Entrepreneur First (EF), a UK-based global talent investor and Foundation for Innovation and Research in Science and Technology (F.I.R.S.T.), a section 8 company promoted by Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (“IITK”) have collaborated to build a strong support ecosystem for aspiring tech entrepreneurs. This partnership will facilitate the journey for exceptional and talented individuals who aspire to start tech ventures. EF will support with the process of finding a co-founder at the very early stage of a startup, as well as close mentorship on the idea and business model, and pre-seed investment. The startups formed will have an opportunity to access IITK business incubator as the next step to build a network of expert advisors, access to prototyping facilities and grants. The partnership will also help expose smart technical graduates and researchers from IITK and affiliated institutions to the potential impact they can create through entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneur First has pioneered talent investment in India and has already helped create and invest in 20 companies in just 18 months. The partnership with IITK will further enhance EF’s commitment to accelerating tech entrepreneurship in the country.
Key features of this collaboration are:
- EF and IITK will work together to make ambitious, talented individuals aware about how they can maximize their potential by starting a tech company at EF
- The startups that come out of EF will have access to mentors from IIT Kanpur and, relevant ones can also get fast tracked to the IITK incubator with all its lab and technical support facilities
- IITK recognizes that EF has a pioneering model that invests in individuals even before they have a company. This will unlock tech entrepreneurship in India
- EF acknowledges that the IITK Incubator brings valuable technical support for some of the deep tech companies to accelerate their growth
Speaking about the partnership with IIT Kanpur, Esha Tiwary, General Manager of Entrepreneur First India said, “This partnership is an important step toward strengthening the early stage tech ecosystem in India. These are challenging times, but EF and IITK will work together to support early stage entrepreneurs. EF addresses many of the barriers that aspiring founders face – including finding a co-founder, ideation, mentorship and financial support. Combining this with the access to expertise, lab facilities and network of IITK will become a powerful resource for ambitious individuals to create and accelerate tech startups.”
According to Prof Amitabha Bandyopadhyay, Faculty Head of IITK Incubator, “We are delighted about the partnership with Entrepreneur First. It will be a win-win situation for industry and academia. EF will help our bright technical talent find the right business experts as co-founders and build ambitious businesses, which we can then support further through our incubator. In the current times, the brightest minds need to be working on new innovative solutions to global problems.” He further added, “The innovation ecosystem of FIRST/IIT Kanpur is apparent from the fact that in the past two months alone, IIT Kanpur’s incubated companies have commercialized three products aimed at fighting different aspects of the COVID-19 crisis. The collaboration with EF will further enhance this ecosystem.”
As part of the collaborative program, the two brands will engage with potential founders through webinars, interactive discussions, and online mentorship for students, researchers, and alumni of IITK and affiliated institutions. The initial webinar held recently was a huge success, with over 200 attendees. It featured founders of startups that have gone through the EF program talking about their journey and answering questions from aspiring entrepreneurs.