Two engineering graduates have launched a $1 million fund to support and invest in startups founded by college students. Abhishek Sethi and Prateek Behera, graduates from IIM-A and BITS Pilani, respectively, launched their venture, gradCapital, based in Bengaluru. The venture would invest $25,000 in each of the 20 startups they select over the next year. gradCapital, also being supported by' CIIE.CO - The Innovation Continuum'', based out of IIM Ahmedabad, would host an eight-week, intensive programme for companies founded and run by college students, it said in a statement.
"Apart from building a strong and sustainable structure for their company, these young entrepreneurs will leave with countless tools, crucial knowledge, a network of peers, mentors and investors, and funding of $25,000", it said.
gradCapital plans to invest in 100 startups in the next three years. It has now opened the application process for its first cohort of startups.
"We genuinely believe in academic spaces. Entrepreneurship is a way to bring such strong ideas to life and create value for society. We are betting on such ideas," said Sethi.
While conceptualising the idea of gradCapital, Sethi and Behera ran a pilot to test their "hypothesis". They ended up with a cohort of eight companies, including KiranaKart, Humit, Codedamn, Valerio Electric, and Neuralastic.
According to Behera, "There is tremendous value waiting to be unlocked by students from Science, Commerce, Arts, and Engineering colleges".