Angel investors, entrepreneurs and innovation are some of the ingredients that make the Silicon Valley startup recipe work. But that mix isn’t unique to Northern California.
At a recent reality show-type event in Mumbai, India, three promising startups got big chunks of venture capital from angel investors, culminating the “Super Angels” initiative sponsored in part by Intuit. The grand finale appeared against the backdrop of the Bombay Stock Exchange, mirroring American reality-show style, with judges offering instant opinions on the startups’ presentations.
The big winner was a company called Exotel, which builds cloud-based business phone systems that allows businesses to make and receive phone calls and SMS messages without investing in any infrastructure. Exotel’s technology and execution helped it win INR 2.5 crore in funding, approximately equal to $475,000.
The two other top finalists in the program were Droid Cloud (since rebranded as App Surfer) and StaffonContract.com, securing 1 crore (approximately $190,000) and 50 lakhs ($95,000) respectively. App Surfer is a cloud-based platform that lets people try apps on the Web without having to download them to a mobile device. StaffonContract.com bills itself as an “exchange” to match employers who need part-time or contract help, and the professionals who can fill those positions.
Nikhil Arora, vice president and managing director of Intuit India, said the company’s sponsorship reflects its own entrepreneurial spirit.
“We drive this culture of entrepreneurship within the company and we also realize it is necessary to collaborate externally and encourage the growing class of entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses. In our quest to promote and develop engagements with the startup community in India, initiatives like Super Angels are a fantastic platform that recognizes and rewards innovative startups.”
Intuit in India
The company’s first venture in Asia Pacific, Intuit has been in India since 2005, currently employing more than 550 employees across offices in Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi. The company has been recognized as an employer of choice in India: as 2nd best company for Rewards and Recognition, 6th Best Employer in India, among the Top 25 Best Employers in Asia and among the Top 30 Great Places to Work in India.
(Samantha Unnikrishnan, an Intuit employee communications manager in Bangalore, India, contributed to this post.)