India: Zone Startups officially launched Gateway91, a soft landing program that will work with international startups and growth stage companies looking at entering the Indian market.
Zone Startups is a joint venture between Ryerson Future, Toronto and the BSE Institute.
Gateway91 is the fourth programme announced by Zone Startups in 2016. The other three include empoWer, Rise Accelerator with Barclays and Thought Factory Accelerator with Axis Bank.
Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Government of Canada, announced a partnership between the governments of Canada and Ontario to fund five Canadian financial technology startups to participate in the new program to help Canadian innovators seize the opportunities provided by the Indian market
Alan Lysne, Managing Director, Ryerson Futures Inc said, “Today, we are pleased to announce the expansion of our accelerator space, with the support of BSE, Government of Ontario, and Government of Canada. That makes us the only startup accelerator programme in India, to have set up a programme to support international startups. We look forward to assisting many international growth-stage technology companies in their market validation and customer acquisition phase in India.”
Ryerson Futures Inc. (RFI) is a for-profit entity connected to Ryerson University to assist early-stage technology companies as they grow and scale their businesses. RFI operates Corporate Accelerator programmes under the brand Zone Startups with several clients including GE, Barclays, Axis Bank, and Bombay Stock Exchange.
Ajay Ramasubramaniam, Director, Zone Startups India stated, “The last year has been really busy for us, with several new initiatives launched such as corporate accelerators with Barclays and Axis Bank, as well as launching empoWer – India’s first tech accelerator for women entrepreneurs. Over the next few months, we will be launching a few more new programs, focussed on specific domains.”
Further speaking to the media, he talked about how only three years ago Zone Startups began in February 2014 – in half the space it currently occupies – with the aim to be an accelerator and not incubator. More than 120 startups have now been a part of the accelerator. Besides the accelerator, Zone Startups is also involved in corporate consulting and corporate innovation programmes.
The accelerator monetises by taking a small equity stake (from 1% to 4%) and, on an average, it has taken 0.5%-1.5% stake in about 20 companies in the programme. It is also in the process of launching a programme similar to ‘Next Big Idea’ in two other countries whose names he did not disclose.
The Next BIG Idea contest, which Ryerson University has been organising in India in partnership with the Government of Ontario, Canada, even a year before starting its accelerator program, has attracted close to 900 applications and has soft-landed 20 hi-tech Indian companies at Toronto and Ontario, Canada – whose names include CitrusPay, Vidooly, AdSparx, Plackal, Survelytics, and Remitr.