The Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-Madras) has incubated a startup whose objective was to help other startups. Named as YNOS Venture Engine CC (Catalyse & Create) Pvt Ltd, the startup is nurtured at the incubation cell at IIT-M’s Research Park and works to enhance the success of early stage startups using Machine Learning and Data Sciences tools and techniques.
Founded by Prof Thillai Rajan, Department of Management Studies, IIT-M, who has been researching Indian Venture Industry for close to a decade now, has tremendous insights into funding issues at start-ups and he thus decided to start a venture himself and launch YNOS Venture Engine.
According to Thillai, only 6-7 percent of startups are able to raise the first round of external funding, which is low. The number improves in subsequent rounds, he says, going to 15 percent in the second round and 20 percent in the next.
It is the first round of external funding that is critical for any start-up, says Thillai. Startup founders have two options before them — either they can bootstrap the venture and fund it internally. But then, because of nature of business model of most of them,they want to focus on growth, for which external funding becomes necessary. Tillai thus, through YNOS, seeks to improve funding chances of entrepreneurs of such startups in early stage.
YNOS has raised seed funding by IIT-M’s incubation cell & Venture Intelligence, a Chennai-based market research & analysis firm.
Speaking about this venture, Prof Thillai Rajan said, “Information and decision making analytics are not easily accessible for early stage entrepreneurs. Sell-side intermediation is virtually nil for early stage start-ups. YNOS uses research insights and technology to provide information and intermediation services for early stage entrepreneurs. Using advanced marker analytics tools, our platform provides estimates of valuation and also identify appropriate investors for the start-up.”
The time has never been better for venturing and creating startups. However, startup mortality rates have not fallen. While the funding landscape has expanded, it has also become more complex. The proportion of startups getting funded is still low. The challenges continue to confound the early stage entrepreneurs.
The objective of YNOS is to help the start-up founders to navigate the terrain in the early stages of their venture lifecycle. The technology platform and hybrid offerings have been designed to cater to specific needs of early stage entrepreneurs. The gamut of offerings cover a wide range such as providing the competitive landscape for start-ups, valuation estimates, identifying appropriate investors, and hands on understanding of start-up fundraising.
Speaking on the importance of such an initiative, Dr. Tamaswati Ghosh, Chief Executive Officer, IIT Madras Incubation Cell, said that, “As one of India’s leading incubators with over 140 of deep-tech startups we are keenly aware of the challenges faced by early stage technology entrepreneurs, especially in raising investment and finding matched mentors. Services offered by YNOS are addressing some of these critical issues and I am confident that they will create a strong impact on the entrepreneurial ecosystem in this country.”
Commenting on the relevance of the offerings, Arun Natarajan, Founder, Venture Intelligence and an investor in YNOS, said, “Start-ups that approach professional investors for the first time tend to be under prepared on various fronts. This tends to cause a lot of delay in fundraising – if not completely derail it. By aiming to provide actionable information on this front, YNOS is poised to play an important role in making Early Stage funding process in the country more efficient. ”
Dr. Rajan Srikanth, Managing Director, Smart Kapital and President, Keiretsu Forum, Chennai Chapter said, “There have been several efforts to help investors find startups, but very little done to help the entrepreneur find the right investor. This is a very tough problem because information is largely unavailable and even when it is, they are anecdotal and unreliable. As a result, identifying investors today is largely left to chance for the entrepreneur. The offerings of YNOS would not only lead to better matches of entrepreneurs and investors but also help the entrepreneur to understand the start-up landscape that can lead to better decisions. This will benefit the whole eco-system greatly.”
R. Ramaraj, an active angel investor and Advisor, Elevar Equity, said that “Despite being most vibrant, navigating the entrepreneurial ecosystem continues to be a challenge for the early stage entrepreneurs in India. Starting with the competitive landscape and investor matching, the services and offerings of YNOS can significantly help young entrepreneurs in building their ventures. The offerings leverage insights from several years of research on Indian venture industry and use of data sciences tools and techniques.”
Via – UNIIndia | Top Image – ForbesIndia.com