The NetApp Excellerator Level Up- Powering Innovation 2.0 programme leverages its leadership position in data services to help the startup ecosystem grow significantly.
India is home to the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world. As per the IT industry body Nasscom, more than 1,300 startups were added in 2019, taking the total number of tech startups to 8900-9300.
As per the industry body, startups created nearly 60,000 direct jobs and around 1.8 lakh indirect jobs. In its report, Nasscom also stated that startups were more focused on the B2B space and more than 18% of all the startups were leveraging deep-tech.
Indeed, the Indian startup ecosystem has come a long way with stakeholders providing level-playing field to entrepreneurs through various initiatives.
Contributing immensely towards honing entrepreneurs is also NetApp, which puts its might behind tech startups and opens up a slew of opportunities for them.
The NetApp Excellerator Level Up- Powering Innovation 2.0 programme leverages its leadership position in data services to help the startup ecosystem grow significantly. The global flagship accelerator programme helps B2B tech startups up-level their products and hone their go-to market strategies.
Madhurima Agarwal, Director Engineering & Leader- NetApp Excellerator, in conversation with CNBC-TV18 said the NetApp Excellerator programme helps tech startups to build breakthrough product technology by arranging sessions with mentors, external coaches, internal teams, etc. She also shared how startups are chosen for the programme.
“It’s a multi-stage process. We call for applications and select them based on their relevance to whatever products and solutions they are offering and how that can work with NetApp products to offer a more powerful solution to our customers. We look at the team, maturity of the startup, etc and then we choose top 5 startups from the applications,” said Agarwal.
Many startups have benefitted from the NetApp Excellerator programme. During a conversation, entrepreneurs Shridhar Marri, co-founder& CEO, Senseforth; Nitin Gupta, co-founder& CEO, Uniqreate; Shivram, co-founder& CEO, Curl Analytics; Navneet KN, co-founder & advisor, Lightwing; and Ravi Chhabria, Managing Director, NetApp India, shared their experiences.
Navneet said, “We got access to internal POCs and internal access to various teams, we had conversations with various teams and figured out that Lightwing is a good fit within the NetApp. It’s really helpful for a startup like us. We also got access to industry events and have strategic conversation with partners.”
Meanwhile, Marri explained why startup owners look for programmes like NetApp Excellerator.
Marri said, “We need deeper insights into how to build structures, scalability across marketing and sales and so many other functions. NetApp being a global corporation brings us the value of how to build a structure and scalability.”
Shivaram said, “NetApp has huge number of solutions which we can use to build our products around it and leverage their and our platform to have a joint good marketing strategy.”
Meanwhile, startup owners can seek NetApp’s help even after graduating from the programme.
Gupta said, “The critical value which we got was around customer, data and B2B ecosystem. Our journey as a part of the programme last year was one of the most pivot journeys where we got clarity in terms of go-to market with some of the large enterprises, which is always a challenge. Even after graduating, we keep meeting their teams, seeking help to improve our products.”
Talking about the idea behind the NetApp Excellerator programme, Chhabria said the programme is a confluence of ideas, data-based ideologies, which benefits customers, entrepreneurs and NetApp too. Meanwhile, he also spoke about NetApp’s focus on B2B startups.
“They (entrepreneurs) are targeting the problems through data, machine learning, AI, cloud-based systems, etc. It’s an area we think we can contribute to their success. B2B is where the ecosystem comes together, this accelerator pivots a number of things to create extra value,” said Chhabria.
Like Agarwal, earlier, pointed out that the programme has 100% success rate as most participating startups increased their customer base, went on to raise multiple rounds of funding, and three have been acquired (ArchSaber by Sumologic, Adya by Qualys and Vitacloud by Apollo Group)
“It’s a programme for B2B tech product startups who want to conquer the globe and we at NetApp put our might behind them in terms of helping them get global reach and perspective,” said Agarwal.
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