All about Incubator action in India : When Incubators and Accelerators spruced up like ecommerce businesses [2012 Recap]

2012 was a defining year for Indian startup ecosystem – apart from the launch of few ambitious startups, the ecosystem witnessed launches of several incubators and accelerators in India. The year started with a handful of accelerators but today, we have more than 15 of them in India* (read: Incubators and Accelerators in India: THE List.).

Quick timeline and headlines

This year also saw this space receive much more coverage and wider acceptance from mainstream media including shows like SuperAngels etc. This has also helped reaching out to a wider audience, and in turn helped increase activity in the space.

Things that did NOT happen

  • Not much of action was seen from educational institution based incubators – the active ones (like iAccelerator) remained active and inactive ones didn’t show a lot of aggression.

Entrepreneurs are Incubating Entrepreneurs.

Startups in India need product/operational hand-holding/support more than a lesson in ‘how to raise Series A’ and this is where experienced hands are so important. 2012 witnessed the launch of incubators like AngelPrime, 5ideas, Kyron etc. started by entrepreneurs who have an experience in building products for the Indian market.

Apart from the fact that entrepreneurs are giving back to the ecosystem, they are also bringing a hands-on approach to building a business as part of these incubators.

This totally works for the startup ecosystem!

The Most Significant Impact

If there is one milestone that needs to be talked about, it would be the entry of 500startups in India (and launch of $5mn StartupWallah fund). 500Startups’ biggest USP is speed of decision making, which India based incubators/investor community has largely been lacking.

Apart from giving a direct connect to US based customers/ecosystem, this will also create a competition among the current incubators/accelerators and will force them to prove their worth to entrepreneurs.

In short, the equation has changed and is in favor of the entrepreneur.

The Not-so-Good News

We have shared our thoughts here : What do Startup Accelerators in India need? Brake and Clutch. Long story short, there have been too many of them trying to build either a real estate business (i.e. business center) and some building an iBanking business (i.e. we will take you to Series A) – just the way everybody was building an ecommerce *website* (only frontend/no backend) in 2010.

Not a problem, but the ones that will survive are the ones who stay relevant to startups and provide a deeper value than real estate/VC connect/motivational quotes.

In short, this is time to get one’s hands (and everything else) dirty. Apart from 500 startups, a few other US based accelerators are also planning to focus on the Indian market and will be here soon – for sure, it will be a super competitive 2013. Till 2011, ideas were chasing money, but now money is chasing good execution. An exciting time to startup in India and time to accelerate the growth!

Developing Trends

– Alumni networks – both educational and corporate – are coming together to support/bring connect to entrepreneurs. We expect to see some activity around this in the coming year.

– Incubators will be sharpening their focus on what exactly their differentiation is. Expect very different pitches, and a landscape that’s more favourable to the entrepreneur.

– VCs will need to get involved with early stage startups and incubators/accelerators and expect VCs taking a pie in some of these plays.

*For your reference, below is the list of incubators and accelerators in India.


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[This article is part of our 2012 Recap series, and is supported by CCAvenue.]

2012 Recap/ 2013 Trends
CCAvenue is India’s largest payment gateway solution powering thousands of eMerchants with real time, multi-currency, multiple payment options online payment processing services. The solution is powered by proprietary technology that integrates transaction-processing, advance shopping cart, auction payment collection facility, mobile page, risk assessment and fraud control, smart analytical dashboards, financial reporting and order tracking and many more features.