Deep tech startups are businesses that use cutting-edge technology to solve complex problems and create innovative products or services. These startups typically involve advanced fields such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, quantum computing, robotics, and biotechnology.
A workshop on ‘Innovation for Deep Tech Startups’ was recently organized by ACIR in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy, bringing together American and Indian experts and entrepreneurs to share their experiences and insights.
One of the important considerations for deep tech startups is intellectual property (IP). Because of their IP-rich and R&D heavy nature, protecting IP and developing an effective IP strategy is critical to their success. To address this, there was a session by Rahul Bagga, Founder of Aumirah, a leading IP consultancy firm in India.
Funding is another critical factor for deep tech startups. These businesses require significant investment in research and development. There are many venture capital firms and investors who specialize in deep tech startups, and it is essential to identify and engage with these investors early on. Considering this, the workshop had a session on ‘What VCs look for in Deep Tech investments’ by the co-founder of YourNest Venture Capital, Girish Shivani. The workshop also had a panel discussion with Indian and American corporate ventures like Nidhiya Raj from NVIDIA, Sivakumar Ganapathy and Santhosh Muzumdar from Johnson Controls, Shubham Sandeep from pi Ventures and Amit Chatterjee who leads the Strategic Initiatives at Intel.
Another key takeaway from the workshop was the importance of having a clear vision for deep tech startups. This includes understanding the target market, identifying a unique value proposition, and developing a roadmap for product development. It is essential to have a clear understanding of customers' needs and pain points to create products that address these challenges effectively. The workshop had a dedicated session on this by Erik Azulay, Executive Director of Nexus.
The workshop also offered the startups to have a one-on-one mentoring session with the experts where they could ask questions specific to their startups. Further, the workshop helped the startups to build a network with their peers where they could share knowledge, have opportunities for partnerships and offer encouragement, support and advice to each other when needed.
Read more about the workshop here: www.deeptechinnovation.in
Nexus is elated to announce the graduation of the 17th Cohort with 12 startups spread across 7 states of India. Out of the total 12 graduating startups, almost 60% are led by women founders. The ceremony was chaired by Anthony Miranda who is the Cultural and Educational Affairs Counselor, leading the U.S. Mission’s public engagement strategies and programming.
At the ceremony, Anthony spoke about the impact of the Nexus program. He said “Nexus has become one of the largest startup ecosystems in India. And we are so pleased to be a part of the success stories of entrepreneurs”. He also added that Nexus is an effective incubator that can lead to sustained trade and foreign investment. The most awaited announcement of the winner of the prestigious Nexus Startup Development Grant was also revealed by Anthony. The $10,000 grant was given to VertoX Labs, a company working on water body restoration projects through robotic devices. It’s real time reporting dashboard helps in accurately measuring, remotely monitoring and reporting on changes in environment parameters in water bodies. The announcement was followed by a pitching session by all the entrepreneurs.
The event was also graced by a few Nexus alumni like- Akriti Gupta of Canfem, Jasmeet Kaur of Xaper, Saurabh Mehta of Bioq and Sanjay Maurya of Ubreathe. The freshly graduated startups got an opportunity to network with them and learnt how Nexus helped the alumni in strengthening their startups.
Nexus is super proud to see the startups grow over the 9 weeks of training and wishes them well in achieving their milestones soon!
With an intense competition of over 100 applications received from all over the country, 14 startups were selected to join the 17th Cohort of Nexus. The Cohort began with a welcoming session by Darryl (Butch) Woolfolk, Public Diplomacy Officer, US Embassy New Delhi.
The 9 weeks of the Nexus pre-incubation program offers lectures and mentoring by renowned industry experts who hold workshops on various topics like legal compliances, funding, branding, and intellectual property. This week is an introductory week with a workshop on value proposition, a session by ‘Startup India’ and ‘Starters CFO’ along with one-on-one mentoring sessions with the Nexus team. We are extremely glad to welcome all the innovators on board!
Nexus, a collaboration between the U.S. Embassy and ACIR focused on showcasing the best of American and Indian entrepreneurship and innovation, has completed 5 years in India. Nexus has now become a family of 194 startups from 16 cohorts that have raised over $40 million in outside funding. To celebrate, Nexus held a Alumni Event on December 2nd at the India Habitat Center, inviting all Nexus graduates, mentors, partners and stakeholders. In attendance was the guest of honor: Chargé D’Affaires Ambassador Elizabeth Jones.
Ambassador Jones welcomed and interacted with Nexus alumni. During her speech, Jones said that Nexus holds a special place within the US Mission to India as a pioneering initiative by the US government. The Ambassador also reiterated that Nexus would continue to have an important role to play in enhancing ties between Indian entrepreneurs and US companies, particularly through technology collaboration.
The event provided all Nexus Alumni an opportunity to interact and share their progress with Nexus stakeholders.
We are thrilled to announce that Nexus has completed its first in person cohort after six virtual cohorts over the last two years. Over 150 applications from across the nation were received, and 12 entrepreneurs were chosen to join the 16th Cohort. These 12 startups went through an intensive nine weeks of training in areas including value propositions, marketing, intellectual property, funding, finances, and pitching to successfully graduate from Nexus. Startups from the sectors of clean energy, education, medicine, finance, and agriculture were part of the group. The graduation ceremony involved a pitching session by all the entrepreneurs to demonstrate their learning and was attended by representatives from 8x Ventures, Starter CFO, Aumirah and Startup News FYI.
