Eight Indian startups are among the 17 ventures selected for the first cohort of Sequoia Surge, the accelerator and incubator programme of multi-stage investment firm Sequoia Capital.
The announcement of the first cohort comes two weeks after Google India chief Rajan Anandan decided to join Sequoia, where he will lead the Surge incubator.
Overall, 1,570 startups from across India and Southeast Asia applied for the programme, Sequoia said in a blog post.
As part of the programme, Surge will pick 10 to 20 early-stage startups twice a year and invest $1.5 million in each of them.
According to the blog post, the firm initially aimed to select 10-12 startups this year as Surge was in a beta mode.
The 17 selected startups are from India, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam and Bangladesh. They span sectors like travel and hospitality, e-commerce, social commerce, ed-tech, fintech or insurance-tech, consumer brands, software-as-a-service (SaaS), health-tech and B2B commerce. Here are the eight Indian startups:
Azani Sport: The company was founded in November 2017 by Siddharth Suchde. It provides active wear for athletes and offers footwear, apparel and accessories. It says its products are both aspirational and accessible to mainstream consumers in emerging markets.
Flynote: Bengaluru-based Flynote was founded in April 2018 by Abhinav Prakash, Devvarat Meena, Ankit Abhishek, Parth Pratik and Shukant Agrawal. It is building a global community of travel enthusiasts, known as Flynote Fellows, who travel and experience the world on the company’s sponsorship. These people then use this experience to monetise their passion for travel, using Flynote’s technology platform to plan and book tailored itineraries for their customers, followers and communities.
Bulbul: The company was founded in December 2018 by Sachin Bhatia, Atit Jain and Sichen (Sianna) Liu. The company claims to be India's first vernacular live streaming e-commerce platform.
Hippo Video: Chennai-based Hippo Video was founded in July 2018 by Karthi Mariappan, Nilam Chand Jain and Srinivasan Krishnan. It's a next-generation video marketing SaaS platform. Hippo Video helps marketers create, edit, and personalise video content on a mass scale, as well as analyse responses and convert more viewers into customers. The company has over 200 customers worldwide, including Freshworks, Essilor and Goulet Pens.
Doubtnut: Gurugram-based Doubtnut was founded by Tanushree Nagori and Aditya Shankar in October 2017. It is a comprehensive learning app. It features a vernacular user interface and uses artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to offer answers and video lessons in response to photos of specific problems. The company claims to have over 3.5 million monthly active users, and about 90% are from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.
Skillmatics: Founded by Dhvanil Sheth, Skillmatics develops innovative educational products and games that enable children to build core skills ranging from math and language to science and logic through systematic play. It has hit $1 million in revenue run rate. The startup claims to sell across more than 15 countries, with a strong focus on North America.
InterviewBit Academy: Pune-based InterviewBit Academy was founded in April 2019 by Anshuman Singh and Abhimanyu Saxena. The company offers a platform for free interview preparation. It gathers data about the users’ coding skills, their previous projects, and other technical attributes from sites like Stack Overflow and GitHub. This data is used to match the best candidates to a given job. The startup aims to train and support the placement of at least 25,000 students graduating in 2019 with a salary package of about Rs 10 lakh a year.
Khatabook: Mumbai-based Khatabook was launched in October 2018 by Ravish Naresh, Jaideep Poonia, Dhanesh Kumar and Ashish Sonone. It is a multi-language mobile application for small and medium businesses to record cash transactions and track payments. It crossed over 120,000 weekly active merchants and claims that it is growing organically at 40% month on month.