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advantEdge Partners hires Ridhish Talwar as incubator programme head

Early-stage venture capital fund advantEdge Partners has appointed Ridhish Talwar to head its newly-formed incubator programme.

Talwar—who earlier co-founded gaming brand 'The Shark' and legal services startup 'EasyLaw'—will be responsible for identifying new startups for the programme in his new role, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

He will also be responsible for creating an ecosystem of mentors, partners and business linkages for supporting the incubated startups.

The VC firm, which was started in mid-2015, recently launched a six-month-long incubation programme for startups at its 10,000 sq. ft facility in Noida.

The incubation programme will have rolling admissions and it will invest up to Rs 15 lakh upfront in every startup in exchange for 5-8% equity. advantEdge has tied up with IBM, Amazon, Zendesk and Razorpay to provide various services to startups. The startups will also get access to advantEdge's infrastructure, on-call support services and free credits from these partners.

"The programme is structured to provide one-to-one attention to startups coming on board, unlike many other programmes in India which run batches. We want selected startups to focus only on building products and delivering to customers. For everything else, the incubator ecosystem will provide all necessary support. We are looking at incubating up to 30 startups over the next few years," Talwar said.

Over the last 18 months, advantEdge Partners has invested in 18 startups, apart from eight-follow on investments in its portfolio companies. Its investments include companies such as Rapido, Shuttl, TrulyMadly, ScoopWoop, IndiaLends, Smartivity, OnlineTyari, IIM Jobs etc.

advantEdge has co-invested with other investors such as Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, 500 startups and IDG Ventures. It has also been co-investing with angel investors including Rajan Anandan, Binny Bansal and Kunal Bahl, among others.

Several incubation programmes have been launched in India over the last one year. In June, Bengaluru-based Venture Factory launched an incubation and accelerator programme for healthcare startups. The firm targeted to fund up to five startups by the end of 2016.

In August, chipmaker Intel India, IIT Bombay's Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE) and the central government's Department of Science and Technology (DST) came together to start a hardware incubator programme. Called Plugin, the programme intends to take ideas at a proof-of-concept stage to the market. It will provide funding, mentoring and hardware support and physical infrastructure to manufacturers and designers. It will also refine startups' go-to-market strategies.

Tata Sons Ltd, the holding company of the diversified Tata Group, is setting up a startup incubator in Pune or Bengaluru to offer early-stage ventures better visibility to its group companies, according to a media report in November.

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