The event was chaired by the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Patricia A. Lacina. At the ceremony, DCM Lacina spoke about the impact of the Nexus program and how effective business incubators are key components for startups. At the graduation event, the winner of the sixth cycle of the prestigious Nexus Startup Development Grant was also revealed. The $10,000 grant was given to Yotuh Energy, a company working on the cost saving electric AC systems for refrigerated vehicles.
The Nexus team congratulates all of the graduating startups and wishes each of them success in their journey and growth.
After 6 virtual cohorts, we are very glad to welcome back to Nexus our 16th cohort physically at the American Center! With an intense competition of over 150 applications received from all over the country 14 startups were selected to join the 16th Cohort of Nexus. A whopping 85% of the startups have women in leadership positions and 65% are travelling from outside the NCR region to attend the program. Before joining physically at the American Center, startups are required to complete the Startup Launch Program (SLP), which is a series of video lectures specially designed by ACIR of international experts. The 9 weeks of Nexus pre-incubation takes startups through intense sessions on topics like value propositions, marketing, intellectual property, funding, finances, and pitching. Each week comprises of a mix of lectures, workshops, and one on one mentoring sessions. Additionally, Nexus offers the founders connections with a pool of mentors who are experience and renowned industry experts. The cohort was inaugurated on 11th October 2022 by the Embassy’s Chargé D’Affaires Patricia A. Lacina. In addition to addressing the larger cohort, she spoke and encouraged each of the startups personally. The Nexus team is glad to resume physical activities and is all geared up to bring the best value to the ecosystem!
Nexus conducted the Incubator Manager Training Program at 5 locations in India from August 16 to September 2. The locations were Jodhpur, Jaipur, Chennai, Ahmedabad, and Visakhapatnam. Through this U.S. Government funded Incubator Manager Training Program (IMT), selected participants from around the country learned international best practices in planning, launching, running, and growing an incubator. Over two days of training at each location, the participants were offered operational tools and strategies to run a successful incubator for startups and stakeholders. The program brought together multiple incubators from the same consular region to a common platform, who have continued to stay connected via online communities. To conduct these workshops, Nexus partnered with prominent ecosystem players like iStart Rajasthan (Government of Rajasthan), and iHub Gujarat (Government of Gujarat) for venue and outreach support. Workshops in Chennai and Visakhapatnam were conducted at American spaces like the U.S. Consulate in Chennai and the American Corner at the Andhra University in Visakhapatnam. The workshops were led by Dr. Joel Wiggins who has an extensive experience of building two successful business incubators (including the famous Austin Technology Incubator), and conducting international business seminars worldwide. He also earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Business Incubation Association. The program received a 100% positive feedback. One of the participants shared “It was a wonderful interaction with like-minded people with a common goal of supporting Startups!”
Nexus Startup Hub, in partnership with the U.S. State Department and ACIR, recently conducted the Startup Combatting Climate Change Workshop. The workshop was held on 5-6th June at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi in conjunction with the World Environment Expo 2022 and the World Environment Conference 2022 commemorating World Environment Day. Leading consultancy KPMG in India acted as the outreach partner for the workshop. The two-day workshop invited 25 startup founders whose technologies are aimed to positively impact the environment by reducing waste or promoting renewable energy. Sessions like writing a technology description, understanding intellectual property and pitching to investors were taught at the workshop by Indian and American experts. The workshop also brought the participating entrepreneurs an opportunity of listening and interacting with leading investors in the sustainability sector, governmental organisations supporting climate action, leading American and India companies supporting startups combatting climate change, and other successful green startups, through panel discussions, Q&A sessions and networking events. One of the participants shared “The workshop was relevant, well-thought and organised. I connected with brands which I thought would be useful for my brand and us to them. There are surely collaborations coming in the future.” The workshop was concluded by remarks from Patricia A. Lacina, Chargé D’Affaires, U.S. Embassy. The United States looks forward to further cooperation with India on tackling the climate crisis and raising global awareness about this critically important issue.
Read more about Nexus here. Click Here
Nexus invited Vijit Chahar, a New York-based corporate and business lawyer, to help entrepreneurs who want to enter the US market. His practice is focused on helping early-stage companies incorporate, raise funding, and set up operations in the United States. The session was relevant for a startup exploring setting up a business in the U.S. The session was very engaging, with multiple follow-up questions from the startup founders, which were all answered by Vijit. The responses from Vijit were very practical and busted many business myths of the startup founders. The workshop received 100% positive feedback from the participants. Nexus is grateful to Vijit for bringing his extensive experience to startups, and we look forward to having him again.
We announce that we now have more than 185 startups in our bucket. Nine weeks ago, a group of 15 startups selected after 200 filtered applications from around India completed their pre-incubation training with Nexus. While some started with ideas and did their idea validation, some raised their seed grants, and some got their first customers. During these nine weeks of pre-incubation training, we created 15 more successful stories. During the event, EEST Minister Counselor Drew Schufletowski spoke about how Nexus is creating impact and helping startups in India to grab some of the deals with American Companies and the progress of graduated startups from Nexus. We congratulate all those 15 startups founders and teams and wish them well in achieving their milestones soon.
