Accel, an influential venture capital firm, which backed top companies such as Flipkart, Freshworks and Swiggy at an early stage, wants to democratise access to knowledge and insights for the startup community in the country. The firm unveiled SeedToScale, a platform that aims to fast track the journey, new founders will traverse from seed to scale by benefitting from the combined wisdom of all founders who have been there and done that. It also aims to share highly-curated insights, networks and playbooks from founders, investors and operators of the Indian startup ecosystem.
“For 15 years we've been investing in India. There have been a lot of lessons and many sectors we've tried. We also learned what works and what doesn't work. There have been many things that we have learned the hard way,” said Anand Daniel, partner at Accel. “There are insights and also the networks that (our) companies build over time. But its (learnings) is only touching a handful of founders. It actually pained us that we're not able to help the broader audience in any significant way,”he said.
From the past few years, only about 1000 companies per year have been getting any support from the venture capital community. Accel wants to change that and share its learnings to help founders build a strong foundation for growth. It said access to a good startup ecosystem is limited. The firm said it wants to provide that to all the founders irrespective of the location, background and gender.
Accel said it sees the economy growing to more than $5 trillion in the next decade, and the number of internet users growing past 750 million. The firm is of the view that Indian startups are not only playing a significant role in solving problems in the country, but are also growing more ambitious and touching lives across the globe.
Now, as over 3,000 startups are founded each year in India, Accel decided to figure out a scalable way of helping as many founders as possible from their inception. Besides making knowledge easily accessible, Accel through SeedtoScale is focusing on creating targeted programmes. It is also focusing on enabling a non-judgmental peer learning environment with experienced founders and investors.
Accel said it has partnered with many category-defining startups from their inception all the way to scale and exit. As a seed- focused fund, it started working with these founders when most of them worked out of a single bedroom or a home office. Over the past 15 years, the firm said it has learnt together with these 300 founders through their several ups and downs.
Accel’s biggest lesson through all these years is that it is essential to help the founders to lay the right foundation at the seed stage for their startups to succeed over the long term.
Accel has made 169 seed investments. It said the combined market cap of these firms today is over $50 billion. The number of jobs created by these companies is over 110,000. It said the micro-entrepreneurs created by these ventures are over 2 million.
Accel said when it started its journey in 2005 from a small office in Bengaluru, there were 50 million Indian internet users, and the combined market cap of Indian startups was $1 billion at best. Fast forward 15 years to today, India is a powerhouse in the global startup landscape and growing stronger each year.
“Armed with our experience, we are excited to contribute to that journey ahead, with our new initiative - SeedToScale,” said Accel.
Last December, Accel said it had closed $550 million for its sixth venture fund in India. The focus was on identifying and investing in seed and early-stage startups.