The U.S-based angel investor network Keiretsu Forum, that has 39 chapters around the world and more than 1500 investors and members, signed an exclusive partnership with the NS Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (NSRCEL) at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB). The association will help facilitate innovation and entrepreneurship with an emphasis on educating entrepreneurs, investors and venture funding ecosystem participants on business formation, new technology platforms and global best practices.
“NSRCEL at IIMB has been constantly striving to create a network that its mentees and incubatees can benefit from. Angel investors have an important part to play in facilitating the growth of entrepreneurship. A global forum like Keiretsu can make a huge positive difference to the funding phenomenon. IIMB and NSRCEL are happy to partner with Keiretsu to launch a joint endeavor to augment the availability of early stage funding. IIMB is also pleased with the opportunity to partner with Keiretsu for the potential academic benefits it hopes to realize such as a closer understanding of the phenomenon of early stage funding of enterprises and opportunities for its students to intern with Keiretsu forum in its investment activities. All of these anticipated outcomes are in line with the overall intensified emphasis on and encouragement to entrepreneurship at IIM under the leadership of Dr. Sushil Vachani, Director,” said Dr G Sabarinathan, Chairperson, NSRCEL.
“We want to bring angel funding within the reach of every start-up with a commercially viable business model,” said Randy Williams, Founder and CEO of Keiretsu Forum who is in town to launch the Bangalore Chapter. Keiretsu Forum Bangalore will be formally launched on Friday.
“We want to ensure that investors who are looking for opportunities are provided a steady flow of quality deals and the opportunity to meaningfully engage with their investee companies,” he said.
“There are people here trying to address uniquely Indian problems and opportunities from agriculture and rural needs to cutting-edge innovations in space travel. These ideas and innovations must be nurtured and these entrepreneurs mentored to ensure they achieve full potential. That takes more than money. It takes committed, serious investors who are willing to be patient, and capable of leveraging their networks to help,” Mr. Williams added.
Founded in 2000 in the U.S, Keiretsu Forum is a global investor network that brings together angel investors and the entrepreneur community. It works with similar networks, leading academic institutions and other stakeholders to develop and grow the entrepreneur ecosystem in host countries. Unlike the bigger venture capital funds and corporate investors, Keiretsu Forum members focus on very early stage investments in companies which they personally mentor and grow before taking to bigger investors or the IPO market.
While on the one hand, Indian start-ups looking for early stage funding will appear on the radar of international investors through Keiretsu Forum’s global chapter network, on the other, Indian investors looking for early- stage opportunities will get access to global deals through the same network. “There will be global deal flow as well as value creation,” said Denny Kurien, President & CEO of Keiretsu Forum Bangalore, who was present at IIM Bangalore on Thursday.
“In today’s world, every technology and product is international. The resources required to create a winning company can’t be supplied by one or two people. The resources – money, people, partnerships, channels, access to customers etc. are diverse and distributed,” said Robin Bisarya, Co-President of Keiretsu Forum Bangalore.
Bisarya, who will be based in San Diego, U.S, as the Bangalore chapter’s main link between investor and entrepreneur communities in the two countries, said unless the start-up is located in a well-known hub where the community is used to supplying these resources in a manner that can be consumed and afforded by early-stage companies, start-ups have to pay for these services.
“The start-ups most likely to succeed are those that address this need from the very beginning and prepare their corporate structure, intellectual structure and personal policies accordingly, and we will help them do that,” Bisarya added.