The year 2019 started with a bang with us receiving the National Entrepreneurship Award from the Government of India for being the best incubator. But hey, we are not “just” an incubator! While we graciously accepted the award, we also resolved that we need to shed the image of us being seen as an “incubator” — because we are way beyond that. Therefore, we decided to re-brand ourselves as CIIE.CO to represent “The Innovation Continuum” that we are.
In this year-end summary, we look at our work in 2019 with the Innovation Continuum lens — and how we have tried to help game-changing startups and impact the entrepreneurial ecosystem through our work. It should also help you understand why we do what we do!
Building Companies of Consequence
Startups and Innovations are our raison d’etre and we aim to be the most prominent catalyst of early-stage startups in India in two broad thematic areas:
o Deep-tech including AI/ML, med-tech, electronics/robotics, EV, among others. We believe India is firmly poised to be a super-power in producing globally game-changing innovations.
o Inclusion including financial inclusion, livelihood, education, among others. We believe digital technology has the power of democratizing basic services for Bharat.
We have a new interactive visualization tool that allows you to see and navigate the awesome startups that we committed our resources towards in 2019. This tool does not capture our past portfolio of some amazing startups that raised over $50mn of follow-on capital in 2019.
As you will notice, our work is focused on early stages of a startup’s evolution and we provide everything that a startup may need (including networks, training, mentoring/advisors, infra, and capital) -
o Incubation-Acceleration — This earliest stage offering of ours focuses both on regional entrepreneurs in Rajasthan and Gujarat, and entrepreneurs creating solutions to large problems across the country through our national programs.
- In 2019, we incubated/accelerated/trained 107 startups and provided prototyping grants to 38 startups. We ran 2 national accelerators focused on Deep-tech areas (India Innovation Growth Programme 2.0, IoT Accelerator) and 4 national accelerators (2 batches of Bharat Inclusion Initiatives’ Financial Inclusion Lab, 1 batch of Craft Accelerator and 1 batch of ShelterTech Accelerator) focused on Inclusion areas. Further, we ran 2 regional accelerators cutting across our Deeptech and Inclusion theme in Rajasthan and Gujarat — and also upgraded our incubation infrastructure in Ahmedabad.
o Seed — Through our proprietary pools of capital, we provide up to INR 1 crore of equity-linked capital (often attracting other capital providers) across the Deep-tech and Inclusion themes.
- In 2019, we provided seed-capital to a total of 38 startups — 19 focused on Deep-tech and 19 on Inclusion.
- We also had 10 exits — notably, Salesken, Biosense (acquired by Tulip Diagnostics), Detect, Kivi (acquired by Netmeds).
o Early/Early-Growth — Through our Bharat Innovation Fund and Bharat Inclusion Seed-fund, we provide early-stage capital ($ 500k — $3mn) across Deep-tech and Inclusion themes, respectively.
- In 2019, we announced our investments in 7 new ventures — through Bharat Innovation Fund in vPhrase, Zumutor, Credit Vidya, PlayShifu and Detect, and through Bharat Inclusion Seed-fund in Setu and Kaleidofin.
Strengthening the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
As an early believer in the power of entrepreneurship, we have over the last decade pioneered and continue to endeavor hard to strengthen the Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem. While some of our visible work may be directly investing our resources into startups, we also actively work towards strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem (largely catering to aspiring entrepreneurs, students, non-portfolio startups) through our:
o Research & Insights — Through our research efforts, we study entrepreneurs, end-consumers, corporates and technology trends to provide insights to innovators, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders through our publications, trainings and cases. We aim to build the Entrepreneur’s Toolbox that helps aspiring entrepreneurs jump-start faster and succeed more often.
- In 2019, we published 75 articles and a research report. We designed and offered three courses, hosted a roundtable, shared our thoughts through an IIMA podcast.
o Evangelization efforts — we aim to build Tomorrow’s Startup Capitals through our regional incubation and evangelization work and do the ground-breaking work by programmatically solving tough problems through entrepreneurial solutions. In 2019:
- Through Innocity, we provided training support to over 152 aspiring entrepreneurs in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
- In our efforts to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem in emerging areas, we inspired over 1750 entrepreneurs through over 5 sprints, 57 office hours and 63 evangelization events focused on financial inclusion, craft, defense-tech, and affordable housing.
As our Partners summarize our vision for 2020, we are super-excited to further scale-up our impact across the Innovation Continuum.