One of the first things that draws one’s attention while talking about startups is funding. But often the success of a startup is determined not just by how much money it has or it can raise, but also the quality of inputs and mentorship it gets. If funding is an output which is a factor of performance then mentorship is a crucial component of the input.
YES Bank’s ‘YES SCALE’ Accelerator seeks to accomplish the task of getting startups this quality input through the guidance of mentors from the industry, which, the bank, hopes will set them apart from the rest. YES SCALE is not only a unique platform supporting technology startups with mentorship and funding support but it also provides direct go-to-market opportunities building on those industry interactions along with providing banking support.
Last week, 14 shortlisted startups (agritech and cleantech) came under one roof in Mumbai along with industry partners to showcase their solutions and accomplishments to various YES Bank clients, private equity and venture capital investors.
Launched in June last year, YES SCALE, which is the bank’s multi-sector accelerator, has partnered with more than 100 industry players, corporates, funding partners, and government bodies, all in an effort to build a supportive ecosystem for startups.
In the agritech and clean energy segment, the top 6 to 8 startups were selected out of 1,000 applications to become a part of the 2018 cohort. Each startup then worked with YES Bank’s anchor clients such as ITC, BigBasket, Mahindra & Mahindra, Schneider Electric etc, and based on their inputs, tweaked their products over a period of 15 weeks.
During the launch, the startups showcased their products to over 20 VC Funds. The startups also have access to funding of up to $1 Mn through YES SCALE’s network of investment partners across sectors.
According to the company, over 20 startups were also presented with opportunities to showcase their solutions through YES SCALE Partner network, beyond the SCALE program. Besides, the accelerator also provided startups access for expansion to 5+ international markets through the bank’s ecosystem partners.
Some Of The Highlights Of YES SCALE Cohort 2018
During the 15-week program, the startups had held pilots across India including cities like — Gurugram, Bengaluru, Guntur, Bellary, Surat, Warangal and more. Some of these included:
- RAAV Techlabs: The artificial intelligence startup got an opportunity to conduct parallel pilots with grocery unicorn BigBasket and Indian MNC Mahindra on quality testing of the nutritional content and health of fruits.
- Foundation for Environmental Monitoring (FFEM): A soil testing solution creator, FFEM previously had only four out of 15 soil testing solutions ready for deployment. After the YES SCALE pilot, they were able to get all the 15 solutions ready for deployment in just 15 weeks.
- Fliprobotics: A startup which builds automated robots that clean solar panels without using water. Fliprobotics got the opportunity to work with Freyr Energy to develop a fully automated solar panel cleaning solution.
- Synapptra: The company creates easy-to-deploy SaaS systems to save energy in residential and office spaces, managing lighting, heating, ventilation and internal air quality. Synapptra was able to bring down energy and wastage costs by 30% during the pilot with YES SCALE.
- LeanAgri: The agritech startup that designs tech solutions for unorganised sectors, LeanAgri, was able to set up connections with over 1,000 farmers across Guntur and Bellary for their decision support system.
Saying YES To Helping Startups At Every Step
As part of the 15-week journey with YES SCALE Accelerator, YES Bank provided the startups with access to more than 100 YES Bank application programming interface (APIs) and partner APIs so that startups can test their ideas and validate it in a sandbox environment.
Sometimes startups have a great product but are not able to tell compelling stories. Sometimes they focus so much on building their products that other mundane but important aspects such as legal due diligence takes a backseat. Thus to refine ideas and solve challenges, the startups under the YES SCALE Accelerator program were provided opportunities wherein specific areas like the art of storytelling in business pitches, legal and compliance issues, as well as targeted marketing, were taught and discussed.
The startups were also provided access to cloud credits, technology support, mentorship and further connects with investment partners.
Scaling New Heights
So what’s next for the startups? The startups will now showcase their product offerings on a curated marketplace and will be given go-to-market opportunities along with banking support by YES Bank.
YES SCALE has evolved into a collaborative scale up and acceleration platform for more than 1200 startups and 50 plus organisations. Post successfully building a robust ecosystem of more than 20 global partners, over 50 mentors and more than 20 investment partners in impact segments, YES SCALE will further expand into supply chain and logistics, lifescience and healthtech, and edtech segments.
According to Rajesh Ranjan, CEO of Nabventures which invests in agritech startups, YES SCALE is a good platform for various stakeholders within the agritech and cleantech ecosystem wherein the startups, capital providers, and mentors come together and benefit each other.
“Startups are looking for investors and vice-versa, it’s a right platform for mixing and matching of minds,” said Ranjan.