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Virtual incubator GrowthEnabler aims to draw small town startups with subscription-based advisory services

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Three former employees of research firm Gartner have launched a subscription-based online platform that will render advisory and networking services to entrepreneurs who operate in smaller cities.

Christened GrowthEnabler, the London-based platform is targeting startups that have limited access to incubators or accelerators.

It offers a virtual networking zone for startups to connect with potential investors. GrowthEnabler, which was founded by Aftab Malhotra (UK), Lars Lin Villebaek (Denmark) and Rajeev Banduni (India), offers services through video conferencing, webinars and webcasts to entrepreneurs.

The firm also facilitates one-on-one conversations between entrepreneurs and experts starting at a price point of $97 per month. These experts give live advice and respond to queries raised by the entrepreneurs. GrowthEnabler has 22 experts on board.

"In a country like India, where entrepreneurship is a way of life, there are hundreds of new startups opening up everywhere. However, a lot of these startups end up closing down in their first year of business owing to lack of support or advice during the early stages," Banduni, who is the India-head of the startup told Techcircle.in.

GrowthEnabler has advised startups like WowTalks, Delhi-based food-tech startup Binjj, US-based ShopinPal and Bangalore's Dogmycats, among others. They have helped companies with raising capital, making tough growth related decisions and expanding partnerships.

The GrowthEnabler board comprises of Sunil Rawlani (a technology veteran with expertise in strategy and transformation across sectors), Dilip Rangnekar (chief marketing officer, Tyco International), and Saif Mahmood, (advocate at the Supreme Court of India) and other Indian and foreign experts. The company is also in the process of signing ten more people to the team. Some of these advisors are also investors.

"Our aim is not only to address startups who are based out of metro cities but to reach out to tier 1,2 cities. We also wish to help startups who have fantastic ideas but have no one to guide them or assist them in fund raising," added Banduni.

Banduni was associated with Gartner for almost a decade after working with technology companies such as Symantec and CA Technologies. He has over 20 years of experience in the IT industry. While Malhotra has been with Gartner for seven years, Villebaek worked with the research firm for two years.

GrowthEnabler had secured seed funding in London early this year, however Banduni declined to share details of the investors or the quantum raised.

It intends to expand services to China by early next year.

As of now, the platform claims to have over 1000 startups on board. The number of non-paying startups who register to participate in different webinars is about 2000. Over 70 per cent of startups associated with GrowthEnabler are based in India.

IAN Incubator, AngelPrime and iCreate are among the prominent incubators in India.

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