Serial entrepreneurs Shripati Acharya, Bala Parthasarathy and Sanjay Swamy have launched a new start-up incubator in India, called Angel Prime. The founders have raised a round of capital from unnamed marquee investors.
In 1999, Bala Parthasarathy and Acharya founded online photo-sharing site Snapfish.com, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in March 2005, the same period when Yahoo! acquired rival photo-sharing site Flickr. Acharya joined Cisco Systems as director-marketing (new market development - emerging markets) in 2003 and shifted to the role of managing director in 2008, learning solutions for the company globally. He is now the Managing Partner at Angel Prime. Parthasarathy stayed on with Snapfish after the acquisition and worked on as the general manager and then as the VP (Europe, the Asia-Pacific and Japan) until 2010.
Sanjay Swamy founded mChek, a mobile payment provider, in 2006. Now, Swamy is part of the UIDAI/Aadhaar project, as are Acharya and Parthasarathy. Swamy is also the co-founder of Zipdial, a Bangalore-based mobile start-up.
According to a media statement, the aim of the incubator is to "focus on the requirements of the Indian business community with the objective of filling in the gaps that currently exist in the Indian start-up ecosystem."
Angle Prime will focus on three main sectors -- mobile payments, e-commerce and apps for smartphones and Tablets. It will introduce a start-up next month - a mobile payments firm. Next, it will announce a smartphone/tablet based e-commerce start-up, expected early next year.
The incubator has also brought on board Raj Mashruwala, one of the founding members of TiE, as its lead investor. "AngelPrime is filling a key gap in the Indian startup eco-system â€“ enabling entrepreneurs to focus on building great companies while relying on an entrepreneur-friendly, been-there, done-that set of committed co-founders, advisors and mentors whose incentives are squarely aligned with company success," said Mashruwala.
The incubator will follow a seven-step process while working with entrepreneurs. It will first attract highly technical entrepreneurs or those with business experience, followed by brainstorming to refine the ideas, moulding the ideas into product plans with an estimate of business potential and even helping build the first prototype. The veterans will handhold the entrepreneur through the next steps in growing the companies, be it validating products in the marketplace, deciding whether to pivot and launching. The three founders will help start-ups scale up their teams and customers and even raise institutional capital.