We have $2.5m to invest in Indian startups : Jaarvis Accelerator

Hong Kong-based Jaarvis Labs Ltd, a technology company, started the Jaarvis Accelerator in Gurgaon last year in June. The accelerator has already graduated around 15 startups in the last nine months.

It has just raised $1.3 million and has a total of $2.5 million to invest in Indian startups.

Brett Stevens, VP of Jaarvis Accelerator and director of Jaarvis Labs, joined the group in 2014. Previously, he has worked with companies like EricssonAlcatel-Lucent and Hewlett Packard for over 35 years at various positions.

Stevens discussed his plans for Indian startups in a phone conversation with DEALSTREETASIA. Edited excerpts: 

How is the accelerator progressing?

It is going very good so far. We are experimenting and learning ourselves and trying to scale up. We are just about to launch our fifth batch in IoT (Internet of Things) next month. Our four startups recently graduated. If we get into full scale, may be, we will be able to help about 20 startups every four months.

List of startups in the accelerator which are there or have graduated. How long is typical accelerator program?

These include EduRev, Spotwrks, PromOn, Donna Dialer, DrinksOnMe, Comparometer, Smartcure, Sniffer, Loanzguru, Design Dodo, Arbunize, R2 Robotronics, PsychD and ExtraCarbon. The program runs normally for four months, but we extended it to six months for couple of startups as they needed more time to develop.

Do you also help a startup after being incubated?

Yes, we stay involved because we have an equity in startups. We are a shareholder and overall, we come back and continue in mentoring involvement for the niche startups.

How do you invest in a startup, through own corpus or are other investors involved?

We invest some of our money but we also have group of 3-4 investors from Singapore and Hong-Kong. Some of the money come from Jaarvis Group and some come from the investors group.

How much you are going to invest in Indian startups this year?

We just raised $1.3 million and have a total of of $2.5 million.

Any of the investor led an investment round in a startup in past? What are the sectors of interest?

No, everyone invests through the Jaarvis Accelerator. In the past, we have invested in education, healthcare, fintech and we are looking more investment in IT, fintech and innovative startups.

How do you pick up a startup? How should a startup pitch?

We look for a combination of an idea which is different and a good team. The startups should be able to solve a problem in their respective field which is being faced by users.

Which cities you are planning to launch in?

In Gurgaon, we have a development center. We have startups from Chandigarh and Bangalore and we already started recruiting in Jaipur and probably will do in Mumbai in near future.

What is your view on the Indian startup ecosystem?

Its an exciting market. I have been there for the last nine months and still learning about the market. Its a huge population is probably the best opportunity worldwide.

Lots of funding happened in 2015, do you think, it will remain same this year?

I think the ecosystem will see more seed and angel investors. Its an opportunity for good deals. VCs might slowdown a little bit. I don’t say that funding will stop but investors will be more careful to deploy and have more rationale strategies to be applied. They will also probably take more time for due-diligence.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.