Sequoia India on Wednesday announced the first cohort of 15-women led startups including seven from India under its fellowship programme, Spark Fellowship.
The annual programme was announced in July to provide a grant of $100,000 and mentorship to help encourage women entrepreneurship in India and Southeast Asia.
Apart from the seven Indian startups in the first cohort, seven are from Southeast Asia and one from the Middle East across fintech, edtech, software-as-a-service (SaaS), and consumer internet sectors, said Sequoia India in a statement.
These startups have a total of 20 women founders from India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Singapore, and the UAE. The statement added that half of the startups in this cohort are already building global companies from day one.
The seven selected startups from India are The Nestery, a one-stop-shop for curated parenting and childcare products; Linecraft AI, an industrial Internet of things (IOT) startup; Loop Panel, which helps convert customer conversations into actionable insights; and Early Steps, which offers live online classes on 21st century essential subjects.
Two Indian startups come from the fintech space -- Jify, which aims to empower employees with complete flexibility and access to their earnings in real-time; and Findeed, which is focussed on working class Indians. From India there is also Nume Crypto, which is focused on making crypto transactions simple and economical. Nume Crypto was founded by former Amazon employees Niveda Harishankar and Madhumitha Harishankar.
Of late, the venture industry appears to be taking cognisance of this lack of women representation in startups and some entities seem to be making an effort to address the issue.
In July, early-stage venture firm Kalaari Capital said it will set aside $10 million (Rs 74.2 crore) annually to invest in startups led by women under its CXXO programme launched this year.
In September, gradCapital announced a $500,000 (Rs 3.72 crore) student-focused venture capital fund directed towards women founders - named Entreprenher.