New Delhi based Startup Tunnel (STun) is an early stage incubator that helps young entrepreneurs contemplate powerful business ideas, and translate them into vital realities. Startup Tunnel fostered its first batch between December 2014 and February 2015, and launched them in April 2015. And now, the incubator is all set to build its second batch, with a focus on data analytics, growth hacking and attacking large difficult problems that no one has yet managed to solve.
Startup Tunnel’s Mission
Startup Tunnel aims to discover young and highly ambitious founding teams, and help them get to Series A in the best possible way at the earliest. It assists the teams in achieving product-market fit through product management, rapid prototyping, user feedback and redesign, and growth hacking. Further, it helps startups build up strong investor relations by providing close guidance to improvise their pitch. It also acts as the mediator between startups and investors.
Key Attributes STun Looks for in a Startup Prior to Incubating it
Startup Tunnel looks for bold new companies who want to exploit the mobile internet to create new value for end users and transform the wider ecosystem. Although the incubator is sector agnostic, it expects of budding companies to embody certain qualities:
- A technically sound, harmonious and charismatic founding team that must include a product manager with technical expertise and growth hacker with the ability to quickly grow a user base.
- Flexibility, open-mindedness and the ability to continuously improve and develop their technical and business capabilities.
- The potential to engage audiences virally and to growth hack their way to early trickle revenues.
- An ambition and interest in using data analytics to derive supplementary revenues and to make a smarter and more responsive product.
- A business vision that is necessary, needed, and capable of scaling rapidly to existing audiences and markets.
Throwing a Glance at its Previous Batch
Between December 2014 and February 2015, STun interviewed 220 startups, and made 14 incubation offers, of which 12 startups agreed to be incubated. In April 2015, five startups graduated with STun’s credentialed seal of approval. And finally, four of the graduates went on to angel and seed-round of funding, closing term sheets at valuations between 6 and 25 crores.
STun Founder Aditya Dev Speaks-
“Over the past year, I’ve sat in on multiple meetings with our startups, as they’ve pitched to angels and institutional investors. It’s surprised me how much of a difference my presence has made. In some cases I’ve been in a position to give feedback to the startup about what parts of their pitch were working and where they needed to refine things further. In other cases I’ve heard chatter from the prospective investor that I’ve back-channeled to the startup, which has helped the two sides come closer to an agreement. In all cases, having someone in the room who has spent a lot of time with you, who has your back, is an advantage that can only come from an institutional incubation process.
At Startup Tunnel we really believe we’re helping build better startups on account of the emphasis we put in product, user and market orientation, data analytics and growth hacking. We also perceive that our startup teams are savvier with investors and with their long-term planning going forward several rounds of investment funding. We spend time watching founders deal with different kinds of challenges in the course of trying to build their product and business. So, every pea coming through this pea shooter is going to be a better pea.
We’ve also learned more about what kinds of teams won’t make it in the end, and what kinds of propositions are done and dusted: on-demand plays, e-commerce plays aren’t interesting to us. We want to see bold new propositions that might really help people, and that no one has yet thought of trying to pull off. That’s where things become interesting and incubation and mentorship can be really meaningfully applied to help a crazy proposition become a new reality.”
STun aspires be an interesting place for interesting people building great new businesses. It aims to be the first helping hand of emerging companies in their journey towards a much bigger success. It desires to be a conducive platform for budding enterprises to share their ideas, insights and expertise, and build up strong rapport with the best of investor networks.
Perks you Enjoy During the Incubation Period
- A well structured 13 week program of seminars and workshops coupled with individualized mentorship to get you to the next level.
- A cool working space for your team with access to Wi-Fi, coffee, printing, demodeck, maker lab and other facilities.
- Access to STun’s wide network of mentors, advisors and investors.
- Access to investor events, innovation conclaves and pitch sessions on and off campus.
- Launch your product with AWS Credits.
- Attend Product Meet and Vihara Study Group sessions.
- Pitch for early investment from Startup Tunnel
As mentioned in the introductory paragraph, Startup Tunnel is ready to foster its next lot of startups. Interested teams can fill up this online application form.
After you apply, the STun team will assign you a pitch time and date, either through a remote conversation or in person at the Vihara Campus.
Your pitch would be rated by the native team of STun. Thereafter, follow on questions may be shared before a secondary one-on-one meeting is scheduled.
Around 12 startups will be shortlisted for the final presentations to the investment committee, headed by Dr. Aditya Dev Sood along with other mentors and advisors, which would help STun to bring the entering cohort down to 6 – 8 startups. Then the selected startups begin an intensive 13 week program of mentorship, pitch sessions with peer review, and investor interaction sessions.
To help cultivate a holistic vision, Startup Tunnel encourages potential entrepreneurs to read and learn about successful founders and investors. It hosts talks by startups and investors every other week. All of the incubation activities are directed towards bringing a greater focus to the product, the business and the monetization strategy, along with devising an effective plan for the forthcoming investment round.