Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Coronavirus: Sequoia, Y Combinator accelerator programmes go online

The venture capital ecosystem is going digital to continue their startup programmes even through the pandemic, arranging remote sessions that cover the same content as the offline programme would

Pooja Sarkar
Published: Mar 19, 2020 03:26:36 PM IST
Updated: Mar 19, 2020 04:10:36 PM IST

Image: Shutterstock
As the Covid-19 pandemic unsettles the financial ecosystem, venture capital funds who have accelerator programs are now taking them online.

Sequoia India, which runs Surge, a rapid scale up programme for startups in India and south-east Asia, is going digital. All speaker sessions, meetings and deep dives between founders, speakers, mentors will be conducted remotely.

According to Sequoia India, “There will be no change in the content and speakers for Surge. The sessions are being designed to ensure we continue to foster a sense of community and encourage inter-geo collaboration amongst founders.”

Companies that are selected to be a part of the Surge programme get $1 million to $2 million at the start. It is usually a 16-week programme that includes a mix of global immersion weeks in China, India and the US. Some of the startups that were part of the last Surge edition include Freewill, a customised hair product maker, and affordable construction firm Brick & Bolt, among others.

The programme begins on April 13 with cohort of companies from India, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam. The coronavirus has created unprecedented levels of stress and challenges across the world.

Apart from Sequoia, Y Combinator (YC) too announced in a blog post that it is taking its summer batch of 2020 online, and its YC20 Demo Day too. Demo Day is the culmination of each cycle, when the selected startups make pitches to an invite-only audience. Twice a year, YC invests $150,000 in a large number of startups. During the programme, the startups move to Silicon Valley for three months, where YC works with them to refine their investor pitches.

For its previous batch, YC had picked nearly 28 companies. Indian startups that have been part of the programme include payments firm Razorpay, tax-startup ClearTax and social commerce firm Meesho.