-up team, Jasmeet has a good understanding of the dynamics and requirements of one. He also understands better the nuances of enterprise mobility, as he has participated in and managed, ‘Enterprise Mobility Services & Solutions – A group driven by Nokia India.’ He has completed his MMM, Marketing from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies.
Shiladitya Mukhopadhyaya is a graduate of University of Mumbai and is the Founder of Pointshelf, a mobile first loyalty and payments app. He also Co-Founded Rasilant Technologies Pvt. Ltd. in 2005 right out of college and served as a Chief Technology Officer. Rasilant focusses on automated identification solutions using RFID technology in India and is now providing cloud based IOT solutions for Smart Cities. He is a Director on the board and oversees the technology division at Rasilant while also serving on the board of Hipcask, an app he co-founded that helps users discover and order wines, spirits and beers from certified partners in the locality.
Annkur Agarwal is the co-founder of PriceBaba. He has been a retailer for over 10 years now, seeing the high and low of both online and offline retail. Previously he founded OnlyGizmos Network in 2007, which served over 25M gadget lovers with the latest in technology. Annkur also lead HeadStart’s Startup Saturday across 12 cities In India until recently & helped kickstart Startup Weekends in India. Annkur has been an active volunteer in the Mumbai ecosystem with community events like Blogcamps & Barcamps.
Kanchan Kumar is a techie turned salesman turned entrepreneur and co-founder of Remitr – brings strong consumer focus and solid technology to make cross border money transfer simple. He also Founder of Fluous.com (Enterprise payroll software company in 2002), Co-founder of Emportant.com (India’s first cloud based comprehensive suite of HR & Payroll software) and Co-founder of TiEBootcamp. He was also the Executive Director of TiE Mumbai for 2011-2013, worlds largest non-profit network of entrepreneurs. He is currently working with technology / product startups in Mumbai as their friend and sounding board.
It is to be noted that the above mentioned angels and investors are also involved actively in mentoring startups.
Accelerators and Incubators
Zone Startups is an international footprint of Toronto-based Ryerson Futures Inc. Zone Startups/India is a collaboration between BSE Institute (a subsidiary of the Bombay Stock Exchange), Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (incubator) and Ryerson Futures Inc. The accelerator is located in the Bombay Stock Exchange tower in Mumbai, and currently has over 55 desk and houses 43 startups. Zone Startups offer State of the art work space, Mentorship – Functional, Business Experts & Industry Panel, Market Development & Business Development Support, Networking & Branding opportunities, Funding Opportunity, Access to North American market and Peer-to-Peer mentoring. It’s operated in a similar manner to the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson, Canada’s largest Incubator with over 75 companies and 40,000 square feet of space. The company’s focus is on validating early stage technology by focussing on early acquisition of customers.
SINE came into existence in 2004 to administer the business incubator and accelerate the growth of entrepreneurship in IIT Bombay. Since then it has served as a role model for other business incubators in academia across the country. The Department of Science and Technology of the Government of India has also provided financial assistance to the business incubator. The incubator, with infrastructure spread over 10000 sq.ft., can accommodate about 15-17 companies and has so far incubated 47 companies. The rest have graduated successfully, or have been acquired, with about eight having closed down. Half of the incubated companies are faculty-driven, and 19 are such where the technology [developed] from the institute has been converted into businesses. The success of SINE lies in the fact that more than 50% companies are funded by angels, VCs, and financial institutions, and are also revenue-generating. SINE companies have collective revenues of about INR 100 Cr., and have generated about 1,000 jobs.
VentureNursery (VN) is India’s first angel-backed startup accelerator. Established in March 2012 by two like-minded Angel Investors -Shravan Shroff, Founder and former MD, Fame Cinemas and Ravi Kiran, former CEO-South East & South Asia, Starcom MediaVest Group and Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Friends of Ambition, the accelerator runs its physical premises out of Mumbai, India. VentureNursery’s aim is to develop exceptional entrepreneurs who can go on to create great companies. It offers a customised mentoring program ranging between six to thirteen weeks. On need basis, VentureNursery undertakes an intensive and immersive coaching and mentoring role in the chosen start-ups and helps each with end-to-end infrastructural and learning support.
GSF Accelerator is a funding and mentoring platform for Indian startups. Launched in Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai, this multi-city operation seeks to identify, support, and provide funding for the brightest new startups in India. Their key objective is to spur innovation and entrepreneurship through angel and seed investing and also to encourage flow of informed, knowledgeable mentorship capital to the startups in India and beyond. The first batch was 20 companies in four cities. The selected startups represent the best up-and-comers of the Indian ecosystem. The result of this accelerator is an ecosystem created by the startups for the startups: a challenging, risk-taking of product focuses teams, innovating in areas of mobile, social, local and cloud.
