Top Eight Startup Accelerators in India


In a developing economy like India, accelerators and incubators play a major role. Many innovative programs are launched every year to lend a helping hand to the young entrepreneurs. Apart from the private companies, even the Indian government takes many initiative to fuel the startup market. With the growing demand for external support for the startups, startup accelerators are becoming a trend. There are various types of accelerators which different with the characteristics and functionality. But their ultimate goal is to support and help the startup entrepreneurs manage their business successfully.Though India may be slightly behind other Asian markets in terms of venture capital, there is no shortage for startup accelerators in the country. There are many well performing accelerators in the country but we have picked out few most active accelerators in India in the list below.

Indian accelerator

Founded in 2012 and based in Gurgaon, GSF is a startup accelerator and early stage fund operated by former Reliance Entertainment President Rajesh Sawhney. This accelerator aims to boost innovation and entrepreneurship through angel and seed investing. The larger aim of the company is to encourage flow of informed, knowledgeable mentorship capital to the startups in India and beyond. They ensure to align their resources towards sustainable development, engaging maximum response and outcomes within a defined phase The accelerator initially focused on the mobile and internet tech startups in India and later added digital media to its focus.

GSF’s acceleration program runs for 13 weeks and the programme functions around the concept of Hackathon. Products pivot many time as groups go through intense, often gruelling Q&A session with mentors and entrepreneurs in residence. The program consists of 20 intensive workshops by various experts from around the world. The workshops majorly concentrate on product strategy, marketing, technology, business strategy and venture funding. Quite recently, GSF started Mobile Accelerator Program to offer the startup teams an opportunity to interact with some of the brightest digital minds around the world. Startups will go through 14-week program with seven weeks in India, four weeks in SF, one week in Germany and finally a week in Singapore.

At the end of the program, GSF invests $30,000 to $60,000 in exchange of 5% to 8% equity in the startups induced into the global accelerator program. It also follow-on rounds of upto $500,000 into couple of selected startups after the program. So far, the program has funded around 40 startups and some of the notable startups in the GSF portfolio are Little Eye Labs, Pokkt, Silverpush, Zapr, Timesaverz, Daily Rounds, Customize and Airstream.

Founded in 2011 by Abhishek Gupta and Abhimanyu Godara, the startup accelerator TLabs is an early stage seed fund run by The Times Group. It focuses mainly at the Indian-based Internet and mobile technology startups. Based in Noida, it is powered by a panel of more than 70 mentors that consists of highly-experienced entrepreneurs and industry professionals. The selected startups get intensive mentoring from in-house and external mentors to shape ideas into viable businesses. It offers support through weekly catch-ups, meetings, constant guidance etc., They also incorporate high-level Venture Capitalist’s engagement.

The TLabs acceleration program runs for 16 weeks, takes place twice a year and ensures to take in not more than 7 teams per batch. The program has seen success with more than half of the TLabs startups raising more than $450,000 in funding on an average.  Till date, a total of 43 startups have availed the facilities of the accelerator. It has seen over 300 founder and employees and 100 mentors. Considering the demand of the Bangalore startups, the accelerator program is being run parallel at Delhi and Bangalore centres.

The startups that go through the program are offered $50k in investment in exchange of 8% equity and over $200 worth of free tech tools and infrastructure support. Some notable startups graduated from TLabs are MintM, Spayee, Skift, Dataweave, Musicfellas, Bluegape, Gradestack and Viraliti.

Founded in 2012 by Lalit Ahuja, the accelerator Kyron, run by team of serial entrepreneurs, investors, a cademic leaders and industry captains from around the world, is a next generation global accelerator for early-stage technology startups. The majorly focuses on startups dealing with enterprise, travel and digital media products. It helps the startups in various sectors like technology architecture, business strategy, design, finance, fund-raising, innovation and organizational effectiveness, human capital management, marketing and customer relationship management. It has recently teamed up with ANSR Consulting which allows startups to work directly with the global Fortune 100 companies.

Kyron has introduced a new concept of pre-accelerator that will take in around 20-25 startups. The startups will be put through a six-month incubation period after which the Kyron selects the companies for its accelerator program. The program begins with a boot camp organized in partnership with global academic institutions. It concludes with a week-long base camp that prepares the teams to face the demo day which is called as Heroes Day at Kyron. Heroes day marks the formal culmination of the program.

