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Sparknext to incubate 30 startups in 2016

Ahmed Aftab Naqvi, CEO & Co-Founder, Gozoop & Sparknext

Ahmed Aftab Naqvi, CEO &
Co-Founder,Gozoop & Sparknext

Ahmed Aftab Naqvi, CEO of Mumbai-based digital marketing firm Gozoop, aims to incubate 30-40 startups in 2016 through Sparknext, his hybrid venture builder and incubator-accelerator programme for startups.

Sparknext is currently in the process of setting up a financial vehicle that will follow up on early stage rounds of its start-ups. There is also a commitment to invest at a seed level.

This, it does through Sparknext Funders Collective, a loose association of HNIs (high networth individuals) and angel investors.

“Our average investment ticket size in the incubatees will be very small. However, we give a commitment to participate when they raise their angel round of investment from an external investor,” Naqvi told Techcircle.in.

It also has plans to form a professional angel network based on how the programme evolves.

Sparknext will incubate shortlisted entities from the consumer internet and mobile space as entrepreneurs-in-residence (EIR) for a period of 6-8 months and provide them with proven resources for idea validation, branding, UI/UX, technology, marketing, PR and fundraising, to build and grow these ideas into independent companies.

The Sparknext model is quite similar to that of Rocket Internet and Smile Group.

“This is a hybrid venture builder where there will be a mix of both incubation and acceleration. Then there is also the Rocket Internet kind of building a venture where ideas are conceived by us and we team up with potential executors and eventually make them co-founders,” he explained.

Naqvi added that the idea was to prevent startups from committing the same mistakes that others have done earlier.

Sparknext, which currently has six high potential founders and two EIRs has launched eight startups that include Fiticket, Happy2Refer, Campaignstars, MyDietist, Made in Heaven and Adfluenz. Currently operating on an invite-only basis, Sparknext will go open for other startups from January 2016.

The Indian startup ecosystem is being propelled by a 123 per cent rise in the country’s active investor count, IT industry body NASSCOM and Zinnov Consulting said in a new report. The number of accelerators/incubators in India grew by 40 per cent to 110 this year as compared to 2014. On the other hand, the country’s angel investor count grew by over 150 per cent to 292 from 115 last year, the study found.

India is the world’s third-largest startup hub  where three-four new firms are born everyday, according to a report by IT industry body NASSCOM and Zinnov Consulting. India currently trails the US (47,000-48,000 startups) and the UK (4,500-5,000 startups) in terms of overall startup count.

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