ACIR is proud to have successfully launched and executed the Startups in Defense and Aerospace Workshop 2021 (DAW2021), a fully-funded initiative by the U.S. Consulate in Hyderabad. The workshop was conducted from 9th to 11th December in Hyderabad at the GMR Innovex. DAW 2021 supported ambitious and innovative young entrepreneurs enabling them to transform their business venture into a sustainable enterprise and connect with the leading American and Indian corporations operating in the Defense and Aerospace industries.
The program was opened by eminent guests such as Principal Secretary of the Telangana Government Jayesh Ranjan, Mr. SGK Kishore from GMR Airport, and U.S. Consul General Joel Reifman. Technical sessions like writing a technology description, identifying the value proposition, and understanding intellectual property were imparted to the participants. In addition, we were joined by valued partners like IACC, Defense Innovation Unit, NVIDIA, SIDM, and iDEX.
The highlights of the workshop were three round-table discussions that offered insights into the defense industry with respect to the Indian, American, and startup contexts. We thank Bharat Forge, Ananth Technologies, and BDL for the Indian panel; Pratt & Whitney, Lockheed Martin, and Belcan for the American panel; and 114AI, Digantara, and Morphedo for the startup panel. All the speakers answered multiple queries from the participating startups, offering valuable advice and encouraging comments. Over the 3 days, startups were provided various opportunities to network and connect with multiple stakeholders and received extensive media attention. The workshop was concluded with closing remarks by U.S. Consulate Public Affairs Officer David Moyer.
For the first time in over two years, Nexus held a physical graduation ceremony for our graduates! The 14th cohort of the Nexus pre-incubation program graduated on December 1, at a physical ceremony conducted at the American Center in New Delhi. 13 innovative startups from all over India with over 65% led by women, completed the 9-week intensive Nexus training. The graduation ceremony was chaired by the Chargé d’Affaires, Patricia A. Lacina, who shared opening remarks and offered encouragement to the graduates.
The winners of the 5th cycle of the prestigious Nexus Startup Development Grant were also announced at the graduation ceremony. Resolve360, a medtech startup, and Black Eye Technologies, an agritech startup, co-shared the $10,000 grant.
A founder of one of the graduating companies said: The program was the best they ever had! "The way the whole program is organized, planned, coordinated, and executed is phenomenal. We came here with a simple product and didn't have any clue about its future, but due to the mentoring and lessons, we have been able to transform our product into a startup."
The ACIR team is proud to see the growth of these companies in just 9 weeks and is looking forward to the successes that will surely follow.
After an intensive 9 week pre-incubation program, Nexus graduated its 13th Cohort with 15 companies spread across 10 states of India. 65% of the total graduating companies are led by women founders. The virtual graduation ceremony was chaired by the Chargé d’Affaires, Atul Keshap, who shared opening remarks as well as encouraging comments on the pitches of all the startups.
A founder of one of the graduating companies said:
“Quality of the content delivered was amazing. Starting from basics and knowing which topic to spend more time on and which topic to move fast, the overall balance was the key to be more relevant to the founders. Workshops with such high profile personalities took the program a notch high. This program is a great experience. Thank you Nexus!”
The ACIR team is proud to see the growth of these companies in just 9 weeks and is looking forward to their successes that will follow.
Read more about Nexus here. Stay connected through our social media Twitter & Facebook.
For the Funding Week with the 13th Cohort of the Nexus pre-incubation program, ACIR invited Sudhir Kadam, an investor from California. Having an experienced investor like Sudhir brought to the startups a record of the first-hand expectations of investors from Silicon Valley. Sudhir is a Venture Partner at FYDA Growth Startups, where he focuses on growth acceleration and preparing startups to scale into thriving businesses with rewarding exits.
With the participants of Cohort 13, he presented and discussed the topic "What VC's Look for in Startups and How to Stand Out in Your Pitch to Investors". The workshop was very engaging with multiple follow-up questions from the startup founders, which were all answered by Sudhir. The responses from Sudhir were very practical and busted many investment myths of the startup founders. The workshop received 100% positive feedback from the participants. Nexus is grateful to Sudhir for bringing his extensive experience to our startups and we look forward to having him again.
In Nexus’ mission to bring the best American business practices to Indian startups, Nexus invited Dr. Cliff Zintgraff, an international expert in research, commercialization, and inquiry learning to help startups grow and commercialize in the second week of the pre-incubation program.
He conducted workshops on ‘evidence-based entrepreneurship’ for an entire week where the startups learnt how to segment, target and position their products, techniques of data collection through primary research, how to understand their customers better, and in return, scale and grow.
Dr. Zintgraff also conducted one on one speed dating sessions with the startups and provided valuable feedback on their technology descriptions. The workshops were insightful and introduced many best practices to the participants.
To stay up to date about Nexus and our activities join us on Twitter & Facebook.
Nexus welcomed its 13th cohort on June 14, 2021. With intense competition, it received over 120 applications from all over India, out of which 15 innovative startups were selected and 65% of the selected startups are women-led. The cohort comprises of startups from varied fields like CleanTech, AgriTech, FoodTech, MedTech, EdTech and others.
The 9 week pre-incubation program started with the Startup Launch Program (SLP), a series of video lectures specially designed by ACIR by bringing together international experts. During the incubation program, the startups will be trained on topics like compliances, marketing, intellectual property, finances, funding, and more by national and international experts. The Nexus pre-incubation program also offers rounds of one-on-one mentoring for all startups with international and Indian experts. All this is aimed to provide founders with a comprehensive market based understanding of their business, and support from partners in the entrepreneurial world, thus helping them grow and succeed
In addition, the graduating startups receive a host of benefits worth more than $10,000 from our benefit partners like Amazon, Google, Paytm, Zoho, TiE, and others. We are excited to accelerate the entrepreneurial journey of these innovative startups.
