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Exclusive: BITS Pilani and IIM grads launch $1M fund to invest in student startups

IIM-A and BITS Pilani graduates Abhishek Sethi and Prateek Behera have recently launched gradCapital. It is a $1 million fund released to support and invest in student startups. 

The press note stated that it will invest around $25,000 in 20 startups in a year. The firm gradcapital said it has opened the application process for its cohort of startups and to support them with their journey. 

Meanwhile, Abhishek Sethi, Co-founder at gradCapital said- “We genuinely believe in academic spaces. Think historically, major societal transformations have emerged from university campuses. The LGBTQ+ movement, the microprocessor that runs our phones, or immunotherapy for Cancer – all have their roots in just one college campus.

The company stated that the student-focused VC fund has been specifically designed to support college graduates to grow their ideas into leading businesses. Their firm has also been supported by CIIE.CO- The Innovation Continuum, based out of IIM Ahmedabad. 

In order to recognize the right startup and where to invest, the firm has acquired talent across the nation and decentralised its operations to get the right data. To know and connect with students they also joined student communities across campuses to scout for the best hurling talent out there, and lead their way to success. 

In addition, the fund will host an 8 week intensive programme for firms founded and run by students. It will offer a layout conductive to the context of students to make sure they are all set to raise their subsequent funding round. 

Apart from $25,000 of funds, these young entrepreneurs will also get several tools, buckets of knowledge, a good network, investors, mentors or more. 

Prateek Behera, Co-founder at gradCapital commented and said, There is tremendous value waiting to be unlocked by students from Science, Commerce, Arts, and Engineering colleges. VCs do not take these bets because it doesn’t fit their risk profile. 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.”

Additionally, the students will also savor 1:1 mentorship, office hours with experts, and an investor-focused demo day. 

The major goal behind this is to bring out the next generation of unicorns by young minds out of college. And it’s another target to achieve is to invest in 100 startups in the next 3 years. 

The company’s statement says- gradCapital’s objective isn’t merely to find some companies and give them a lift. While conceptualising the idea, Abhishek and Prateek successfully ran a pilot to test their hypothesis. They ended up with a thriving cohort of eight companies, including KiranaKart, Humit, Codedamn, Valerio Electric, and Neuralastic.

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