Graduates of two premier institutes of India, IIM Ahmedabad, and BITS Pilani launched $1 million Venture Capital fund gradCapital to support startups founded by college students.
The founders Abhishek Sethi (IIM-A), and Prateek Behra (BITS Pilani) will invest in 100 startups in the next three years. They will invest $25,000 in each of the 20 startups they select over the next year, according to a statement.
gradCapital has hired associates across the country to identify startups founded and run by college students . They have also partnered with student communities across campuses to scout for the best hustling talent out there.
For the startups selected, gradCapital will host an eight-week, intensive programme. The programme includes mentorship, office hours with experts, and, in the end, an investor-focused demo day.
According to Behera, Co-Founder at gradCapital, there is tremendous value from Science, Commerce, Arts, and Engineering colleges. However VCs do not take these bets because it doesn’t fit their risk profile. "Students even feel disconnected from them - think about a quantum computer or a social music app. These companies often are missed by larger VCs due to a gap in the understanding of emerging technologies, millennial consumers or new kinds of economies,” Behera said in the statement.
Abhishek Sethi, Co-Founder at gradCapital, pointed out in the statement that major societal transformations have emerged from university campuses. For instance, the LGBTQ+ movement, the microprocessor that runs phones, or immunotherapy for Cancer - all have their roots in just one college campus. "Students have been at the origins of these radical ideas. Our vision is to cultivate these academic spaces. Entrepreneurship is a way to bring such strong ideas to life and create value for society," Sethi said.