BITS Spark was started by a core group of BITSian alumni along with help from BITSAA, the university, and faculty. The purpose is to produce and create amazing BITSian startups and entrepreneurs. BITS Spark's vision is to make BITS Pilani one of the top 3 institutes for entrepreneurship in Asia.
The aim of Spark Angels is to facilitate funding for BITSian startups seeking seed stage investment in the range of INR 2.5 million - 20 million ($30K - $300K). Spark Angels sets the stage for an intensive interaction between budding startups and angel investors, and supports the entire investment process from scratch. The angels come from diverse backgrounds and the platform is completely sector agnostic.
Spark Angels only provides a platform for bringing together interested angel investors and startups who seek funding; the Angels support team plays an active role in facilitation and support services during the entire process.
The final investment decision is made by the investors who are a part of the angel network.
Since this an angel network, the range of equity that the startup would have to give up would involve a discussion between the individual investors and the entrepreneurs running the startup.
- Online applications are submitted via this link
- The details of the process will be put up shortly
- Steering Committee (SC) to conduct screening over Skype/WebEx & phone call
- Subsequently, SC will conduct Q&A with startups (if required)
- Finally, SC will be up with the shortlist by second to third week of June
- Shortlisted startups to get a slot to pitch to Angels via Skype/WebEx
- Startups will be given an opportunity to add detailed information for the final pitch
- Steering committee collects interest level from the angels using an online survey
- Final Investment Decision is made
The category is 'seed funding' for Indian start-ups. Seed funding in India is in the range of INR 2.5 million to 20 million ($30K - $300K). That is what Spark Angels targets as well.
BITS Alumni have always been involved with BITSian startups and in fact that is what motivated us to launch a formal investment network to accelerate that process. Some startups which BITSians have funded in the recent past include redBus, Gharpay, Grey Orange Robotics, Gigstart, etc.
All angels come with years of industry experience across sectors. Apart from the angels, we also have a large number of BITSians who have pledged to help BITSian startups across various functional areas. The Spark Angels team along with its strong network will help the startup in a number of ways. These include access to experienced angels, facilitating the startups in preparing their submissions, legal help, tie ups with a number of incubator and accelerators such as The Hatch, Aegis, etc.
We understand that traction tends to be a rather subjective metric, given its variance across industries. And that is why we feel it best to leave it to the judgement of the entrepreneur. One obvious suggestion is to look at the facts realistically
- How many users are you seeing?
- How do you see them growing, and how many of them pay for your services?
- What kind of strategic partnerships do you already have?
- How many of them are in the pipeline and how realistic conversions do you project?
Make no mistake, this is by no means an exhaustive set of parameters, but these are the ones we have most commonly employed in past. Traction can also be estimated by any one of these metrics:
- User adoption
- Customer base
- Key partnerships
- Existing revenue streams
- Prior funding. Prior funding is not a requirement by any means, it's just one of the ways to show traction
The past investment rounds of Spark has seen the involvement of investors like Raju Reddy, Sanjay Nath, Alok Rawat, Anand Morzaria and the like. In a bid to to further augment this illustrious list, we’re in constant touch with BITSians who want to support and invest in BITSian companies, and we expect this list to swell up in the near future. If you or someone you know would like to become an angel, please fill out this form and we’ll get in touch with you at the earliest.
Spark Angels is an angel network, not a 'fund' per se, which means there is no corpus to speak of. This is how it works. A startup states a monetary requirement, say Rs. 1 crore. The Spark Angels then come together and review the final list of companies. The final amount/equity is decided during the due diligence process.
The Spark Angels team along with its strong network will help the startup in a number of ways. These include access to experienced angels, facilitating the startups in preparing their submissions, legal help, tie ups with a number of incubator and accelerators such as The Hatch, Aegis, etc.
The Spark Angels steering committee will present the final shortlist of startups to all the angels. For instance, say one of the startups wants to raise INR 20 million, and it attracts exceptional interest from one of the investors. This investor then takes the lead on this investment and along with other interest angels, invests in this startup. A member from the Spark Angels steering committee moderates the process to ensure smooth functioning.
Spark Angels is committed to making the whole process transparent. The minutes of the meeting, the results of every round, as well as invitations/reminders of every investment round will be made public.