TiEBootcamp is the accelerator that provides a free 60-day bootcamp with no contract where the participating startups get access to work space and opportunity to create products and launch companies. The startups operates in the field of mobile, digital marketing, and discount sites and has accelerated over a dozen startups till date including TheAlumniPortal.com, Qpeka.com, Quinto, QuestionPaperLibrary.com, CVLift.com, and MondoBoard.com. One of its portfolio companies, a weight loss app called Obino, has already raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding. TiEBootcamp also helps to learn from some of the best startup brains developing products alongside and provides working space for two months in the heart of Mumbai, software credits with some of the bootcamp partners, interaction with some of the best brains in the VC world and Demo Day – chance to pitch to best early stage investors in India.
It has run 4 batches and accelerated 28 startups. 5 of them have raised capital (Taskbob is the only one, about which the announcement has been made so far)
UnLtd India is an incubator for social entrepreneurs. It works to help the early-stage social entrepreneurs to develop as leaders, accelerate their impact, prepare their organisations for scaling and further investment. Their key focus is on a) Incubation support – seed funding and support, b) Network – a network of Affiliate incubators underneath the UnLtd India brand who adapt our model to their local context and c) Huddle- a national conference for early-stage social social entrepreneurs. UnLtd India offers entrepreneurs a complete ecosystem of seed funding, incubation support and co-working space with which to launch their ventures.
IAN had set this 3,600-sq-ft startup incubator in Mumbai. It incubates startups working in medical devices, healthcare technologies, mobile applications, analytics and internet of things (IoT), manufacturing and newer technologies like cloud computing.
Lightbox is a venture capital firm based out of Mumbai. It mainly focuses on early stage consumer technology businesses. The team behind Lightbox for last 9 years, has invested and built global technology businesses from India. Operating as Sherpalo, their investments include InMobi (the largest independent mobile ad network in the world), Cleartrip (number 2 travel site in India), Naukri (number 1 recruitment site in India) and Greendust (India’s first profitable e-commerce company). A mix of entrepreneurs, technologists and investors, the Lightbox team has global operations and investing experience in consumer technology. The team has founded startups such as Cleartrip, Newhoo (purchased by Netscape), Half.com (purchased by eBay) and Evolv (purchased by NIIT) and also led functions at Google, eBay, Komli, IAC, Yahoo, Sony, Cleartrip, InMobi and NIIT
Nexus Venture Partners is a venture capital firm investing in early stage and growth stage startups across sectors in India and US. It invests between $0.5 Mn and $10 Mn in early growth stage companies. Also, makes investments upto $0.5 Mn in their seed program. It invests in Mobile, Data Security, Big Data analytics, Infrastructure, Cloud, Storage, Internet, Rural Sector, Outsourced Services, Agribusiness, Energy, Media, Consumer and Business services, Technology.
Orios Venture Partners is an early stage venture fund which primarily invests in software and technology enabled startups. Led by Rehan Yar Khan whose past investments include Druva, Olacabs, Reach Accountant, Sapience, Pretty Secrets, Jigsee, Unbxd, DocSuggest, IndiaCollegeSearch and Snapion
Kae Capital is a destination for early stage companies to acquire capital for growth. It’s a sector agnostic fund and invests in companies which bring about innovative solutions for the existing gaps in the markets, backed by a great team. They focus on investing in Innovation, Leadership and Growth and also bring in the expertise of identifying and building large companies even from a concept. Their team at Kae Capital has a wide range of experience in helping companies grow, fill gaps in the market and help create winning companies. They look for entrepreneurs who envision technology as a means to disrupt sectors such as Mobile, e-Commerce, Education, Healthcare, Consumer Internet and so on. They understand the importance of speed for a start-up and they carry out their process in the same spirit.
Blume is an angel & seed venture fund that backs startups with funding and also provides active mentoring and support. The company funds startups through multiple rounds, leading up to larger institutional rounds like Series A and B from Venture Capital firms. Few important points that the company wish to see while investing in the startups are, the way a certain product or service is delivered, or ideas / business models that can scale rapidly in terms of revenues and consumer adoption, using technology as an enabler, highly capital-efficient business models, committed and passionate entrepreneurs who are flexible and can adapt to changing market dynamics, entrepreneurs who are willing to work with Blume’s first cheques of typically INR 50 lacs to INR 1.5 Cr. as well as 2x that range (where we co-invest). Blume has around 50+ companies where the total number of founders are 110+ and 85% of portfolio is in Digital Media / Internet + Mobile. It’s geographic spread is 4:3:2:1 in favor of Bangalore / Mumbai / Delhi NCR / Rest of India.
