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In 2002, when single-screens were still leaders in the movie business, Shravan Shroff saw the future in multiplexes. With an investment of just Rs 4.5 crore, he co-founded Fame Adlabs with Manmohan Shetty. Although, difficult to convince people to see cinema business and multiplexes as monetarily rewarding, Shroff managed to find investors and within a few years, Fame multiplexes were everywhere.

Now, Shroff along with Ravi Kiran has co-founded VentureNursery, an angel investing company that provides business guidance and mentorship to innovative start-ups. The company, now in its second year, will soon finish its work with another batch of start-ups, a total of four companies.

Boot camp for start-ups
“Each start-up is challenged on their weak areas through multiple sessions. By the end of the programme, we believe that the start-ups are in a much better position than they were when they joined the programme,” explains Shroff adding that the company is choosy during the selection process; since, they received nearly 160 applications. Today, the company has 12 angel investors and two early stage funds as its members. In addition, it also has 20 advisors-in-residence, from diverse domains.

On successful completion, each start-up is given an opportunity to present its business idea to charter angels and angels-in-residence for feedback and potential seed funding. The aim is to help “each idea get a chance to realise its full potential,” he adds. The four companies selected for the second edition include Interview Master, Klip, Smart Sample and The Venturator.

Mentorship matters
Shroff says that the start-up ecosystem in India is developing rapidly, but young companies are often either not mentored at all or are
passively mentored, resulting in much time being spent in raising money, instead of building the business, sometimes leading to closure of enterprise. According to Venture Intelligence, the number of start-ups approaching angel investors / accelerators is close to 3,500 and growing every year, but it’s still less when compared to the 47,830 new companies that were registered in 2011. This, Shroff believes, makes the role of mentors or angel-accelerators crucial.  “From my experience as an entrepreneur, I know that I would have benefitted immensely and made fewer mistakes if I had the benefit of mentorship in my early days of building my company. Accelerated mentorship helps in sharpening their value proposition, strengthen their business model and team, and learn to approach investors,” he adds. While this sounds promising the lone question that remains unanswered, is how much freedom will this system allow for young start-ups. Watch this space for the after-story.

What is an angel accelerator?
An angel accelerator is a team of experts, who help strengthen your business, find the flaws and fix them in time and simultaneously, find potential investors to scale up your company. 

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