Entrepreneurs of the 12th Cohort of the Nexus pre-incubation program graduated on March 26, 2021. Aileen Nandi, Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs at the U.S. Embassy India was invited as the keynote speaker, she congratulated the graduates and shared words of encouragement. Anthony Miranda, Counselor for Cultural Affairs, Karl Adam, First secretary of Public Affairs, John Cabeca of the US Patent and Trademark Office and a representative of Nexus' valued partner India Angels Network also attended the graduation ceremony.
Fourteen companies (50% are led by women founders) from various sectors like CleanTech, MedTech, AI, EdTEch, amongst others, coming from 7 states of India have graduated as a part of this Cohort. Over the 9 weeks, startups went through an ACIR designed online Startup Launch Program in the first week, followed by detailed sessions on various topics like marketing, intellectual property, finances, funding, pitching etc in the remaining weeks. The sessions were conducted by experienced American and Indian trainers supported by workshops from industry experts.
Nexus is proud to see the startups grow over the 9 weeks of training and wishes them all great success for future!
Nexus welcomed the 12th cohort of startups on January 25, 2021. Over 115 applications were reviewed out of which 15 innovative startups have been selected and 40% of the selected startups are women-led. Startups represent various sectors spanning from agriculture to edtech, sustainability, AI, among others. The selected startups will undergo a 9 week intensive pre-incubation program, starting the first week with a self-paced online program - The Startup Launch Program (SLP). SLP is a series of video lectures from international experts on topics to be covered in greater detail during the remaining 8 weeks. Further the startups will go through workshops on various topics including finance, intellectual property, compliances, marketing, etc. along with one-on-one mentorship sessions with the industry experts. All this will give them a comprehensive understanding of the functioning and various nuances of the startup world, and thus help them improvise and grow. We are excited to support them in their entrepreneurial pursuit.
To bring the best American business practices to Indian startups, Nexus invited Dr. Cliff Zintgraff, an international expert in research, program design, and inquiry learning to help startups grow and commercialize.
He conduct workshops for an entire week where the startups learnt how to segment, target and position their products, techniques of data collection through primary research, how to understand their customers better, and in return, scale and grow.
Dr. Zintgraff also conducted one on one speed dating sessions with the startups and provided his valuable feedback on their technology descriptions. The workshops were insightful and introduced many best practices to the participants.
To stay up to date about Nexus and our activities join us on Facebook and Twitter.
On October 5, Nexus added yet another group of innovative startups from the 11th cohort to its portfolio.
After a rigorous selection process, 15 startups were selected from over 200 applications who will undergo an intensive 9-week pre-incubation program. In the first week the selected startups will be completing the modules from the exclusively created Startup Launch Program followed by practical topics of entrepreneurship such as finances, market validation, intellectual property, funding and more, covered in the later weeks.
As Nexus is sector agnostic, the startups have a wide variety of products/services ranging from medtech, agritech, sustainability, fintech, health and wellness, amongst others. Over 25% are women-led!
To stay up to date about Nexus and our activities join us on Facebook and Twitter.
Nexus concluded its 10th cohort of 15 impressive start-ups on the 18th of August. The 15 start-ups were chosen from over 240 applications received from across India and represent diverse industry sectors such as Agritech, Healthtech, Logistics, Cleantech, Legal and others. All the start-ups completed the intense virtual eight-week pre-incubation training program that featured personalized mentoring and workshops led by expert speakers and industry leaders from India and the United States. Considering the current circumstances, Nexus had to change its usual classroom format to an online program with our instructors conducting classes virtually. The Nexus graduation ceremony was held on the 20th of August, and was also held virtually. The chief guests of the event were the Charge d'Affairs of the U.S. Embassy, Edgard Kagan, and the Director of PHD Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Jatinder Singh. The graduating start-ups delivered two-minute lightning pitches in front of the virtual audience, which included industry experts and government officials.
On May 28 - 29th ACIR, in partnership with Nexus, successfully completed an advanced two-day workshop for 25 women entrepreneurs hailing from different regions of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
This two-day workshop was the culmination of a final part of the two-part series of workshops under the Young Women Entrepreneurs of Andhra Pradesh (YLEAP) program, supported by the U.S. State Department, and the U.S. Consulate General in Hyderabad.
As the first part of the program, a series of one-day virtual workshops were organized in April for three different regions in Andhra Pradesh: Visakhapatnam, Vijaywada, and Tirupati. Twenty women entrepreneurs were selected from each of these regions for these one-day workshops.
From these initial one-day workshops, 25 selected entrepreneurs were then invited to this advanced two-day virtual workshop where they were exposed to more in-depth, advanced business training conducted by Indian and international experts.
The workshops focused on practical skills for scaling and growing businesses and included topics such as defining value proposition according to the audience, understanding marketing techniques, business model innovation, and community building.
At the end of the workshops, all the women entrepreneurs got a chance to become part of a regional and national group of women entrepreneurs in Andhra Pradesh. These groups were the direct result of the peer-to-peer learning process followed during all the workshops. These women entrepreneurs will continue to thrive, support each other and will continue to be exposed to all the opportunities available to them in the future through these groups, as well as by Nexus and ACIR.
