Startup foundries like Michael Jones, Vikas Agarwal become cofounders and help turn ideas into products.
Ahnedabad | Bengaluru | RNW | By Vishal Dutta & J Vignesh, ET Bureau | 4 Jan, 2016, 01:20 PM IST.
Shabaz Ahmed has attended over 40 hackathons and won at least 13 of them. But the hackathon that happened in January 2015 was going to be life changing. After the usual idea pitch, the Science Inc team loved it. Ahmed’s hackathon ‘idea’ was chosen to become a ‘product’.
Ahmed’s app ‘Simply’ helps users keep track of their prepaid mobile spending. Science Inc, which is run by Michael Jones, the former CEO of Myspace, has set up a base in Bengaluru so as to extend their US incubator model which rapidly builds on ideas and brings out a product. Science India is among one of the few new-age incubators or ‘startup foundries’ in the country. Instead of only providing mentorship or infrastructure assistance, like the traditional incubators or accelerators, these setups become cofounders in a venture and provide help to the entrepreneurs in idea validation, building a team, branding, technology, marketing, legal, finance and also in raising further funds. Simply is now a complete product, in less than eight months, and has already crossed 10,000 downloads and is preparing for its Series-A raising.
“Startup foundries are venture builders, and not just a facilitator like other incubators and accelerators. The others assume that the startup knows how to establish the business effectively after incubation.” said Vikas Agarwal, founder of Innovify, a startup foundry which has witnessed graduation of three startups in last nine months. These venture builders identify gaps in the existing ecosystem and build a team around the idea and rapidly accelerate so as to capitalise on their early mover advantage.
“In today’s timeframe, you need to build momentum in 18 months, or else you are gone. The idea is to grow fast and take off,” said Umakant Soni, Director, Science India.
This model, has flourished in the western world. PayPal’s cofounder Max Levchin’s Hard Valuable Fun (HVF), serial entrepreneur John Borthwick’s Betaworks, whose success stories include GIF generator Giphy and mobile game Dots, and Rocket Internet are examples.
Here, serial entrepreneur K Ganesh is a proponent of this school of thought. His venture GrowthStory, boasts of huge success stories such as Big Basket, BlueStone, Portea and FreshMenu.