John Kuruvilla, former managing director of Reliance Industries' venture capital arm GenNext Ventures, has quit Reliance Group to lead Brigade group's accelerator programme for startups in the real estate sector. Most recently, Kuruvilla was senior vice president and head of ecosystem development at Reliance Jio Infocomm. GenNext Ventures CTO Apul Nahata has also left the VC firm and joined Kuruvilla at Brigade's accelerator.
Brigade's accelerator programme, an attempt to find innovative early stage companies in the construction sector, will mentor startups in IoT, smart homes, nano technology, cleantech, visual computing, augmented reality, etc. "We will help innovators and inventors scale their businesses," Kuruvilla told Techcircle.in.
The accelerator will be launched in two to three weeks. The programme will have two batches of 8-10 startups a year. The selection for the first batch will start soon and the programme will begin by October.
"We are looking at startups which have gained some traction," he said. Kuruvilla, who was chief revenue officer and head of marketing of Air Deccan and executive vice president - marketing at The Oberoi Group, founded two internet ventures—online realty portal Propmart Technologies Pvt. Ltd in 2000 and later Battery Ventures-backed group buying site taggle.com in 2010.
Propmart was acquired by Purvankara Group and taggle was shut down sometime after his exit.
He later joined Reliance Industries to run both its accelerator and venture fund initiatives under GenNext Ventures in 2012. Kuruvilla moved to Reliance Jio in September last year. Nahata, who was taking care of technical due diligence and investment recommendations as CTO of GenNext Ventures, too joined Brigade's accelerator programme. Nahata, who previously worked with Fujitsu and Qualcomm in the US, is also co-founder of TringMe, a VoIP service that enable users make cheap international calls.
Startup accelerators, which help early stage companies scale up, connect with market players and tweak business model, have been mushrooming in the recent years. For instance, at least half a dozen accelerators have come up in the past four months. Barclays, Axis Bank, IIT Roorkee, U2opia Mobile and Appiness Interactive launched accelerator programmes for startups operating in areas such as fintech, digital media, mobile app, etc.
"In real estate, startup investments are mostly in the areas of search, discovery and transaction. The innovations that take place in building technology and related areas should be supported and made scalable businesses," Kuruvilla said.
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