The startups had a wide variety of products/services ranging from medtech, agritech, sustainability, fintech, health and wellness amongst others. The feedback was universally positive, with 95% of the participants giving a rating of “excellent” or “very good.”
This was ACIR’s second successful state level intervention in India to support women entrepreneurs, following the successful program in Rajasthan. Nexus and ACIR will continue to build the necessary support infrastructure needed for women entrepreneurs to thrive in India and across the world.
To stay up to date about Nexus and our activities join us on Facebook and Twitter.
About the U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad Under the leadership of the Consul General, the United States Consulate General in Hyderabad promotes U.S. interests and the U.S.-India bilateral relationship in the states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. The Consulate does so through diplomatic and cultural relations with government officials, the business community, and the general public. Established in 2009, the U.S. Consulate General in Hyderabad is the first U.S. diplomatic office to open in India since India’s independence. It is but one reflection of the United States’ commitment to strengthening its relationship and engagement with the people and Government of India.
Nexus concluded its 9th cohort of 7 impressive start-ups on the 31st of March. The 7 start-ups were chosen from over 240 applications received from across India and represented diverse industry sectors such as the Medical, Educational, Financial, Aerospace and Sustainability sectors.
All the start-ups completed the intense nine-week pre-incubation training program that featured, in addition to the regular classwork, a structured online Innovation Readiness program from the University of Texas, personalized mentoring and workshops led by expert speakers and industry leaders from India and the United States.
Considering the current circumstances, Nexus had to change to an online model half way through the program. One could say, we ran a virtual cohort with our instructors conducting classes from the safety of their homes. On graduation day, unlike the graduation ceremony and reception that we usually have, we had a virtual session where the graduating start-ups made two-minute lightning pitches amongst a closed group of people. Please check out our latest graduates here: https://startupnexus.in/portfolio.html
"Nexus celebrated its graduation ceremony by honouring its 8th cohort of 8 impressive start-ups on 6th of Dec 2019." The 8 graduating start-ups were chosen from over 100 applications received from across India and represented such diverse industry sectors such as medical, blockchain, sustainability etc. The Chief Guest of the event was the Director of PhD Chambers of Commerce, Dr Jatinder Singh.
All the start-ups completed the intense nine-week pre-incubation training program that features, in addition to the regular classwork, a structured online Innovation Readiness program from the University of Texas, personalized mentoring and workshops led by expert speakers and industry leaders from India and the United States.
The graduating start-ups made two-minute lightning pitches in front of the audience, which included industry experts, mentors, investors and government officials. Nexus is accepting applications for its 9th cohort.
India ranks 3 rd globally with more than 4200 startups in the ecosystem, but only a few startups actually see the light of the day, one of the reasons being lack of funding in spite of the increase in the number of investors in the Indian startup ecosystem. To address this, Nexus partnered with Headstart Delhi to host “Startup Saturday” at the American Center on Jan 11, 2020. The theme of the event was “All about Funding and Pitching”, and it covered a wide range of topics from “How to seek early-stage funding” to “Pitch the idea to investors”. Investors and entrepreneurs such as Pallav Pandey, Founder and CEO of FastFox, Dr. Mansi Aggarwal, Partner at Alkemy Ventures, Ashu Agarwal, Investor and Mentor at the Founder Institute were all part of the different panel discussions held at the event. More than 120 entrepreneurs participated in the event.
Headstart is India’s largest grassroot level organization that was founded in 2008 to support entrepreneurships and startups in the country.
With the launch of its seventh cohort on June 10, Nexus added yet another group of innovative startups to its ever growing portfolio.
After a rigorous selection process, 11 startups were selected from over 125 applications. These startups will undergo an intensive 10-week “pre-incubation” program where they will be trained in practical topics of entrepreneurship such as finances, market validation, intellectual property, funding and more.
As Nexus is sector agnostic, the startups have a wide variety of products/services ranging from solar water ATMs, paperless receipts solution to a mushroom production company providing work to more than 2000 women.
Once the startups graduate the program in March, a select few will be offered the chance for long-term incubation of up to eight additional months at the Nexus Center.
To stay up to date about Nexus and our activities join us on Facebook and Twitter.
Nexus celebrated its graduation ceremony by honoring its sixth cohort of 15 impressive startups on Friday, March 1st. The 15 graduating startups were chosen from over 100 applications received from across India and represented such diverse industry sectors such as medical, material science, environmental, telecommunications and manufacturing. The graduates included startups from its South Asian Connect sister program with four innovators joining from Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
All the startups completed the intense nine-week pre-incubation training program that features, in addition to the regular classwork, a structured online Innovation Readiness program from the University of Texas, personalized mentoring and workshops led by expert speakers and industry leaders from India and the United States.
At the end of the gradation ceremony, four startups – Lifaffa, Leonite Labs, Adavor Labs, and TalkOye – were selected for long-term incubation at Nexus. During the 8-month additional incubation these companies will be further supported with training, mentoring and networking opportunities to scale up their businesses while residing at the Nexus facility.
The U.S. Embassy’s Minister for Economic Affairs, Mr. Robert Garverick, along with Mr. Conrad Turner, Cultural Affairs Officer, addressed the graduating startups. During his address, Mr. Turner laid a special emphasis on the importance of ethics in conducting business and advised the startups to be harbingers of honest business practices.
