T-Hub to rehaul operations, launch cohort-based incubation programs for startups
Telangana’s much prided startup incubator T-Hub often brings with it a confusion of what exactly it does. Is it a co-working space? Is it an incubator? If yes, what does an incubator exactly do?
Two years since its inception, T-Hub has run several programs, has had several interventions, sessions, corporates visiting, but there has never been a structure to this where it ensured startups utilized them to the fullest in way that it helped that startup’s business.
And that is now going to change.
T-Hub will now go from being a co-working space running some programs and interventions to a full-fledged cohort-based incubation program, much like a college university course.
“We do a lot of things, such as access to service platforms, programs, etc for startups in the community, which I don’t think everyone utilizes. And there is a complaint from the outside world that we are quite an elastic organization and its hard to get in. We want to change that,” says Jay Krishnan, CEO, T-Hub.
Starting May 2018, T-Hub will be launching a cohort-based program called ‘Lab32’ for its startups, where each cohort will run for six months. T-Hub will be launching a set of ‘playbooks’, meant to guide startups and help them through each aspect of their business.
The playbooks ensure two things. Firstly, every startup enters the program with certain metrics in terms of their revenue, funding, clientele, etc. The playbooks will help improve all these metrics directly and at the end of one cohort, these get measured again to see how the program has helped improve them.
“We want to make that grading transparent, which means that the startups who come into the program and leave the incubation program also bring their success out,” says Jay.
The second thing that the program and the playbooks will ensure is that T-Hub is a lot more involved directly in helping startups out. Each startup will be allocated a ‘buddy’ who the startup can go to at all times. There will also be mentors made available to help solve specific business segment problems along with some advisors who will be brought in through the program.
Jay says that the playbooks, created by T-Hub, are first of its kind and have been made with a ‘Make in India’ flavour. “Running a business in India is very different from the valley of elsewhere. There are some massive challenges in terms of customers, receivables is a major issue, markets have massive challenges in terms of price elasticity and fund raising is a nightmare. The playbooks we have created cater to all these problems in a localised manner,” he adds.
The idea is that if you can build a startup out of here, you can scale it anywhere, Jay adds.
The first cohort, which will be from May to October will cover aspects such as customers acquisition, unit economics, identifying different revenue streams, hiring strategy, personal branding, product management, design thinking, fund raising best practices, pitch clinic and more.
At the end of the first cohort, a startup can decide to either graduate or stay back for next cohort. Startups will then be measured based on their metrics, which will then put them in the second cohort, which will be from October to March.
The playbooks also cover other aspects such as marketing and branding, company structuring, accounting, sales discipline, sales strategies, etc.
Different companies could be in various stages. So, to be able to cater to all of them, 25% of the program will be basic fundamentals relevant to all startups, while the remaining 75% will be custom-made to each startup to directly help them in their businesses.
“We are starting off by asking every single entrepreneur what are the top 10 things they want from the program and the interventions we provide will be to fit all the 10 things that they need. We will be using real data from startups for interventions. All of this will be in the interest of making your startup successful,” Jay says.
So how does this change who gets in and how they get in?
Until now, the number of new startups incubated was a direct function of the number of ones leaving the building. In order to ensure more startups get access to T-Hub and its services, the program will be made available to virtual incubatees as well. This ensures more startups get access.
“You could sit anywhere in the world and subscribe with us and get access to all workshops, programs, interventions, investors, etc. we have put together a virtual program with visual content and a knowledge base to which startups can subscribe. We will also soon live stream all interventions and sessions across all platforms,” Jay adds.
The eligibility criteria for admission will be such that the startups would need to be market ready, should have at least one customer, and be a minimum of one-member team. If any startups miss on the admission once, they can re-apply. The admission can be for physical or virtual incubation, and the startup can be based anywhere in the world while still have access to T-Hub's Startup Buddy, Playbook, other mentors, workshops, and seminars.
In total, 100 startup admissions are open currently, which brings in seats for 800-1,000 entrepreneurs through physical incubation.
All the existing T-Hub startups also get to apply to the program. Applications for the first cohort are now open and will close on April 15, 2018.