Kerala IT Secretary moots govt-partnered funding platform for startups

seeding keralaIndustry experts predict big boost in angel investment in Kerala’s startup ecosystem

Kochi: Kerala State IT Secretary M Sivasankar has proposed the setting up of a government-partnered funding system for startups, including a virtual platform where entrepreneurs can network with investors, find seed funding and market their products, to create a strong and more vibrant startup ecosystem in the state.

Addressing the gathering on the opening day of the ‘Seeding Kerala – 2 ’ meet organised by the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) at Rajagiri School of Engineering and Technology here, he said that the virtual platform would help young entrepreneurs tackle one of the most difficult aspects of building a startup.

“In an age where we have number of youngsters coming up with bright ideas, a virtual platform for seed funding would be ideal since finding investments to raise and grow the business is the most challenging part. This platform can even be used for one-on-one meetings for business purposes and get more traction for the products,” Mr Sivasankar said.

Referring to the IT Secretary’s proposal, KSUM CEO Dr Saji Gopinath pointed that a funding system at the government level for startups will be a pioneering initiative in the country.

“Seed funding through a government initiated platform will give more credibility and transparency to the startup companies,” he said, adding that KSUM is planning to induct more accelerators into the startup ecosystem as part of its Phase 3 development agenda.

The two-day conclave, organised by KSUM in partnership with Let’s Venture, Konglo Ventures, Nasscom and TiE Kerala, saw a number of eminent investors share their experiences of backing startups and their ideas to improving the support system.

Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, Vice President (Investments) of Let’s Venture noted that investors see a bright future for the startup ecosystem in Kerala.

“The coming two years will see a big boost in angel investment in the start-up ecosystem. The favourable scenario will spur budding entrepreneurs to reach out to wider markets. However, angel investors are short-term gainers. Once, these start-ups stand on its own and achieve higher dividends, it will be the right time to exit,” said Chaitanya.

Sharing the experience as an angel investor, R Kamath, the co-founder of Next Education, said that in the absence of an organized database it becomes harder to find good companies to invest in. “It is difficult to make angel investments even in the best start-ups. We need to have a good database, performance history and research to identify the ideal ones for investments. That will smoothen the funding process,” he added.

The opening day also saw keynote speeches from such leading lights as Rahul Alex Panicker, whose Embrace Innovations firm was recognised by the UN; Varun Chandran, CEO of Corporate360; Arjun Mohan, Vice President, Marketing at Think and Learn Pvt. Limited (Byju’s Learning App); Aronin P, CEO of Sastra Robotics India Pvt. Ltd. Jithin Sreedhar, CEO of UnityLiving and Smt Beena Ammanath, Vice President – Innovation, Board Director and Advisor GE Digital.

Anil Joshi, founder of Unicorn Ventures; Mehboob M.A., Managing Director at Secura Investment Management; Ashok G, Fund Partner at SEA Fund and Shilen Sagunan, CEO at SS Consulting also spoke during the event.

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