Former promoter of mulitplex chain operator Fame India Shravan Shroff and former Starcom Mediavest executive Ravi Kiran are backing the creation of startup accelerator VentureNursery. Both Shroff and Kiran have invested in the accelerator which will mentor startups before they go for angel funding.

Mumbai-based VentureNursery, which claims to be India's first angel-backed accelerator, will start two batches of 5-8 startups each during the first year. Each batch will go on for a period of 13 weeks, with the first batch starting in May. During this period the incubator will provide them with building infrastructure like office space, operational infrastructure and access to a pool of expert service providers, such as law firms, company secretary, finance and accounting professionals, among others.

In addition, startups will also be mentored by various industry experts and will even have access to a pool of executives who can join them as co-founders or senior executives. For this, VentureNursery will take a stake in the startups in the form of sweat equity.

VentureNursery is also building a group of 5-7 'Charter Angels,' which will include some angel investors and venture capital funds. They will also have the option to invest in startups once they come out of bootcamp. Initially, these angels will invest Rs 5-10 lakh in the selected startups.

It will start with a focus on six sectors – media & entertainment, retail, e-commerce, consumer technology, education and cleantech. VentureNursery will also mentor a few startups outside its bootcamp. Application for the first set of startups will be accepted between April 1 and April 23.

Both Kiran and Shroff have also been active angel investors with organisations like India Angel Network and Mumbai Angels, having backed over a dozen start-ups between them. VentureNursery will be run by Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, who  was earlier head of west India for Indian Angel Network. He has  joined as executive vice president.

“Today’s start up scenario is different from when I started Fame Cinemas. On one hand, there is an  abundance of ideas and passionate people. On the other, the market is rather harsh and passion alone is not enough to build a successful business. An entrepreneur needs the whole ecosystem working like a well-oiled machine for the business to get off the ground. That’s why Ravi and I thought of creating VentureNursery – to give smart idea owners a fighting chance to take off,” said Shravan Shroff, co-founder, VentureNursery.

Added Ravi Kiran, co-founder, VentureNursery, “As active members of Mumbai Angels and Indian  Angel Network, we often find that entrepreneurs approach the network in an underprepared state. Without the right building blocks, they take too long to raise funds, when they should be using their energy to build the business. That’s where VentureNursery comes in.”

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