The Morpheus (TM), a startup accelerator founded in 2008 by the husband-wife duo Sameer Guglani and Nandini Hirianniah has selected 8 startups as part of the ninth batch of its Startup Acceleration Program (SAP). The accelerator has mentored 67 startups till now (not including the 8 of the new batch), out of which 50 plus are still alive and running. Without naming them, Guglani also mentions that 40 per cent of the startups of batch 8 have already raised follow-on rounds of funding. Batch 8 had 12 startups that included The Memetic Labs (Airwoot), Online Prasad, CVBhejo, MotorPaneer, MetisMe, Firmzen, Oyeweekend, Debuggify, Papyrus, Watchy, Skillzot and The Traces (read here to know more about them.
While he did not disclose the names of all the 8 startups (since some of them are still in the ideation phase), he did talk about the sectors they will operate in. These include pharma, loyalty/shopping app, telecom services, online education, online travel planning and an online sports community that enables users to physically organise and play various sports. The ones that he did mention are:
Yo Healthcare Services Pvt Ltd- Operates YoPharma.com, an online healthcare and pharmacy store that aims to provide good quality and authentic products.
Fruitchaat Pvt Ltd- A Gurgaon-based fruit salad delivery company, it owns and operates Myfruitchaat.com.
But why the decline in the number of startups selected?
“We had earlier decided on selecting between 10-15 startups for our programme and had 13 and 12 startups in our last two batches. But this time around, we consciously decided on selecting less than 10 startups, for the simple reason that we want to spend more time with startups from our previous batches,” said Guglani.
According to him, out of the total startups mentored, 50 plus are still alive and at least 20 can break out and become big with the right mentoring. However, deprived of that, they can also go downhill, hence the reduction in the number of startups selected.
The Chandigarh-based accelerator does not have a physical office. Instead, the mentors allot 10 hours per week including calls, video chat and messaging, etc. to the selected companies for four months, which is the duration of the TM programme. Each startup also gets Rs 5 lakh in funding in exchange for an equity stake that varies from 7 to 9 (down from 12 per cent earlier) percent, depending on the companies.
TM has so far made investments in 55 startups (since the accelerator did not invest in the companies of the first three batches), taking its total investments to 2.75 crore. It is also planning to do a road show (for relation building purposes as well as for raising funds) for the startups at the end of May 2013.
The accelerator has mostly worked with startups focused on internet, mobile, food and cloud sectors. Two new sectors added to the mix with batch 9 include pharma and travel, although Guglani says TM doesn’t necessarily sift industry trends while selecting startups.
“We don’t pick the sectors, we pick the founders,” he said.
(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)