An alumni-based startup ecosystem backed by IvyCamp Ventures, IvyCamp on Tuesday opened online applications for the Sonata Program — an open innovation programme that seeks to facilitate IoT, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning startups to network and get training and mentoring to engage with ecosystem players so they can grow into promising ventures.
Apart from technology prowess, the startups will be shortlisted on the basis of their business model, financial, legal, and human resources due diligence. According to the media statement, the selected startups will get a chance to pitch to global IT solutions firm Sonata Software for investment.
The Sonata Program is designed by IvyCamp for Sonata Software, which specialises in delivering innovative solutions for travel, retail and distribution, and software product companies through IP-based platforms, products, and services.
At the launch of the Sonata Program, Srikar Reddy, CEO of Sonata Software, said, “Through our Open Innovation Program, we are proactively seeking collaborations with startups to give faster access to Sonata in new technologies and we will help them by taking them to market more effectively.”
The Sonata Program will invite applications in every quarter of the year. IvyCamp will then shortlist the startups for investment evaluation. All shortlisted startups will also get access to a business and technical evaluation report by an IvyCamp mentor and experts, the media statement said.
Vikram Gupta, founder and managing partner of IvyCamp Ventures, said, “IvyCamp is fundamentally creating a global ecosystem in which entrepreneurs are empowered to scale, grow, and explore new markets. The future is going to happen in India and IvyCamp will be the enabler to bring innovation to market.”
IvyCamp is a unified technology based platform that leverages the Global Alumni Network to help entrepreneurs. The platform enables corporates to engage with startups to create new funding and customer engagement opportunities. The venture claims to have more than 50 service providers; has provided funding for over 10 startups specialising in IOT, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and Big Data; and has also signed more than 25 mentoring deals.
Recently, IvyCamp invested an undisclosed amount in seed funding in Tyre Express, a B2B marketplace for lifecycle management of commercial vehicle tyres. Previously, it has facilitated investments in early-stage startups such as fintech company FT cash, marketplace firm Grabon, healthtech startup Idea Bubbles, and food delivery app Mr Hot Foods, among others.
Other Innovation Programmes for Indian Startups
With a view to foster a similar ecosystem and accelerator programme for budding Indian entrepreneurs, US-based incubator Techstars recently opened applications for hardware and software-focused startups to participate in the Techstars Bengaluru Accelerator and gain financial, human and intellectual support.
Similarly, the global aerospace and security giant Lockheed Martin has opened applications for its annual India Innovation Growth Programme (IIGP). Further, ecommerce giant Amazon is also inviting applications for its annual Amazon Alexa Accelerator 2018, which aims to seek out 13 promising startups specialising in voice technology.
Earlier in January, Facebook had collaborated with Hyderabad-based T-Hub to kickstart the India Innovation Hub Accelerator Programme to discover the best startups working in augmented reality / virtual reality in India. On the other hand, YES BANK also launched the second cohort of its fintech startup accelerator, YES FINTECH, in March this year.
The emerging trend of programmes to support startups is a boon for aspiring entrepreneurs and is triggering technology innovations in myriad sectors. This, in turn, might help India rise further up the ranks from its current position as the third largest startup ecosystem in the world.