TLabs, the one-year-old accelerator programme run by Times Internet Ltd (TIL), is now two-batches old. It has brought on board seven startups and is currently accepting applications for its third batch. Techcircle.in caught up with Abhishek Gupta, head of accelerator at TLabs, to get a lowdown on a progress report.
But first things first. TLabs invests Rs 10 lakh or around $18,000 in each startup to pick 10 per cent stake (and by default, values each of them at around Rs 1 crore or at $180,000). According to Gupta, in the future, the accelerator may also invest in other rounds of funding raised by those startups to maintain its stake.
TLabs hosts two batches a year and after three months of training, scale them for a demo. Then it helps these companies to pitch to angel investors and VCs for funding.
The accelerator is too young to present a big picture of success and hit ratio but early numbers show that out of the seven startups it has picked till date, one has shut shop, four are still in growth and evolution phase while two are in talks with other early-stage venture capital investors for their next round of funding.
Top of the chart
"The two companies where we had invested earlier â€“ DataWeave and Bluegape â€“ are close to raising Rs 1-1.5 crore each in the next two months," said Gupta.
Bluegape started as an e-tailer of customised posters. But now the company also sells T-shirts and other merchandise. It is currently clocking gross merchandise value of Rs 45 lakh or around $80,000 a month.
DataWeave helps users discover, monitor and visualise public data on the web in a uniform format: APIs, dashboards and visualisations. Datasets that businesses find useful are also there, as well as social media data. It is currently clocking revenues of Rs 5 lakh a month.
Not there yet
The four startups from the second batch â€“ HuntShire, KaraokeGarage, MusicFellas and Viraliti are still in early stages and are making around Rs 50,000 a month in terms of revenue.
HuntShire enables companies to perform virtual walk-ins for hiring people. Companies come and create online hunts in which the candidates participate. As a part of the hunt, there is an online assessment system that tests the candidates on the skills defined by the job description.
KaraokeGarage is an online social singing game. Users can pick their favourite songs and sing along with the help of lyrics and original pitch references. A user's pitch is analysed here and then matched against the original song pitch. The score is calculated based on user performance, which can be shared or challenged among their Facebook friends.
MusicFellas is a new-age, social music discovery platform for independent music across the globe. Here, one can discover new music, follow people whose music taste is similar, create one's playlist & share with followers and buy music that he/she likes.
Viraliti is positioned as the Google AdWords for Pinterest. It is the first and only pay-per-click ad network on Pinterest. Influential Pinterest users endorse brands by pinning images to their personal boards from the available ad campaigns on Viraliti. Brands pay for only valid clicks that these sponsored pins generate. Viraliti also provides analytics for advertisers and publishers about the campaign. This startup aims to be the one-stop social media marketing solution on Pinterest.
The one casualty in the TLabs portfolio is askCake.com, which shut shop in July this year, due to teething problems. It was a closed network of individuals who can help one another in finding solutions to their travel queries. The startup helped in finding experts/locals for the queries in near real time environment and provided answers via a chat window.
"The technical part was good, but we could not do well in selling the product," recalled Gupta.
Future & peer group
Being part of TIL, the digital arm of the country's biggest media house Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd, funding is not a major constraint for the Delhi-based accelerator.
TLabs plans to invest in 40 companies by the end of 2013. "We are interested to invest in companies focusing on tech, internet and mobile. We are also looking at travel products companies and an adventure travel firm would also interest us. Even education and healthcare sectors are attractive ones," noted Gupta.
TLabs is one among a new bunch of accelerators in the country, a phenomenon which is relatively new even in the Silicon Valley and was picked by The Morpheus in India four years ago (check here) for our detailed report on Morpheus). Other accelerators and incubators in the country include The Startup Center, The Hatch, iAccelerator and GSF Accelerator, among others.
(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)