Securing funding for an early-stage startup is a common challenge that many entrepreneurs face. While some opt for bootstrapping or borrowing money to finance their venture initially, not all businesses and founders prefer this route. As a result, angel investment emerges as a viable alternative for startups seeking capital ranging from 1 lakh to 2 crore.
While established angel investing groups and networks in India such as Bengaluru Angel Network and Indian Angels Network exist, there are also lesser-known groups that founders can explore to fund their startup in the early stages. Here are a few examples:
Rainmatter, founded in 2016, is a startup incubation initiative by ZERODHA that mainly supports fintech startups.
They offer fully-equipped workspaces, mentorship, and funding ranging from 80 Lakh to 8 Crore Rs in exchange for a minority share. This allows funded startups to focus on developing their MVP or product while Rainmatter handles the rest, including APIs, compliance, and sales. Rainmatter also provides startups with industry connections and mentorship to help them expand globally.
The biggest advantage of being a Rainmatter-funded startup is access to their client base of over 5 million people, which can be used to showcase and validate their product. Rainmatter has incubated several well-known fintech startups such as Finshot, Smallcase, GoldenPI, Streak, LearnApp, and Wint Wealth, and has funded other startups like CRED, Procol, and Jupitor. Additionally, ZERODHA’s Rainmatter Foundation is a non-profit that funds and supports startups focused on ecological restoration, fostering distributed and federated green economies, and livelihoods.
IPV, short for Inflection Point Ventures, was established in 2018 as an angel investing network with more than 7,000 members or angel investors who provide funds and expertise to support innovative entrepreneurs.
The founding team includes Vinay Bansal (CEO), Ankur Mittal (COO), Mitesh Shah (previously from OLA and Bookmyshow), and Vinod Bansal (CFO). Inflection Point Ventures has invested in startups such as Siply, Clensta, WAGR, Devnagri, RAAHO, Loan Kuber, Streak, and BharatPe, among others. The firm has also partnered with major players like Razorpay, AWS, Yesbank, Freshworks, Canva, Hubspot, Microsoft, and PayTM. Investors looking to become an angel investor can join this large group of other investors and invest in various startups.
CIO Angels Network
Anoop Mathur founded the CIO Angels Network (CAN) in 2015 as a CORE MEDIA brand, with a focus on investing in technology startups. The group comprises experienced technology professionals who provide funding to Tech or Tech-enabled startups.
CAN’s members include notable figures such as Manish Choksi from Asian Pants and Shailaesh Joshi from Godrej Group. Some of the startups that have received funding from CAN include PayTunes, Instasafe, Codemojom, and Aisle.
Entrepreneurs seeking funding for their startups can apply through CAN’s website.
Ah ! Ventures
Founded in 2012, Ventures is a leading angel investing network that has invested in several successful startups, including Testbook, INC42, Ketto, Aha Taxi, Baby Chakra, and Exotel. The network has funded startups across various domains, such as Edtech, Fintech, and Media.
Abhijeet Kumar and Harshad Lahoti founded the company, which has supported over 100 startups and funded more than 140 deals. Ah Ventures invests in early-stage startups with a funding range of Rs. 3-3.5 Crore, and it has had over 10 exits, with more than 25 of its funded ventures going on to receive follow-up funding.
SAE (Stanford Angels and Entrepreneurs) is a women-led angel investing group that operates as a Stanford Alumni Association group in India. It was founded by Paula Mariwala and Chaitra Chidanand. SAE India was established in close collaboration with SAE of Silicon Valley, which was founded in 2010.
SAE has invested in several Indian startups, including Unacademy, GyanDhan, KopyKitab, Terra.do, Multibhasi, BrainSighAI, and Memechat. Early-stage startups seeking funding from angel investors can pitch to the group through their website.
Shark Tank India has become a topic of conversation in many Indian households, as it features well-known angel investors such as Anupam Mittal (People Group), Vijay Shekhar Sharma (PayTM), Kunal Shah (CRED), and others, who are actively investing in innovative, new-age ideas.
In addition to seeking funding from popular or new angel networks and groups, a founder can also reach out to individual angel investors through social media, which is considered the best way to secure early-stage funding.
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