Co-working space provider CoWrks has diversified from being purely a co-working space provider to helping startups and entrepreneurs through accelerator programs with the launch of ‘The CoWrks Foundry’.
Focused on early-stage startups, CoWrks Foundry is a rigorous 24-week program that will help startups working in the areas of Urban Tech, Enterprise Tech and Social Enterprise.
According to Sidharth Menda, CEO of CoWrks, the company saw an opportunity when it realized that there was a lack of quality startups focusing on these three sectors. “We found that the reason why not enough people were focusing on these areas was because there was a need for support of the right mentor network and the right resources to help build and scale a startup. That is how we started thinking of an accelerator programs to build startups that have resilient business models and are focusing on the right thing,” he adds.
Eight startups will be chosen for each cohort to undergo a 24-week program during which they build their company, while learning frameworks to accelerate and manage growth.
Nruthya Madappa, Managing Partner of The CoWrks Foundry, who will be spearheading the accelerator program, says that the reason behind the genesis of this was that many startup founders struggle when faced with tough questions and challenges. “Sometimes things as simple as a pricing strategy for an enterprise startup can become a challenge. So you need a framework and support to talk about these problems, to understand how to think about product design, product research, how to do proof of concept for a solution and more,” she adds.
For CoWrks, the idea behind picking Urban Tech, Enterprise Tech and Social Enterprise is that startups in these areas face industry-specific issues that are not addressed by existing mentorship and accelerator programs in the country.
The program will work with startups on various business fronts, right from things are simple as building out a vision and mission statement. This, Nruthya believes, has a great impact on the kind of people you hire, the kind of company you build, the value of your product and how you interact with companies and client.
The program will also help startups with branding exercises and teach them how to communicate. The last one and half months of the program will focus on being able to bring their entire value proposition to the table as it plays a key role in their ability to raise and attract the right kind of attention as far as fund raising, sales, enterprise customers are concerned.
It will also work with startups on tailoring their pitches for every individual investor and also work with investors to educate them about industries these startups are in. There will be mentorship and support on go-to-market strategies and corporate connects as well.
The specialty of the program, according to Nruthya is the fact that the program will be entirely tailor-made for each startup. “We are picking mentors based on the startups we bring in and picking mentors who are not just industry stalwarts but also those who are also just 2-3 years into the industry for real actionable advice,” she adds.
The program will also be feedback-oriented where startups will also be able to give a feedback on the mentors to help make the program better.
CoWrks is also building partnerships with global experts from top universities in structuring the program.
At the end of the program, on Demo Day, entrepreneurs will also have the exclusive opportunity to pitch their product to select strategic investors, clients and partners.
The CoWrks Foundry will operate out of CoWrks, situated at RMZ Ecoworld, Bengaluru. Applications to the program are open until April 1, 2018. The first cohort of startups will begin on May 1, 2018.
“We aspire to nurture scalable businesses by investing in the ideas and the minds behind them. Leveraging the network of CoWrks and its members across the country will be an added impetus,” Sidharth says.