Venture capital firm Sequoia Capital India has introduced its startup accelerator and incubation programme called Surge.
In a blog post, Shailendra Singh, MD at Sequoia Capital India said, “Surge is a rapid scale-up programme for startups, created to give founders an unfair advantage to scale and grow, make smart business model choices at the start, and raise a Series A round soon after.”
The accelerator programme will work independent of Sequoia, with a separate team and a brand. The Surge will pick up 10–20 early stage startups twice a year and invest $1.5 Mn (INR 10.6 Cr) in each of them at the start or very early stage of the programme.
Singh said that the firm found through various Twitter polls that startup founders are underserved, and hence, Surge for India and Southeast Asia.
Surge: The Seed To Series A Journey With Sequoia
Sequoia is expected to invest over $100 Mn over the next four-five years under Surge. The programme will target startups both in India and Southeast Asia across sectors such as consumer internet, deep tech, enterprise software, healthcare technology, fintech, crypto or direct-to-consumer brands.
The programme will work with each batch for 16 weeks and will see mentors such as edtech unicorn BYJU’S founder Byju Raveendran, Carousell’s Siu Rui Quek, credit card bills payment app Cred’s Kunal Shah, SaaS unicorn Freshworks’ Girish Mathrubootham, GO-JEK’s Nadiem Makarim, Google’s Rajan Ananadan, hospitality unicorn OYO’s Ritesh Agarwal, ride-hailing Uber’s Amit Jain, chat messaging service WhatsApp’s Neeraj Arora, food delivery Zomato’s Deepinder Goyal and more.
Surge is designed to have five modules, which will be hosted across the globe in China, India, Silicon Valley and in Singapore. “Our global immersion is a unique aspect of Surge and is designed to give founders first-hand exposure to start-ups and trends in the most important technology markets,” Singh said.
The startups will also have access to an advanced management programme (AMP) by Sequoia’s US unit. Founders will also participate in many other workshops, experience sharing sessions with mentors, work closely with experts from various fields like technology, marketing, recruiting, legal and finance and the Surge team itself, to refine their ideas and make rapid progress in the critical early days of building their businesses.
At the end of the programme, Sequoia also plans to have an investor week for these startups where it will invite other venture capital firms. During an “UpSurge” week from a curated list of angels, seed funds and VC’s. If founders of a Surge cohort prefer to wait, they can raise capital during the UpSurge week of the next Surge cohort.
The first cohort Surge 1 for March 2019 has opened for applications.
Sequoia: The Enabler Of Indian Startups Success Stories
Sequoia India has made over 200 investments in India and SEA so far. This includes notable names such as Prataap Snacks, Zilingo, Bira, Byju’s, One Championship, Zomato, Mu Sigma, Freshworks, Druva, Freecharge, Five Star Finance, Pine Labs, OYO Rooms, Practo, and JustDial among others.
Several portfolio companies have had M&A events including GlobalLogic, Scio Health Analytics, Prizm Payments, Freecharge and others. Multiple portfolio companies have also gone public, including Prataap Snacks, JustDial, Ujjivan, Equitas and QuickHeal.
The company closed its sixth fund at a fund corpus of $695 Mn in August 2018. With its sixth fund, Sequoia India was to double down its investment in early and growth stage startups. It was targeting technology, consumer and healthcare sectors across India and Southeast Asia (SEA).
According to Inc42’s Indian Tech Startup Funding Report 2018, the year 2018 observed a significant drop — 40% in comparison to 2017 — in funding deals in the early stage. From 551 in 2017, the number of deals in the early stage came down to 331 in 2018.