“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
Corny way to start a blog, with a quote, I know. To my defence, most books, sometimes every chapter start with a thought provoking quote.
This quote has stuck with me for quite some time and it doesn’t necessarily apply to magic only, it applies to everything that is not the norm.You will notice that there are very few believers when you start something new and disruptive. It makes people uncomfortable knowing that they can’t predict the outcome (can we really?). I still remember the days, 5 years ago when we started TLabs, almost everyone looked at me funnily when I said large scalable companies can be built with initial Rs 10L of capital. I still remember colleagues asking me if I would vacate the space after 6 months as it may need to be reallocated (We did vacate 4 years later but only to move to a larger space in Bangalore).
As each year passed, we thought of writing our journey – learnings, stories and insights but we always slipped. More important things kept us from writing. There was always a batch that was about to start, there always was a fire with one company or the other, one was raising, the other looking for CTO, someone needed our advice on how to handle a particular Angel Investor, structure ESOPS, talk about strategy and it went on. In this maddening pace to help our portfolio we could never put the pen to paper (or keyboard to Google Docs, if you prefer that).
The Formative Years – we thought different, we still do
This year is special to us, this February marked 5 years of TLabs 1st batch. Gautam Sinha (our current CEO) conceptualised TLabs with a belief that there was an opportunity to create a new model in India by helping young entrepreneurs in their journey to build tech businesses. Times Internet was evolving to become a technology led product company from the umbrella of a media giant. We were the biggest consumer of technology product in India and our growth was technology led. Not only we wanted to give back, we knew that a right structure, like minded people, a great environment and culture was needed to build this ecosystem.
Within 5 months (by Jan’12) we had gathered a helpful team, some great people as advisors, deep network, different perspectives and very helpful way of working with entrepreneurs. When we look back 5 years, it is always an inspiring feeling that we have grown from 3 companies to 53, handful of mentors to over 130+ and 100+ founders who are part of the family. If we also add up the employees in all of our startups, we touch over 1000 lives.
The idea to start an Accelerator was inspired by the fabulous job accelerators were doing in the west. But we realised that India is different in many ways. Different in way people perceive technology, different in how they use, consume and pay for tech products, the opportunities itself are very different. We understood very early that we will have to see India with a different lens, just copying the west will not work. We did borrow a lot of best practices but we applied them differently, we changed them to suit the local needs. We are very proud of our contribution to the Indian Startup Ecosystem and what we have achieved, and with this post we wanted to share some of the numbers with all of you.
Before that, we also want to tell everyone that we are launching our next Fall Batch (B12), this program would be an exclusive Consumer facing B2C cohort. It would kick off in the 1st week of July’17. You can apply for this “Consumer facing B2C” cohort here
TLabs in numbers:
So back to sharing some numbers and our achievements of the last 5 years:
- TLabs has supported over 53 startups across Web/Mobile and across sectors in the last 5 years of operation, some names you would already know InShorts, Happay, Dataweave, Gradeup, Greedygame, MintM, Pratilipi, Spoyl and some you will hear in the near future.
- We are a huge joint family, 1000+ and adding more every week.
- 100+ portfolio founders have graduated through the TLabs program so far.
- Dataweave was our first investment it continues to grow well in India and US.
- We have a respected success rate of 80% startups surviving through scale, behavioral changes, competition and onward journey.
- We were surprised ourselves when we looked back and saw that we had funded 31 B2B and 22 B2C companies. Everyone who knew our lineage would think it to be a flip.
- The average age of our startup founders is 27 years.
- 2 Company founders were still in college when we invested in them.
- 70-75% of founders are from engineering background
- 55% of our portfolio have raised subsequent seed round of Investments,the cumulative raise ranging around 58 M+ USD with the average raise about 2 M USD.
- 13% of our portfolio companies have seen a liquidity/acquisition events.
- Total value of our portfolio put together is 200 M+ USD till date and growing.
- One of our portfolio company has already crossed 180 employees.
- We provide startups with a working space in Bangalore for 4-6 months to mingle with fellow mates, exchange sparks and keep the spirit going
- We are a mentor-oriented Program with more than 130 Mentors work very closely with our startups helping them build the next big thing.
- Our partners like Tech Infra partners, ecosystem partners and other partners support our startups by providing the tools and support worth more than $500K. It makes starting up slightly easier.
- We invest a sum of 50,000 USD in each startup for 8% equity. Having skin in the game keeps everyone motivated.
What are we doing now and why
You may be wondering why a consumer facing B2C cohort when most of our B2B and SaaS companies like Dataweave and Happay have done so well for themselves.
The answer to the above question lies in our lineage, TLabs was founded in one of the India’s largest digital product company Times Internet Limited, serving more than 200M users every month. Our parentage provides a very strong platform for a consumer facing startup deep understanding of India’s Internet consumers. We want to use that knowledge and reach to help create some winners, we are on a mission to help create a few big consumer startups in India.
If you are a B2C or a B2B2C startup and dream big then apply to TLabs Fall’17 Consumer Program. Lets take this journey together.
Last but not the least, we do promise to write regularly.