At the end of the program, every startup is offered with a seed funding from $20K in exchange of the equity of 5% to 10%.  Also, it offers a dedicated CXO team to build product/ market development roadmap for the post Kyron phase and access to Kyron for life resources like continued access to mentorship, online resources, Kyron alumni network, etc. The notable startups graduated from the program are ViaMagus, XpenseManager, Scandid, Teritree and Bookpad.

*Freemont Partners:
Founded in 2012 by Vivek Mohan, Freemont Partners is an accelerator and venture capital firm specializing in startups and seed stage funding. It mainly focuses on disruptive online businesses that cater to the EGeneration. The company calls itself as builder of businesses and not just a financial investor. It uses its strong global operational expertise to identify, incubate and scale businesses through hybrid approach of organic growth and M&A. The program includes mentorship, strategic direction and access to local and global CXO mentors and partners.

The firm has partnered with Mumbai Angels, MSGA Services Ltd, Nuture Talent to help the selected startups learn about business. At the end of the program it invests a seed funding of around $50K in the startups. The exchange equity percent is not revealed. One of the notable startup graduated from the firm is Natural Mantra.

*Health Start:
Founded in 2013, HealthStart is the first accelerator program in India to focus on the startups in the healthcare sector. Based in Hyderabad, the accelerator was founded by a team of successful group of professionals and entrepreneurs It majorly focuses on the technology enabled startups dealing with chronic disease management and innovative healthcare models. The helathcare model of active mentorship involves a ddicated curriculum, industry focus and active support from industry veterans and this is a key differentiator when compared with other accelerators.

The accelerator program runs for five months with the selected eight startups at Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. The program’s curriculum is designed in such a way that the startups get strategic inputs and get to work with global mentors. At the end of the program, every startup is awarded with the seed funding of around $40K. When they graduate from the program, the startups would be ready to raise the next round of funding. The program’s portfolio companies are Obino, Gympic, CarewayHealth, Elemencia Wellness and Healthians.

*Target Accelerator:
Founded in 2014, the accelerator Target is a firm vrun by Target Corp, offering intensive program for startups to transform the global retail industry. It mainly targets in startups that can bring about innovative and disruptive idea across five key areas – search, content, data, social and mobile. The program is designed to assist the early stage startups develop concepts that could help to improvise Target’s business and the broader retail industry.

The program runs for four months when it focus on transformative and technology-driven ideas to create solutions for today’s rapidly changing retail environment. Through this program the company works to boost the culture of innovation and tap into the startup ecosystem and offering the startups the opportunity to work with Target leadership team. The chosen startup are aligned with the vision of Target and are given chance to work with the Target’s massive business interfaces. The program has recently graduated startups muHive, Unbxd, InstaClique, Konotor and Turnaround Innovision.

*Infuse Ventures:
Founded in 2008, Infuse Ventures is backed by Government of India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and Technology Development Board, IFC, BP, Godrej Industries, ICICI Bank, SIDBI Bank of India and Union Bank. Located at Indian Institute of Management’s Center for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE), it offers clean tech entrepreneurs with hands-on business and mentoring support, an ecosystem of Indian and global partners and seed funding. Its interest lies in decentralized energy generation, energy efficiency, storage, green buildings among others.

Infuse Venture’s accelerator program is called PowerStart which runs for two months aimed towards Indian clean tech startups. At the end of the program, two startup teams receive seed investment of $40,000 for running the business. The firm has invested in Fourth Partner Energy, Ezysolare, GIBSS, Glowship, Karma Recycling, Surya Power Magic and more.

*Microsoft Accelerator:
Founded in 2012, Microsoft Accelerator is a venture of Microsoft group. Located in Bangalore, it is one of the major accelerators in the country. The program focuses on startups dealing with cloud, internet and mobile using Microsoft’s technologies. It offers eight different startup programs including Accelerator Plus and Scale Up to help the startups to grow and gain traction for their business. It has been associated with companies like Native5 that enables the user to build apps on all platform using a cloud network. The accelerator offers a great platform to network which is critical for startups.

The program runs for a time frame of four months, starting in January and July every year. The participating startups get strong mentoring, technical guidance and connections to other startups. With its global presence in 9 cities around the world, the selected startups can gain an edge when it comes to the experience of the mentors and its contact with venture capitalists.

In a matter of three years, 74 startups have graduated and benefited out of the program and more than 50% of the startups have raised external funding. Unlike other accelerator programs, Microsoft does not offer seed funding but offer Microsoft tools at no charge and also offer office space for another three months after graduating.