Nirvana Venture Advisors is an investment management / advisory firm that focuses on early-stage & market leading companies in the growing Indian internet and mobile space. They help companies growth and flourish. They basically look for competent entrepreneurs who have compelling consumer insights or unique domain experience. However their main aim is to focus on early-stage companies, while also target companies with established business models and a strong market presence.
Founded in November 2006, the Mumbai Angels provides a unique platform to start up and very early stage companies by bringing them face to face with successful entrepreneurs, professionals and executives who are interested in and have the funds available to invest in start up companies. Many members of Mumbai Angels have prior Silicon Valley experience. In addition to the capital of its members, the Mumbai Angels provides access to high quality mentoring, vast networks in India and abroad and inputs on strategy as well as execution. Mumbai Angels Venture is set-up as a non-profit organisation to cater to investment needs of Angels and Entrepreneurs.
ah! Ventures is a growth catalyst that brings together promising businesses and investors by creating wealth creation opportunities for both. Our unique model serves both investors and entrepreneurs through a unique blend of customised services, skill, and industry and domain experience. They offer a bundle of services to investors to help them to not just locate promising investment opportunities, but also evaluate them in a manner that eliminates doubt, and also facilitates savvy decision making. Meanwhile for the entrepreneurs, they help them create an environment for explosive growth through services that benefit every facet of their business – from funding to recruitment to office space.
Unilazer Ventures is a uniquely positioned Investor with deep experience in the fast growing Indian Consumer, Services and High Impact Sectors. Their interest is in any business that is part of the India Consumption Story which can build Brand and Scale, as well as high Impact Sectors like Agriculture, Health Care, Micro Finance and Education. It is promoted by First Generation Entrepreneur – Ronnie Screwvala. Unilazer also supports The SWADES Foundation focused on empowering Rural India through Health & Nutrition, Water & Sanitation, Education, Agriculture & Livelihood and Community Mobilization and has identified One Million people in Rural Maharashtra in its first phase.
Lead Angels is an alumni focused angel network whose focus is to assist investment into early stage ideas and companies founded by students and alumni of premier institutions. Currently they have chapters in Mumbai, New Delhi, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. Lead Angels connects promising startups to experienced individuals who wish to invest time and money for developing entrepreneurship. Post investment, members not only mentor companies but also connect them to potential clients, partners and investors. Lead Angels also assists startups to expand operations via its local chapters.
India Quotient was launched in 2012, it is an early stage fund with a corpus of INR 30 Cr. Madhukar Sinha, Anand Lunia are the two leading it. India Quotient does Seed Investments between 100k – 500k in startups working in the domains of education, Food and Travel, Mobile, Fashion, Lifestyle, Consumer Finance.
Founded by Zishaan Hayath, Powai Lake Ventures is an angel firm providing seed capital to the companies operating in the technology sector. Apart from Zishaan other investors involved with the group include Abhishek Jain, Shishir Kapoor, Vaibhav Puranik, Saurabh Saxena and Gagan Goyal, among others.
Started in April 2006, the Indian Angel Network in addition to money, provides constant access to high quality mentoring, vast networks and inputs on strategy as well as execution. It is a network of angel investors who are keen to invest in early stage businesses which have potential to create disproportionate value.
CIO Angel Network or CAN was founded and commenced its operations in January 2015. It is a network of select few High Networth CIOs/ CTOs and ICT leaders who are wanting to invest in technology & technology enabled start ups. CANs mission is to accelerate seed stage start ups through fundraising support and customer discovery. CAN aims to make niche sector specific investments at a seed stage. The initial deal size is 100,000 USD but the size will increase as the network expands. CAN is currently a 30 member group in its Mumbai chapter. CAN is focusing on increasing this group and also plan to have many more chapters across the country.
