BLS Accelerator, a part of BLS International, is probably India’s only startup accelerator that is focused on building a global platform for Indian startups.
The Accelerator has put together a team of domain and technology experts to mentors young entrepreneurs to build the next global company. With the extensive global presence of BLS International, the parent company of BLS Accelerator, startups have the exclusive opportunity of foraying across 60 plus destinations internationally.
BLS International is one of the world’s largest specialist service providers for outsourcing of visa, passport, attestation and citizen services to the governments and diplomatic missions globally.
Manish Joshi from NewsBarons connects with Riya Aggarwal, CEO and Founder of BLS Accelerator who informs ‘Until Accelerators don’t become a part of the entrepreneur’s journey; the failure ratio of startups will keep on increasing’.
Riya: As a part of BLS International, I was responsible for designing and developing new projects that could seamlessly integrate with our existing line of business. With growth in technology and the push towards digital India, the thought was to build capacities that would help us scale our existing businesses in the future. We studied the startup ecosystem in India and abroad and realized certain need gaps that could propel early startups strongly into the next development phase and started our work towards building internal capabilities before scouting and investing in startups. Today, we have a team of experts as Mentors who come with considerable industry experience and are leaders in their respective fields.
BLS Accelerator will be equal opportunity partners to help startup scale to their full potential.
NB: Are you sector agnostic while selecting startups?
Riya: One of the many reasons startups fail is because their support system (investor/accelerator) is not capable enough in terms of domain knowledge and business nuances to provide proper guidance or help them network amongst peer group.
With BLS International, we have strong business presence and proven experience across diversified sectors. We will, initially, focus on those startup that meet our existing business criteria as we will be in a strong position to handhold them through their growth journey. At present, we are focusing on niche sectors like Agritech, G2C, E-governance, Healthcare and Travel.
NB: How would you be scouting for these startups?
Riya: We have already built a network in the startup ecosystem through various initiatives and have started receiving proposal from numerous startups from across the country. We will be launching our first accelerator programme of 2019 in April with a batch size of around 10 startups to begin with. We will launch 3 similar accelerator programmes this year apart from other industry participation opportunities. We have earmarked upto US$1 million startup funding for this year and will support nearly 5-6 startups across mentioned sectors.
NB: There is high rate of startup failures in India?
Riya: Startups fail for a variety of reasons like lack of funding, lack of market understanding, improper guidance, technology issues, competition challenges, networking in-competencies, failure of category extensions and price wars amongst others. Young entrepreneurs are primarily focused on product research, market gap and launch to begin their journey and require support across departments like legal, technical, people management and funding to sustain their venture in the initial period of launch. It is imperative for young entrepreneurs to put their faith in mentors and this is possible only when the mentors bring in experienced based solutions for all teething problems.
We are heavily focussed on mentoring these startups by domain experts who bring in years of knowledge, experience and connect to help define product excellence, user based value proposition and help create a distribution channel for product movement. In the initial period, accelerators will have to become a part of the entrepreneur’s journey to understand his pain points and supporting him through the trying phase.
Accelerator’s vision can have a strong impact on the start-up’s success.
NB: Which amongst the BLS focused sectors are poised for exponential growth in the near future?
Riya: We believe that all startups across our focussed sectors will attain success on the back of our structured planning. Our vision is to build ‘Companies of the Future’ that have global relevance.
From the industry standpoint, Healthcare and Travel are bound to grow beyond expected industry numbers. The digital innovation in the healthcare sector is slowly redesigning the way healthcare solutions have been deployed traditionally and with India being on the map as a Medical Tourism destination, we have already witnessed encouraging growth for investors to bet big on this sector.