22 September 2016 11:48:11 IST

Coaches for the entrepreneurial run

Mentors guide start-ups develop international relations and raise funds

Start-ups need to invest in surrounding themselves with the right growth coaches to fuel their path ahead. Though venture funds and accelerators do their bit, much more needs to be done to help entrepreneurs maximise their true potential.

Just like every successful person, be it a Sachin Tendulkar or a Roger Federer, who accomplished great things thanks to their coaches, Rajeev Banduni, CEO, GrowthEnabler, says start-up founders need to find growth coaches who can help them achieve consistent results for themselves and their team.

Banduni, co-founder of GrowthEnabler, a platform for entrepreneurs seeking mentorship and advice, says start-ups with their disruptive technology and business models are going to fuel the economy for a higher growth trajectory. Banduni insists there is an urgent need to get many ventures on track since they are set to change our way of living.

“Despite the fact that we have so many incubators and accelerators across the country, start-ups are struggling to grow,” Banduni says. There are “approximately 220 incubators and accelerators in India with an average intake of about 30 companies each year. In 2015, there were 110 accelerators influencing just 5,000 start-ups. What happens to the rest? Clearly, there is a demand and supply issue,” he adds.

Huge gap

India’s start-up ecosystem is one of the fastest growing in the world with the third largest base, next only to the US and the UK. Observing that every start-up wants to be an investable business, and that every investor wants to invest in a high growth business that delivers high returns, Banduni opines the phenomenon is generic.

“It is seen across India, China and Europe. There is a growing appetite for starting a business. Last year, more than half a million new companies registered in the UK. China saw 1.9 million new companies registered, whereas in India, we have had 90,000 new companies registering every year for the past 3-4 years. The pace is only going to accelerate,” he adds.

To solve the challenge, Banduni says a system needs to be created “that democratises access to growth advice and insights, and makes it affordable and available to anyone, anywhere, anytime.” GrowthEnabler has been giving free advice to start-ups.

Agreeing with this, Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, co-founder, Venture Catalysts, a seed investment platform, says hand-holding is absolutely necessary. “Most venture capital firms tend to provide at least one year of hand-holding support to optimise the success of the start-up. Intense mentoring is required,” he adds.

Having incubated 35 start-ups in the last six months, Venture Catalysts enabled nine investments worth more than $1.5 million. Sharma insists Venture Catalysts is known as “start-up builders in the market,” and is committed to nurturing entrepreneurship across the country.

“We need to open doors for many start-ups, locally and outside,” Sharma says, adding, “Some need help developing international relations and raising funds.”

Enabling partnerships

Doing its part to rake in international funds and also intent on leveraging larger pools of capital for start-ups is the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). The bank has been able to commit close to ₹1,100 crore towards setting up of nearly 25 new ventures. Along with mentorship for start-ups, the financial institution is banking on international partners. Last month, SIDBI picked eight start-up focused venture funds for support to the tune of ₹428 crore. These eight funds, having a targeted corpus of ₹3,130 crore, are to invest in start-ups as defined under the Startup Action Plan by the government.

Supporting and mentoring early-stage companies, which are developing new technologies, are now a mandate at several big companies.

Accenture along with a dozen leading financial institutions such as the Bank of America Merrill Lynch, China Citic Bank International, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Standard Chartered and UBS have been fostering technology innovation in financial services start-ups, with a particular focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

Banduni points out, “Lack of high quality advice, mentorship, and growth coaching for the founders, from not just local but also global experts, is important. It can have a significant impact on the founders’ ability to make informed decisions, think big, and gain confidence.”

Banduni is of the opinion that coaching helps start-ups become more successful by reaching and sustaining peak performance. “A growth coach can enable and empower a start-up founder to maximise the true potential. The coach can use his own experiences, and his network of global relationships,” he adds. And since start-ups have limited access to high value and relevant advice and growth coaching, Banduni says the infrastructure requires urgent development.