Ravi Gururaj, co-founder of Harvard Business Angels (India chapter) and a top executive at software firm Citrix Systems, has launched a startup incubator called Frictionless Ventures. But unlike other incubators, this one is an idea experimentation lab. Based in Bangalore, this incubator picks up and incubates concepts relevant to cloud computing, mobility and Big Data space, and accepts new 'ideas' from both domestic and overseas entrepreneurs.
"We follow a slightly different model at Frictionless Ventures. Unlike other incubators, we will put the money first in an idea and then incubate it. This is what we call a reverse angel investing. Once we invest in an idea, we will build a team around it, provide mentorship, develop the product and help it go to market," Gururaj told Techcircle.in. The incubator will typically invest $50,000-$250,000 (Rs 27 lakh-Rs 1.3 crore) in a concept.
Gururaj, currently a vice-president (products and cloud platforms group) at Citrix, is leaving the company to focus on his new venture. As of now, he is also the India representative and mentor at Citrix startup accelerator, a corporate incubator chartered with investing in and developing early-stage entrepreneurs in the areas of desktop, mobile, cloud, empowering IT and collaboration. In 2006, Gururaj founded VMLogix, Inc., which was acquired by Citrix in 2010.
The new incubator has already picked up mobile app SyncUsUp for incubation. "The first idea to be incubated at Frictionless Ventures is SyncUsUp, a mobile contact management app. Once its incubation is over, we will pick up new ideas," said Gururaj, who was recently appointed head of NASSCOM's newly launched Product Council for early-stage companies. SyncUsUp was a finalist at the Harvard Business School â€“ New Venture Contest, held in Boston in March this year.
"Also, there is no time-frame for incubation here. It can be anywhere between six months and one year or even longer. What we are trying to do here is a company-building approach around a concept," explained Gururaj.
India has recently witnessed a spate of tech startup incubators and accelerators such as GSF Accelerator, Startup Village, Khsola Labs, eHealth TBI and GinServ TBI, as well as Microsoft Accelerator for Windows Azure. 500 Startups, a seed accelerator and investment fund set up by Dave McClure, has also spread its footprint in India.
(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)