Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Can Leap To Unicorn help India's best startups find their mark? We're about to find out

The registrations have been evaluated and the selected startups have been announced. It's time to prepare India's top startups for funding success, as the next stage of Leap To Unicorn begins.

Published: Mar 29, 2023 01:22:29 PM IST
Updated: Apr 11, 2023 05:07:04 PM IST

Can Leap To Unicorn help India's best startups find their mark? We're about to find outDespite India’s vast reserves of talent and entrepreneurial skills, success in startups requires a multifaceted approach to creating a fertile environment and innovative ideas. The industry is buffet by headwinds like rising interest rates and geopolitical topics. Hence, its' necessary that investors, entrepreneurs, and financial institutions strengthen their links to sustain the growth momentum of the Indian startup sector. Leap To Unicorn, a platform for the growth of startups, created by IDFC FIRST Bank, in association with Moneycontrol and CNBC-TV18, is a prime example of this new-found synchronicity. With a campaign to put India’s most promising startups through a series of boot camp sessions, IDFC FIRST Bank gives them a chance to pitch ideas to a jury of eminent VCs and investors.

Nearly 6000 early-stage startups registered to participate the Leap To Unicorn program. Their applications highlighted the scope of their ideas, commercial structure, and network affiliations. Approximately 50% of the startups registered are from Tier 2 cities across sectors like Fintech, Agritech, Deeptech, Clean tech etc. All in all, it was an overwhelming response, which shows the extent of great ideas and startup potential in our country.

“Based on our integral association with the startups, we understand the need for a large scale multi-sector national level platform which provides an opportunity for budding startups to come to the platform and interact with investors and mentors, gain knowledge, showcase their ideas and potentially raise funds.”, said Bhavesh Jatania, Head Startup Banking at IDFC FIRST Bank.

Now that the top 485 startups are selected, they will go through a unique program of upskilling and empowerment. Over the course, the startup founders will attend boot camp sessions on various aspects of startup operations, conducted by an elite roster of mentors, which includes startup founders, VCs, and industry veterans. For example, how to build an ‘MVP’ from Akash Gehani, Co-Founder of Instamojo, understand the steps in building the right tech stack with Vinayak Hedge, CTO at Microsoft for Startups, and pick up fresh ‘Marketing Hacks for Startups’ from Mabel Chacko, COO & Co-Founder of Open Fintech, amongst a host of other illuminating knowledge sessions. These alone could be a great initiative for founder success. But there’s more!

The top 20 startups participating in the boot camp will pitch their ideas virtually to the ‘Leap To Unicorn’ jury, which comprises the country’s most influential VCs and investors, like Aakrit Vaish, Co-Founder & CEO, Haptik, Shanti Mohan, Co-Founder & CEO, LetsVenture and trica, Siddharth Pai, Founding Partner, 3one4 Capital, Bhavik Vasa, Founder & CEO, GetVantage, and Prashant Prakash, Founding Partner, Accel, India. Based on these virtual presentations, the jury will then shortlist the top 5 startups, which will have a chance to pitch to win a share of crores of rupees in funding* at the Grand Finale.

We’ve set the ball rolling. Soon, the 485 startups participating in the boot camp will begin their journeys to the pinnacle of success. Their achievements will not just be an impetus to the industry but also create a ripple effect that brings more innovative ideas to the fore and reinforces the socio-economic networks that make India a startup nation.

*T&C apply

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