Bengaluru-based gradCapital launches fund to support student startups

The city-based gradCapital will host an eight-week, intensive programme for companies founded and run by college students.
gradCapital Co-founders Prateek & Abhishek
gradCapital Co-founders Prateek & Abhishek
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Bengaluru-based gradCapital has announced the launch of its pan-India student-focused VC (venture capital) fund, designed to help college graduates grow their ideas into businesses. The company said it will invest $25,000 in each of the 20 startups they select over the next year, thereby investing a total of $500,000. In this venture, gradCapital is also being supported by The Innovation Continuum, based out of IIM Ahmedabad.

The company said it will host an eight-week, intensive programme for startups founded and run by college students. The programme will provide a layout conducive to the student -business owners to make sure they are all set to raise their subsequent funding round. “Apart from building a strong and sustainable structure for their company, these young entrepreneurs will leave with countless tools, crucial knowledge, a network of peers, mentors and investors, and funding of $25,000,” the company said in a statement. 

Each of the eight weeks that the startups chosen by gradCapital will be part of will feature weekly keynotes, 1:1 mentorship, office hours with experts and, in the end, an investor-focused demo day, said the company. It also added that it aims to bring out the next generation of unicorns started by founders from colleges. Over the next three years gradCapital plans to invest in 100 startups.

Built and run by Abhishek Sethi and Prateek Behera – both graduates from IIM-A and BITS Pilani, respectively, they have now opened the application process for its first set of startups. “We genuinely believe in academic spaces. Think historically, major societal transformations have emerged from university campuses. The LGBTQ+ movement, the microprocessor that runs our phones, or immunotherapy for Cancer - all have their roots in college campuses. Students have been at the origin of these ideas. And our vision is to cultivate these academic spaces. Entrepreneurship is a way to bring such strong ideas to life and create value for society. We are betting on such ideas,” said Abhishek Sethi, Co-Founder at gradCapital. He further added that with this venture they hope to help students build the companies of the future. 

While conceptualising the idea of gradCapital, Abhishek and Prateek ran a pilot to test their hypothesis. They ended up with a cohort of eight companies, including KiranaKart, Humit, Codedamn, Valerio Electric, and Neuralastic.

In order to identify startups, gradCapital has hired associates across the country and decentralised its operations. They have also partnered with student communities across campuses to scout for the best talent out there.

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