The graduating startups made two-minute lightning pitches in front of the audience, which included industry experts, mentors, investors and government officials. Several start-ups also exhibited their products to the audience during the reception that followed the graduation. Nexus will start accepting applications for its seventh cohort in mid March.
Incubatees of the 6th cohort at Nexus had an interactive session on term sheets by Ashwini Vittalacha, of Samvad Partners on February 27th. Sameer Malik, Program Manager for Nexus said: “Most start-ups focus exclusively on just perfecting their pitch and when successful, don’t have a clue on how to understand the term sheet that follows which defines the actual investment. Given that most startups do not have legal backgrounds and have not raised funding before its important that we bring in experts that can help them go through the basics.”
In the first part of the session, Ashwini explained the details of a typical term sheet and demystified some of the jargon associated with them. The second half of the session was an interactive Q&A session where the startups shared some of the difficulties they have faced with investors and legal matters. The session on term sheets was the third and final Nexus workshop during “Funding Week” for the 6th cohort.
For more information about Samvad, please visit: https://samvadpartners.com
Every startup needs to have a Go-to-Market strategy to find the right customer to deliver relevant products, and often than not, it is the determining step for a startup’s success. To address this, Nexus hosted a Masterclass on the 27th of July for entrepreneurs and startups from across the country.
The Masterclass was conducted by Nidhi Pant, an Acumen Fellow, and the Co-Founder of Nexus startup S4S Technologies, a near-farm food processing platform, converting farm losses into value-added products. The session emphasized the importance of backward mapping to understand the journey of a customer before making a purchase, to better understand the product-market fit. The speaker also touched upon the various aspects of market analysis, including product, channel, and price discovery. The candid Q&A session consisted of nuggets of wisdom from Nidhi based on her journey as an entrepreneur.
The Masterclass received an overwhelming response on social media, and it reached more than 13,000 people, both on Nexus and the American Center Facebook pages! We had more than 1200 participants who were actively engaged during the webinar.
The Masterclass was a great success, and Nexus will continue to host more such Masterclasses in the coming weeks to help start-ups and entrepreneurs navigate their entrepreneurial journey.
This week, Nexus organized a week-long training program on "Evidence-based Entrepreneurship". The sessions were conducted by Dr. Cliff Zintgraff, an expert in research, program design, and inquiry learning to help startups grow and commercialize.
Throughout the entire week, the startups learnt various techniques of collecting data through primary research to understand their customers better, and in return, scale and grow.
We were glad to have Dr. Zintgraff's insights and his continued support of Nexus!
In the times of the global pandemic, the economy, the market dynamics, the target audience- everything is in a state of flux. The dilemma of whether to hold back or dive right into it is not unfounded. To address this dilemma, Nexus conducted a virtual Masterclass on the 28th of May for startups and entrepreneurs from across the country on “Go To Market in COVID Times: Dissolving Dilemmas and Creating Opportunities”. It was conducted by Ruchika Malhotra, CEO of repliCMO, a marketing consulting firm.
The Masterclass was a great success, received an overwhelming response on social media, reaching more than 4000 people, both on the Nexus and the American Center Facebook pages! Nexus will continue to host more such Masterclasses in the coming weeks to help start-ups and entrepreneurs navigate these tough times.
In the times of the current global pandemic, a question of vital importance these days is "Should the coronavirus impact qualify as a Force Majeure event?"
Force Majeure is French for "superior force." An event is qualified as Force Majeure when it's beyond human control and would save the performing party from consequences leading to a breach of contract. To address the legal remedies available for start-ups in the current economic crisis, Nexus conducted a virtual Masterclass on the 15th of April for entrepreneurs and start-ups from across the country. It was conducted by Mr. Rohit Jain, a senior associate from Singhania & Partners LLP. The Masterclass covered topics on the legal implication of the current scenario emerging alongside the COVID-19 crisis on the performance of the contracts entered by start-ups.
The Masterclass received an overwhelming response on social media, and it reached more than 12,000 people, both on Nexus and the American Center Facebook pages! We had more than 1200 participants who were actively engaged during the webinar.
The Masterclass was a great success, and Nexus will continue to host more such Masterclasses in the coming weeks to help start-ups and entrepreneurs navigate these tough times.
Attorney Vijit Chahar sends his replies to pending questions left at the end of last week’s ‘Doing Business in the U.S.’ webinar.
Q. 1: What is the legal condition of the PayPal bank account and the Payoneer account?
A: I will address PayPal since I am not familiar with Payoneer. Legally speaking, PayPal is not a bank. Business and consumer accounts in US banks are insured up to $250,000 by the Federal Government. PayPal accounts are not. This means that if a bank goes bankrupt, depositors will be compensated up to $250,000 while PayPal accounts will not. More practically, you cannot deposit checks in a PayPal account and serious business transactions happen over regular banking channels. I think you should have a bank account into which money received through PayPal should be deposited so you can use PayPal for small transactions and your bank account for regular business transactions. As far as Indian law is concerned, foreign exchange transactions have to be conducted over regular banking channels through an Authorized Dealer Bank so PayPal will not be suitable for most types of foreign transactions and can cause problems in the long run.
