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November 2017
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BITS Spark Angels- Alumni Network funds for High-Potential Student Start-ups
 
With the aim of acquiring a place among top 3 institutes for entrepreneurship in Asia, BITS Pilani took a step ahead and formed a network of BITSians angels. BITS Spark Angels is a network of BITS Alumni and faculty which provides high funding to potential seed-stage start-ups having sufficient traction.

For this, the investment rounds are conducted annually in the summer session. The amount of investment that BITS Spark Angels made in the previous years was between INR 25 Lacs to INR 2 crores. Till now investments in the fields of robotics, cloud telephony, lingerie selling, and online test preparation have been made successfully.

BITS Pilani has managed to successfully churn out start-ups and entrepreneurship ventures which are flourishing over the years. It has been observed that BITS Pilani has always been on the positive side when it comes to the promotion of entrepreneurial bug. Every year more than 1000 students from both undergraduate and dual degree programs, enroll themselves to Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. This cell gives boost to the entrepreneurship development among business enthusiasts.

Who is eligible for Angels Funding?

It is genuinely a huge task to zero-down upon some potential start-up seeds from the growing and ever-increasing jungle of competition. Therefore, this Angel Funding looks up to the start-ups which fulfill the following criteria:

Start-up with at least one co-founder BITSian are eligible.

Those having sufficient traction can apply for investment through BITS Spark Angels.

Most importantly, a start up in need of funding between INR 2.5 million and 20 million can look forward to the summer investment session of BITS Spark Angels.

Process and Diligence Involved

Since there are huge amounts involved in the investment, Spark Angels in a bid to ease the investors’ load perform every step and move with equal diligence. There is a proper procedure for each potential start-up to present their case in front of the bench of investors.

In the past, investors such as Raju Reddy, Sanjay Nath, Alok Rawat, Anand Morzaria and alike have graced the bench. The whole process requires the applicants to submit their applications, participate in screening rounds and make their final pitch. Based on the potential, investors take their decisions on funding and amount involved.

Let us look at each step in detail:

Application Submission- The foremost step involved in the overall process is of filing an application. In order to submit their applications, start-ups will have to visit Applyifi.

Screening Round- After the submission of application form, screening of the start-ups will be done on a phone call or over skype/web-ex. If required, a question-answer round will be conducted as well. Based on all of these communications, list of potential start-ups will be readied in June.

Final Offering- Again, the shortlisted start-ups will have a skype/web ex session, wherein they will have to make a slot pitch to the BITS Spark Angels. Finally, Steering Committee shall take up a report of interest levels from these BITS Pilani initiators.

Top 6 start-ups backed by BITS Spark Angels Till Date

In a span of 5 years, BITS Spark Angels have successfully backed the following companies as a part of their initiative “to create an ecosystem for BITSians where they can get support from their alumni and succeed as entrepreneurs.”

Exotel- Exotel has become one of the South-Asia’s largest telephony companies. The basic aim of this company has been set at persistently providing services to businesses for better voice communication.

Grey Orange Robotics- It is a warehousing automation company that makes products for materials handling. The company’s flagship product is the Butler System, a convoy of mobile robots that can manage order fulfilment inside a warehouse.

Tabtor: BITS Spark Angels has backed Tabtor, a personalised math tutoring platform for iPads. Tabtor provides teachers and students aged between 5 and 12, a personalized learning experience which focuses on the learning activities that happen at the point-of-learning for each student.

Framebench: It is a cloud-based communication and feedback platform for digital agencies and creative design firms. Framebench is a central workplace where users can store and share their creative assets. This company was declared the best Sparks venture and on this basis, they got small seed funding as well.

SolarTown: It offers clean energy generation systems to homeowners, businesses, schools, non-profits and government organisations.

e-GMAT: it is an online education company that provide personalized and effective learning to non-natives.

Source-Collegedunia


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