After the successful graduation of the second cohort of YES Fintech, YES Bank has diversified its interests beyond fintech. The bank has now launched YES SCALE — a multi-sector acceleration programme.
In the multi-sector approach, the bank aims to support startups working in the space of Smart City, CleanTech, Agritech, Lifesciences Tech, and EduTech.
The 15-week programme aims to create financial innovations by sourcing, scaling, and sustaining emerging technology solutions in the sunrise sectors of the Indian economy.
Commenting on the development, Rana Kapoor, MD and CEO, YES BANK, said, “The success of two cohorts of YES Fintech have demonstrated our Bank’s strengths in partnering with fintechs to co-create industry-changing Banking solutions. Now, with YES SCALE, we will replicate this model across YES BANK’s focus sectors like Smart Cities, agriculture, clean energy, education, and healthcare, to build deep interventions jointly with our corporate clients.”
He added, “This is fully in line with the Bank’s vision since inception — which was to cater to the ‘sunrise sectors of India’s economy using knowledge banking to deliver impactful ecosystem solutions.”
What’s In For Startups?
With YES SCALE, the bank aims to offers each of the five sectors dedicated industry partners who will support the development of a proof-of-concept (PoC) and go-to-market/commercialisation of the developed solution.
Further, YES SCALE will provide a PoC grant of up to $29,593.68 (INR 20 lakhs) to ensure startups remain cost neutral during PoC development and also will provide access to funding of upto $1 Mn through Investment/Fund partners.
At the same time, over 100 mentors will be guiding startups with each startup supported by one sector expert, one technology expert and one investment partner.
Talking to Inc42, Amit Shah, Senior President & Country Head, Strategy, Fintech, Marketing & Communication at YES BANK explained that there is no set number of startups, they are looking at 12-15 startups across the five sectors.
Additionally, for startups that have ready solutions, YES SCALE will provide access to a technology sandbox to help them test their solutions in a risk-free environment and give them support worth over $1 Mn through cloud credits (Google, AWS, Microsoft based on startup preference), cloud telephony, SaaS invoice discounting etc.
Explaining the purpose of such support, Amit Shah added, “Startups, in their early stages, usually end-up burning a lot of cash owing to investments in technology and other supporting architecture to scale their businesses.
Through YES BANK’s partnerships with technology support providers, the bank aims to decrease the burn rate of these startups and ensure that they focus on speedier go-to-market of their product with adequate technology support from reliable partners.”
He explained that therefore, YES SCALE will not only provide access to a technology sandbox to help these startups test their solutions in a risk-free environment but also give them support.
Through YES SCALE, startups looking to take their solutions global will be able to do so with YES BANK’s partnerships with over 20 startup ecosystems around the world across USA, Europe, Middle East and South-East Asia.
Under the programme, YES SCALE will bring together over fifty organisations, funds, ecosystems as well as Government partners for advisory support.
Agritech Startup Acceleration Programme
Under YES SCALE, the bank operationalised its Agritech startup acceleration programme with sectoral organizations like ITC, Nestle, MTR and Amul committing to adopt solutions scaled up in the programme and commercialising them either through integration in their systems or further distributing the solution with their supply chain partners.
YES BANK also partnered with Omnivore Partners, Anthill Ventures and Artha Venture Partners who will support the programme as Investment Partners while Villgro will provide support to YES SCALE as the official Programme Partner.
Commenting on the partnership Jinesh Shah, Founding Partner, Omnivore Partners said “When banks like YES BANK launch Accelerators like YES SCALE, it is a clear indication of the overarching positive vibrancy in agribusiness sector where everyone wants to be a part of. Initiatives such as these are in sync with our philosophy of digitising farm level technology solutions and scaling up the startup ecosystem.”
On the plans ahead, Amit Shah explained, “Eventually, we aim to expand the accelerator to introduce financial innovations and explore opportunities in Alternative Lending in all the five sectors.”
Banks Betting On Indian Startup Ecosystem
In the booming Indian startup ecosystem, we have several global and Indian banks working towards supporting the growth of various startups in the country.
Recently, ICICI Bank has come up with Innovation Centres in Mumbai and Hyderabad, where it is constantly on the lookout for innovative ideas that entrepreneurs are coming out with.
These ideas could be anything ranging from artificial intelligence, data science, P2P lending to any new payment mechanism.
Earlier, Mumbai-headquartered Kotak Mahindra Bank, in association with NASSCOM, launched a new collaborative platform for startups, with a special focus on fintech startups.
As part of the programme, selected startups in the programme will get access to mentorship as well as a chance to work with Kotak’s Innovation Lab. Additionally, they will have the opportunity for a pilot launch.
Further, HDFC Bank launched a startup fund with an initial corpus of $25 Mn-$30 Mn, aimed at helping promising new companies raise capital. The bank has already worked with over 150 startups across the country.
With the continued commitment towards Indian startups, the multi-sector acceleration programme YES SCALE is bound to be a boost for Indian startups.