T9L: Turning a great idea into a viable business

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Published: January 21, 2019 12:18:32 AM

A startup studio, T9L has helped over 18 startups taste success.

Fahad Moti Khan, founder, T9L

T9L was founded with the intention of helping startup founders achieve success with timely intervention across strategy, execution, and growth. Claiming to be India’s first startup studio, it aims to become the most successful venture builder globally in terms of success percentage of portfolio companies.

“We’ve helped over 18 startups so far with minimal failure where some have achieved astronomical success,” says Fahad Moti Khan, founder, T9L. The line-up includes CrownIt, Docquity, BroEx, Gigstart, SpotDraft, NirogStreet and Pluss, besides others.

T9L’s startegy is different from the regular incubators and accelators. It functions as a co-founder with the founders of the startups it collaborates with. A typical engagement starts with the refinement of the model with KPI definition and goal setting. It then help the startups build their products. “We have a 50-people team that specialises in software product building. We also help structure their funding story and business plans and take it to empanelled funds. We then devise growth strategies for the startups with the most efficient use of the available cash resources,” says Khan. It also helps recruit key team members across technical and business roles. T9L does not take a share of profit/revenue from startups as its key interest is in the growth in their valuation.

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“We do not invest money in startups, our partner funds do. We exchange equity for services. We are a ‘venture as a service’ model. Our budget is restricted to the team and operation costs,” explains Khan. Its recent funding from Japanese investors Spiral Ventures and MyNavi Corporation was also secured with the idea of increasing its venture output by building infrastructure and hire manpower to be able to help a larger number of startups.

Convincing the stakeholders about the value of the ecosystem wasn’t easy. As Khan explains, unlike VCs, T9L was not influenced by the pedigree of founders or the lack of technical resources in the founding team. This does lead to some clashes when the founders go to raise capital but T9L was able to validate its strategy with the success it has had with the startups it has nurtured.

For Ram N Kumar, founder of NirogStreet, meeting T9L in early 2017 has been transformational. “We started to work on NirogStreet in early 2016 but connecting the dots was the biggest challenge. T9L’s penchant for detailing, strong technology and the deep dive into our business model to better define our KPIs has been instrumental in shaping our vision.

T9L has a stringent process for on-boarding startups but once in it, it is worth the effort, say startups who have benefitted from the association. Says Sameer Grover, founder, CrownIt, “I am a product guy, very arrogant about my software product skills. Then I met the T9L team and was taken aback by how much I still needed to learn.”

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