Q. 2: How does the IPR protect company interests?
A: As I mentioned in my talk, IPR gives defensive and offensive rights. By defensive rights, I mean it protects you from claims that you have infringed the IP of a third party. The burden of proof shifts to them to show that your patent or copyright was wrongfully granted rather than you being responsible for proving that you did not violate their IP. Offensively, registered IP helps you to prohibit any third party from selling goods and services that violate your IP. By having registered IP, it is easier for you to prove that you indeed have the IPR that you claim you have, you can get statutory damages (i.e. you can be awarded substantial money without having to show how the infringement caused losses to you and how much loss you incurred), you can be awarded the costs you incurred in the case you brought to prevent the third party from infringing your IP and lastly, you can register your IP with the US Customs and Border Protection which will automatically try and prevent any goods that violate your IP from being imported into the U.S.
Q. 3: How much variation is expected in federal vs state laws for new businesses?
A: You have to comply with both federal and state laws. This means complying with the stricter of the two and when they require different things, you must comply with both. By and large, federal and state law do not conflict and it is possible to do so with good legal counsel. Since new businesses, based on the nature of the business, have to comply with different areas of law, it is not possible to answer in greater detail. If you are asking whether the variation in state and federal laws is small enough that you can restrict yourself to dealing with one or the other, the answer is definitely no.
More Indian start-ups are looking to incorporate their businesses overseas. The United States is one of the most preferred destinations for start-ups from across the world. To address this, Nexus conducted a virtual Masterclass on the 8th of April for entrepreneurs and start-ups looking to take advantage of business opportunities in the United States. It was conducted by Mr. Vijit Chahar, a licensed attorney in the United States and India, with a law practice focused on India-U.S. business transactions. The Masterclass provided an overview of key U.S. laws that are relevant to planning business deals with U.S. clients, negotiating effective contracts, and raising funds from the U.S. capital market. The Masterclass covered topics to help start-ups identify potential legal complications that one faces when entering the U.S. market.
The Masterclass received an overwhelming response on social media and it reached more than 18,000 people, both on Nexus and the American Center Facebook page! We had more than 170 participants who were actively engaged during the webinar, and we had participants from countries like Ukraine and Sri Lanka as well.
Our next Masterclass is on Wednesday, and it will throw light on the implications of the COVID-19 crisis on contracts entered by start-ups. Join us live on Facebook at 3 PM!
According to the Economic Times, there are more than 50,000 registered startups in India, but, more than 90% of them fail every year. According to CB Insights, a tech market intelligence platform, 14% of these startups fail due to poor marketing. Startups require both offline and online media not just to acquire customers, but also to build their brand, take over competition and carve out a niche for themselves in their respective sector. The questions that often cloud a founder’s mind are, “How much cash do I spend on marketing?”, “How have companies like Flipkart built a brand- what is the secret sauce behind it?” and so forth. To address them, Nexus conducted a masterclass on “Ad Equity Model to Leapfrog Growth for Startups”. This was done in partnership with Brand Capital, the investment arm of The Times Group, India’s largest media conglomerate.
Intellectual property is crucial for startups. It’s one of the surest ways that startups can succeed against larger rivals. When a startup has a strong defense of its intellectual property its valuation increases, and it is more attractive to investors. (Startups need to know that intellectual property is more than just patents and how to file for protection, both in India and internationally). In order to spread this awareness, Nexus, in collaboration with Adastra IP, a law firm specializing in IP, hosted a masterclass on Jan 15. More than 40 people attended the masterclass. Through these masterclasses, Nexus aims to provide support larger support to the startup ecosystem in India.
Every co-founder situation is different, but one common problem that keeps propping up is how founders engage in conflict with each other. To address this, Nexus conducted a masterclass on “Dispute Resolution for Startups”. This was done in partnership with Singhania and Partners and covered the different ways of tackling such situation. More than 40 people attended the session.
Nexus, the startup incubator at the American Center, and DO School, a global organization that believes in creating impact through entrepreneurship collaborated together to discuss women- related issues, and to promote women entrepreneurship in India. The theme of this year’s DO Day was “She Wins We Win”, and it was held at the American Center in New Delhi with Fertility Dost, India’s only platform which deals with male and female fertility issues. More than 30 people participated in the workshop to co-create solutions on how to make healthcare accessible to women of all backgrounds. More than 1 lakh people showed their support for the event through various social media channels.
On August 3, TiE Delhi-NCR organized a grand convocation ceremony for budding student entrepreneurs at the American Center in association with Nexus. Conrad Turner, Counsellor for Cultural Affairs, U.S. Embassy, New Delhi was present as the guest of honor. The winning teams of the regional finals were felicitated along with other participants. The top 3 teams were Phoolvari (a startup providing support for gardening), Zap-E-Scrap (a startup aimed at effective management and safe disposal of e-waste) and Senior Saathi (a tool to manage health of elderly and incapacitated population who are unable to move and need constant care).
The overarching goal of TYE is to train driven high school students and foster entrepreneurial skills among them. It encourages young students to brainstorm ideas and turn them into lucrative business models. By recognizing potential and offering support in terms of mentorship and finances, TYE is facilitating a vibrant startup ecosystem in India.
Nexus will continue to play an active role as an entrepreneurial ecosystem enabler by bringing together different stakeholders for development and mentoring of the startup ecosystem.
Nexus entrepreneurs learn to connect to markets, build evidence for their product market fit.
The seventh cohort of startups in the Nexus pre-incubation program received a week-long training on how to connect to markets and build evidence for their product market fit. Dr. Cliff Zintgraff, from the IC² Institute at The University of Texas at Austin, shared his experience as an entrepreneur, coach and mentor, through a session called Evidence-Based Entrepreneurship.
