Kerala organizes a speed dating session bringing investors and startups together.

06th February 2019
Kerala  organizes a speed dating session bringing investors and startups together.
Let's Venture founder Sanjay Jha and Kerala IT Secretary M Sivasankar address media during the Seeding Kerala event in Kochi, February 5 2019 ( Photo Anand Parthasarathy/ IndiaTechOnline)

15 state-based  startups  make their pitch to  angel investors
Kochi  February 6, 2019: It was a swayamvaram with a difference – and a high tech one at that.   Twenty startups – fifteen based in Kerala – wooed a galaxy of seasoned angel investors from all over India, during the 3rd Seeding Kerala event in Kochi  on Tuesday.  They were looking for  early stage funding at an event organized  by the Kerala State Startup Mission (KSUM), with  India’s largest online investment platform, Let’s Venture and the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDSC).
But uniquely for such events, the Kochi  get together, which one visiting investor called a ‘speed dating session’,  had as its centre piece a two-hour long “master class” where three veteran investors --  Revathy Ashok, Ravi Kaushik and Shivam Shah – explained the art and science of early stage investing  to High Net-worth Individuals  (HNIs) and potential investors in the stage.
“It is the first time we are trying to motivate Kerala’s own investors”, explained the state’s IT Secretary   M. Sivasankar, “Over three investor meets, we have seen sharply increased  interest in the investor ecosystem in  funding Kerala startups.   When we first created 50:50 funds, with the state contributing equal share with investor consortia, we never  expected this level of enthusiasm.”  Currently Kerala had four startup  funds in play, contributing a corpus of Rs 15 crores each, but  investors have committed  multiple times this amount taking the four funds to a total of over Rs 1000 crores.
The state  had  expertise in  fields like Space science – thanks to a large  group of experts flowing from ISRO and other Kerala –based aerospace  institutions – and this is seeing significant startup traction, Mr Sivasankar added.
The twenty startups who made their case to investors were the finalists selected from over 300 applications, country-wide.   The Kerala –based entrants were   all incubated in the  facilities  supported or directly run by the KSUM.
But potential investors were served a dose of reality by angel investor Revathy Ashok who anchored the master class:  “This is a game of building, not just picking Winners. Be prepared to wait of 5-8 years before you can find an exit.”
But in Kochi yesterday, the  over 100 investors   did not have exits so much on their minds – but an entry, hopefully profitable , into the state’s young, new startup ecosystem.

Investor's primer  2019
What are the top trends investors should be aware of in 2019? Sanjay Jha, founder of India's biggest online investment platform, Let's Venture, listed them at the 3rd Startup  investor meet organised by the Kerala State Startup Mission in Kochi:
1. Get set for deep tech like AI and machine learning, across most sectors
2. In Financial technology, Insurance  and Wealth Management look promising
3. Baby's Day Out:   In consumer brands, baby products are an opportunity
4. Social + Commerce is the new combo
5.Cloud for SMEs and enterprise, a hardy annual.