Headstart Network Foundation was established in 2008 with the vision to ‘Change the World through Entrepreneurship’. It was among the first few, to have driven informal and formal meets of aspiring and inspiring entrepreneurs in India. It facilitates entrepreneurial learning, hiring, marketing insights and peer mentoring amongst the Startups and addresses their issues through initiatives such as Headstart Startup Saturdays, Headstart Higher, Headstart Cofounder Search Program, Headstart Hackerspace and Headstart Club. Headstart Network Foundation works with a strong network of stakeholders: startups, government, investors, industry and tech community. It presently, has its network spread across Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Gurgaon, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Jaipur, Kochi, Trivandrum, Kolkata, Bhopal, Goa and Vijayawada. Their key milestones include, more than 30,000 entrepreneurs impact annually. outreach to 26,000+ through mailing list and 17,000+ on Facebook, 7000+ members on Google (Discussion) Group, more than 150 startup events organized annually pan India.
Startup Weekend is a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities. The organisation provides a weekend-long, hands-on experiences where entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs can find out if startup ideas are viable. On average, half of Startup Weekend’s attendees have technical or design backgrounds, the other half have business backgrounds. Beginning with open mic pitches on Friday, attendees bring their best ideas and inspire others to join their team. Over Saturday and Sunday teams focus on customer development, validating their ideas, practicing LEAN Startup Methodologies and building a minimal viable product. On Sunday evening teams demo their prototypes and receive valuable feedback from a panel of experts.
The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), was founded in 1992 in Silicon Valley by a group of successful entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and senior professionals with roots in the Indus region. There are currently 13,000 members, including over 2,500 charter members in 57 chapters across 14 countries. TiE’s aim is to foster entrepreneurship globally through mentoring, networking, and education and it’s focus is on generating and nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs. TiE is looking to expand and localize the reach by introducing “TiE Zones” across Mumbai which offers a rich resource pool to an Entrepreneur. So far they have launched the 1st pilot zone “TiE (Navi) Mumbai Zone and plan to more soon. TiE Mumbai fulfills its mandate of ‘fostering entrepreneurship’ through educational, mentoring, inspirational and networking programs mapped to each stage of the entrepreneurial life cycle.
Mumbai-based Matrix Partners partnered with city-based developer K Raheja for a co-working space in city. Located in the startup hub Powai called ‘The Space’, will start with a batch of first set of companies in second week of June. ‘The Space’ will have infrastructure for around eight startup teams of 3-6 persons, who will be selected by a panel of investors from the Mumbai startup ecosystem. Each cycle will run for three months, after which new and existing teams can apply again.
The Playce is a community for enterprising folks to find the right people and the right atmosphere for executing their amazing ideas. ‘The Playce’ is a spacious 5,000 sq. ft coworking space with plug-n-play workdesks, private cabins, conference rooms, seminar hall & an awesome game room to chill and it can host more than 60 startups. Currently there are already 25+ teams working. The Playce has hosted India’s first official Quora meetup, Robotics workshop, Founders Meet (with Mumbai’s awesome entrepreneurs), Weekend Ventures, Global Service Jam, Tavdi Painting workshop, and several tech, design & music events.
Bombay Connect aims at creating coworking spaces that nurture ideas and people, making good things happen in the world. Their vision is a world where individuals take action to bring about positive social change. They offer affordable working space like open work stations for easy communication & networking, comfortable meeting rooms, 4 backup wireless Internet connections, administration facilities. Bombay Connect also hosts an amazing set of events that provides skills to take one’s idea to the next level. They also helps in providing meaningful connections by providing a diverse set of member-focused events such as talks, community lunches, film screenings, musical performances and peer-to-peer sessions that provide a platform to connect, network and collaborate with like-minded people, leading social entrepreneurs and sector experts.
Our First Office helps entrepreneurs, startups, and freelancers succeed by making them more connected with each other and by providing them various services like Internet / WiFi, reception area, office desks / chairs, conference room, furnitures / bean bag, whiteboard / projector, printer / scanner, landline / fax, locker / cupboard, air conditioning (AC), cafeteria / dining hall, microwave / fridge, coffee / tea dispenser as well as two wheelers and four wheelers parking. Currently they can accommodate more than 75 people.
Social is a space that combines work and play. It’s an urban hangout designed to take anyone offline while still keeping them connected. Social is a collaborative workspace, a hub for artists and innovators. One can find entrepreneurs, investors and others hanging out working from Social offline Mumbai and even in other facilities of Social in Delhi and Bangalore.
[Don’t worry if we missed out anyone, we will keep on updating the list.]
[Special thanks to Ajeet Khurana and Kanchan Kumar who helped us in putting together this list]
This is part of our special series, In Focus: Indian Startup Hubs, in which we highlight the numerous established as well as upcoming startup hubs in the Indian Tech Ecosystem!