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GSF Accelerator expands to Chennai; to incubate 40 startups in 2013

GSF Accelerator, a startup accelerator programme launched  last year by former Reliance Entertainment president and GSF Superangels founder Rajesh Sawhney, is making foray into Chennai as part of its expansion plan this year. It would also incubate 40 startups in 2013, compared to 15-20 companies it was funding earlier, Sawhney told Techcircle.in. Applications for the next batch of startups will be accepted from the middle of March and the next batch will start in late April.

“Our focus is tech, mobile and cloud, but we can go outside this space if there is something very exciting,” added Sawhney.

With its new base in Chennai becoming functional from April, GSF will have foothold in the country’s four key tech hubs – Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai. “Chennai has grown rapidly in the last couple of years as a leading technology hub and with GSF’s presence, the city’s integration with the global startup ecosystem will accelerate in the coming years,” said Sawhney. GSF is also planning to tap more cities soon, he added.

GSF comprises 20 investors and 17 entrepreneurs in residence while its global partners include Seedcamp and Dave McClure’s 500 Startups.

As a kick-off to its Chennai initiative, GSF will select four most promising startups in Tamil Nadu for a nine-week acceleration programme. Each startup will receive an initial funding of $28,000, as well as the support of GSF’s angel network. To support the selection process, GSF will take the help of four Chennai-based entrepreneurs in residence, but has not disclosed their names yet.

India-focused matrimonial portal BharatMatrimony.com and angel investors’ organisation Chennai Angels have also teamed up with GSF in this initiative. While Chennai Angels will provide mentorship and capital to the selected startups, BharatMatrimony will provide co-location space and other related services.

“Chennai, with its blend of arts, engineering, IT and work culture, is the perfect place for great startups in India,” commented Murugavel Janakiraman, founder of BharatMatrimony.

In November 2012, GSF shortlisted  five startups – Little Eye Labs, Hacker Earth, SharedCab, Zapr and Pokkt – as its inaugural batch of finalists picked from a total of 15 startups (see full list here).

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)