In a person’s life, formative years are of absolute importance as that period is critical for cognitive, social, emotional and physical development. In the tech world, Startups are like a toddler, yearning to grow into a formidable person. This child requires hand holding in its formative years and the Accelerators play that role of a guide and mentor.
As the world is trying to salvage and survive the current crisis and then think of thriving, there is a requirement of preserving the hope – normal in the new normal. Tech world seems to have some answers of hope and the Startups are visible signs of it.
Health Startups are leading the pack to make the pandemic bearable and e-commerce Startups are singing. They all were born out of the union of need and idea. After the life what next? This is where the Accelerator comes in as the guide. The Accelerator gives character to the idea, finetunes aspirations and opens the market.
What India is looking for from both the Startups and the Accelerators is – innovative products and innovative process. The Accelerator also has one more important task – to increase the risk appetite of the Startup community.
Most of the Stratups fail because they do not have adequate risk appetite to stay in business. Without huge risk appetite, you tend to fold up into your shell and rot, while bringing bad name to the sector and the sentiment of hope.
This is time to race as is evident from recent announcements.
Indian ecommerce major Flipkart has launched a startup accelerator program to support early-stage Indian startups in the tech and consumer internet spaces. It is called Flipkart Leap and it seeks to help business-to-consumer and business-to-business startups scale through a 16-week virtual program. Selected startups may receive US$25,000 in equity-free grants.
Flipkart Leap has taken birth due to the Indian government’s Start-Up initiative. Participating startups will gain access to mentors from Flipkart’s leadership team, master classes hosted by industry experts, as well as other relevant resources for building market-ready solutions.
Zinnov, the US-based management consulting company and Flipkart Leap partner, has said in a study that nearly 80% of business leaders believe that COVID-19 has presented a definitive opportunity to add tangible value to the organization through structured corporate Startup collaboration programs. Potential opportunities that these collaboration programs can explore include expanding program scope to new products, collaborating with global Startups from India, and engaging with stakeholders in overseas markets.
Facebook has launched two 12-week accelerator programs for Startups as it looks for new ideas and solutions to expand its commerce and connectivity efforts. Facebook’s Commerce Accelerator will select 60 Startups. The other accelerator program, called Connectivity, will feature 30 Startups.
NetApp, a global technology enterprise is starting an accelerator programme for women entrepreneurs, ExcellerateHER. Focused on women founders, this is a subset to the company’s flagship NetApp Excellerator, a B2B tech accelerator programme.
Now, why are we saying do business, innovate and thrive even in these days of uncertainty? Our answer is given lucidly by Siobhan Dullea, CEO of MassChallenge, a global Accelerator. She writes “when dealing with any crisis beyond their control, the best leaders will work decisively and quickly to save their businesses. But often, because of the churn of a crisis, companies are occupied by and focus solely on the short-term needs for sustaining their businesses; while this is important, what the past decade has demonstrated (and a few more before it) is that these times can also open the door to significant and valuable, longer term opportunities.”
“As then American Express CEO Ken Chenault said in March 2008, “A difficult economic environment argues for the need to innovate more, not to pull back.”
She wrote “data pooled from the early 1980s, early 1990s, and 2001 recession years shows that companies that invested in innovation during economic downturns improved their position relative to their competitors during the recovery period. “
Today’s business leaders should keep their eyes – and their businesses – focused on the future. But this doesn’t mean that companies need to double down on their own research and development initiatives or start a whole new internal department. Corporate leaders can efficiently increase their innovation efforts by continuing to cultivate relationships with and invest in Startups,” says Dullea.
Begin, accelerate and innovate.
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