Focused on “building their core,” the entrepreneurs were challenged to connect with individual customers and stakeholders in their markets and to incorporate that information into their products and venture plans. Entrepreneurs came away with a deeper awareness of why and how they must constantly improve their market understanding to successfully build their venture.
The entrepreneurs also conducted in-depth interviews with their customers to practically implement the learning, Dr. Zintgraff also gave individual feedback on all the interviews.
Cliff Zintgraff spent fifteen years as a software developer, manager and executive in startups before building his own EdTech Company, earning a Masters in Technology Commercialization, and a doctorate in Learning Technologies. He has delivered education, training and mentorship for hundreds of startup efforts in five countries, and has secured grants and run programs in entrepreneurship and STEM education for business, research, and non-profit efforts.
Nexus entrepreneurs learn about legal requirements for startups in India
The first week of the Nexus pre-incubation program focused on the basics of starting a business and how to describe your innovation in a clear, concise and compelling way to your customers.
Abhishek Gupta, founder of StartersCFO, conducted a session on June 12, 2019 covering legal compliance and legal requirements for starting a business in India. The session covered choosing the right structure for your business, legal and tax compliances, GST, guidelines on receiving foreign direct investment (FDI) and different instruments of funding. Abhishek further explained why understanding of the legal structure at an early stage helps in laying down a strong foundation.
Entrepreneurs came away with a deeper awareness of why and how they must take care of all the compliances required by the law to successfully build their venture.
Mr. Gupta is the co-founder of StartersCFO. He has more than nine years of experience in providing tax, exchange control and allied services to its clients. Prior to this he was working with KPMG as an Assistant Manager in international taxation for over four years.
Every Wednesday during the ten-week pre-incubation program, Nexus calls in industry experts for practical sessions on different aspects of starting up a business. These sessions are highly interactive and provide direct market and industry access to Nexus startups.
Nexus and WEConnect International-India joined hands to cooperatively pursue activities that will build economic parity and enhance business opportunities for women business owners. This partnership, formalized by a signed MOU, will bring opportunities available through the WEConnect platform to Nexus’ startups and promoting it to women entrepreneurs across India. The partners are also be conducting joint training programs for women entrepreneurs.
WEConnect International is a global alliance of more than 80 corporate members, primarily Fortune 500 companies that are committed to sourcing more from women-owned businesses. WEConnect International identifies, educates, registers, and certifies women’s business enterprises based outside of the U.S. that are at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by one or more women, and then connects them with our multinational corporate member buyers.
By connecting women entrepreneurs to forward-thinking multinational corporations, representing over $1 trillion in annual purchasing power, WEConnect is actively closing the gender gap.
Nexus will continue to play an active role as an entrepreneurial ecosystem enabler by bringing different stakeholders together for development and mentoring the startup ecosystem. The Nexus pre-incubation program is highly rated with an overall women entrepreneur participation rate of over 33%.
Nexus, in association with SPAN Magazine, hosted an event on Sustainability and the Environment at the American Center on May 8th. The event featured 2 Nexus start-ups: Kriya Labs and Agpulse Organics, both of which deal with sustainability in agriculture. The startups shared their perspective on the problems arising from rapid growth and possible sustainable solutions to reduce the impact of urbanization on the environment.
The growth of a startup can depend upon its ability to raise funds for scaling up at the right time. Hence it is important to learn the effectiveness of pitching to investors.
Nexus, in collaboration with Power Deck, held a Master Class on “Preparing your Elevator Pitch” at the American Center on May 3rd. Startups learned the dos and don’ts of preparing the pitch deck and why so many companies fail to pitch effectively. The Master Class was conducted by Dilnawaz Khan, chief of New Horizons, Codesign Labs. The session helped Startups create and / or refine their elevator pitch and inform them about the pitfalls to avoid while pitching. The session was very lively, interactive and full of relevant examples from the industry.
Dilnawaz Khan has over 11 years of professional experience in the design and technology space and over 6 years in the startup incubation industry. Dilnawaz was previously the founder & CEO of RockCode, based in Jaipur. Some of the other organizations that he has been associated with are Unitus Seed Fund and Startup Oasis..
Nexus conducted its flagship Incubator Manager Training in New Delhi on February 7th-8th, 2019.
The two-day training was conducted by Glenn Robinson, Assistant Director of the IC² Institute at The University of Texas at Austin, and was attended by 25 incubator managers from the states of Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Kerala, Haryana, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim.
Public Affairs Officer Conrad Turner of the US Consulate interacted with the participants and apprised them of the bilateral relations between India and the US. He emphasized on the importance of effective communication among entrepreneurs and incubator managers. Nexus Director Erik Azulay invited the incubator managers to partner with Nexus to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem in India.
The Incubator Manager Training program grew out of successful sessions offered in 2018 in New Delhi and Chandigarh, which led to demand for a more structured program. The US Department of State funded the Incubator Manager Training 2019 program, which is being operated by the IC² Institute.
The program received 195 applications from incubator managers, of which 120 participants will attend the introductory two-day training being held in six cities across India. In phase 2, 40 of the introductory participants will be selected to undertake an online Innovation Readiness course in April. Of those, 20 incubator managers will be selected to attend an advanced five-day, in-person training at Nexus in New Delhi in May 2019.