Early stage accelerator Turbostart is inviting applications from startups looking to raise Seed and Pre-Series A funding for its fourth cohort
It offers tailored business support, beyond funding. This includes mentoring through workshops, brainstorming sessions and functional expertise in technology; marketing and branding; business development; UX and design and investment banking
Primarily, it seeks startups with disruptive technologies and business models going after large market opportunities
More than 60K+ tech startups, 108 unicorns, 102 soonicorns and over 300 incubators and accelerators providing mentorship, resources and networking opportunities – the numbers validate how India’s startup ecosystem has gone from strength to strength to emerge the third-largest in the world.
But all is not hunky-dory at this moment.
The frothy market of 2020 and 2021 led to a funding boom triggered by the growing dependency on tech innovations during the peak pandemic months. But from 2022 onwards, a severe funding drought has ensued due to geopolitical tensions and a worldwide economic downturn. According to Inc42 data, Indian startups raised $25 Bn in 2022, a 40% decline from the $42 Bn raised in the previous year.
Although financing has dried up significantly, and companies without adequate funding struggle to stay afloat, it does not indicate an overall slowdown in the startup space. Industry experts believe it is a sign of market maturity as we enter the age of cockroach startups (intent on less cost and more profit instead of rapid growth and excessive cash burn). Innovative startups with sustainable business models will achieve their full potential in spite of market corrections.
Enter TurboStart To Accelerate Startup Growth
Bengaluru-based Turbostart, a sector-agnostic, early-stage accelerator, with presence in India, the MEA (the Middle East and Africa), the U.S and Singapore aims to help early stage startups that have the potential for disruption and impact. Since 2019, the accelerator has helped more than 25 startups leverage its network of expert mentors, entrepreneurs and investors for innovation, funding and industry connections.
The accelerator is now inviting applications for its fourth cohort (Fund II, Cohort IV) and will enlist startups looking to raise Seed and Pre-Series A funding. It will invest up to $1Mn each in 10 startups. Beyond investment, Turbostart aims to provide the finalists with comprehensive support through mentorship, help them determine market validation through brainstorming sessions and workshops and provide collaborative teamwork and domain expertise.
“We provide specialised services to startups that are part of our cohort. Our experts at Turbostart’s Centres of Excellence (CoEs) will offer functional expertise in technology; marketing and branding; business development; UX and design and investment banking,” said Ganesh Raju, founder and CEO of Turbostart.
He added that Turbostart wants to help its portfolio companies to scale and grow their business with the right guidance and mentorship.Applications Open Until March 31
Why Early Stage Startups Should Apply
“At Turbostart, we have a rigorous screening process to identify the most promising early stage startups for investment. While a large total addressable market (TAM) can be exciting, we prioritise startups with a solid foundation, a sound business model and strong unit economics,” said Ganesh.
Much like the past editions, Turbostart’s IC (investment committee) will bring in industry veterans and investors who will provide valuable insights and guidance to help the accelerator make the best investment decisions.
Its pool of experts across various domains, from media to finance, will also help winning startups get 360-degree solutions to grow in their respective sectors. The mentors will hold offline, hands-on sessions curated to meet every startup’s unique requirements so that the latter can align their offerings with evolving market trends and fine their business model by identifying gaps and taking necessary steps.
The experts will also help selected startups strengthen their go-to-market strategy (GTM) and achieve product-market fit (PMF).
“Our analysis indicates sectors like SaaS, healthtech and edtech possess significant potential for growth, innovation and impact, and we are actively seeking out startups which operate in these fields,” said Ganesh.
Applications Open Until March 31
Selection & Timeline
“We place a significant emphasis on the founders and their ability to execute their vision. We believe that by investing in talented and motivated teams, we can help them achieve their goals and create successful and sustainable businesses,” said Ganesh.
Although Turbostart has not listed rigid selection criteria, early stage startups can apply if they:
- Have proof of concept or a minimum viable product (MVP) and have the potential to scale. Those in their post MVP stage can also apply
- Are creating disruptive innovation
- Are seeking to raise Seed or Pre-Series A funding
While Turbostart identifies startups between the ideation and post-MVP stage as those in their early stages, Ganesh stated that the accelerator is also looking for startups that have strong unit economics, significant customer traction, growth potential and can maintain a competitive edge.
During the screening done by the accelerator’s dedicated team, startups must pitch their businesses online and offline so that their viability and potential can be assessed. After the initial review, the most promising of the lot will be presented to Turbostart’s external IC for further evaluation. The finalists will be chosen after three months of due diligence and term sheet negotiations. Post this, they will receive funding.
Early Stage Startups Hold The Edge In Spite Of Funding Winter
Although the harsh funding winter sent shockwaves across the startup ecosystem, investor confidence skyrocketed for early stage startups. According to an Inc42 report titled State of Tech Startups, seed and bridge funding rose steadily in 2022 in spite of the overall bearish sentiment. The report also stated that nearly 41% of the total seed funding ($5 Bn) raised since 2014 was secured in 2022 alone. Moreover, funding amounts for seed and bridge stages witnessed a 27% and 11% YoY increase, respectively.
Clearly, investor focus has shifted from blitzscaling to sustainability, and they are loosening their purse strings for startups with good growth potential and a scalable business model.
Ganesh concurred. “When markets are buoyed by easy liquidity, the growth at all costs mindset is often glorified. But in times of low tides like this, startups and founders with resilience and strength of purpose will be the ones to survive and potentially flourish,” he said. Also, actual revenue numbers will take precedence over flashy presentations.
“Sustainability should be ingrained in a startup’s DNA right from inception if it hopes to survive in the long run,” he added.Applications Open Until March 31