India-focused startup accelerator India Internet Group (IIG), which targets investments in early stage Internet and mobile start-ups, has announced its formal launch in India. IIG, which has offices in Mumbai and New York, was started sometime back by Anirudh Suri and Nihal Mehta and counts among its advisory team prominent names like active angel investor and Google India chief Rajan Anandan and Exclusively.in founder Sunjay Guleria, besides Gautam Gandhi, Vijay Chattha and Anuradha Duggal.
According to the website, the firm can invest anything between $25,000 (Rs 13 lakh) to $500,000 (Rs 2.6 crore), depending on the stage of the startup and its needs.
Suri, who is incidentally also founder of personalised SMS- and web-based recommendation engine for mid- to high-end restaurants, bars and cafes EkSMS , previously served as a policy advisor to the Minister of State for Communications and Technology in the Indian government, where he focused on mobile, broadband Internet and cybersecurity-related issues. EkSMS launched a few weeks ago in Mumbai with over 50 merchant partners.
Prior to that, he worked at McKinsey & Company, serving clients in the consumer, retail and healthcare sectors and at Goldman Sachs focusing on investment research in the energy sector. Suri wil be managing the funds for IIG.
His partner Nihal Mehta comes with over 12 years experience in marketing technologies specially emerging adoption of mobile technologies for media properties and consumer brands. Mehta is currently CEO and co-founder of LocalResponse, Inc. which helps marketers respond to "check-ins". Prior to LocalResponse, (which pivoted from buzzd, a real-time city guide), he founded mobile marketing agency iipsh! in 2001 (which he sold to Omnicom in 2005).
Mehta is also a founding general partner at ENIAC ventures, venture fund focused on mobile startups and is an active angel investor including investments/advisories in Admob (sold to Google), Greystripe (sold to Valueclick), Movoxx (sold to Adenyo).
As part of India launch, it has opened a business plan competition, targeted at entrepreneurs living, working or studying in the US with plans for India-focused Internet or mobile technology businesses. To help facilitate their transition to India, IIG will provide initial seed funding of up to $150,000, besides the access to network of relationships and mentors in India, as well as other resources such as office space and legal advisors.
"Despite significant challenges, there are so many positive macro factors in India today - rising incomes, increased access to information and choices, widespread adoption of technology - which make it an attractive candidate to be a hub for innovation and disruption," says founding partner, Anirudh Suri.