As an early-stage VC fund, we have an enviable visibility to entrepreneurs who dare to dream and execute disruptive ideas. People who leave their comfort zones and question the status quo; women and men with the spirit of enterprise and the courage to overcome any challenge by re-engineering their solutions, processes and people. In evaluating startups for investment, we look for this breed of founders who we call ‘Challengineers’.
Since inception, our team of analysts have personally evaluated 19,025 startups and yet, we have invested in just 16 companies in Fund I and 19 in Fund II: that’s because we go beyond the business idea or the executional ability of a team and peel away the layers until our partners are completely satisfied that the founding team has the Challengineering gene in their DNA. We know too that, in a VUCA world, no amount of predictions can be assured and that an entire operation may either need to pivot away from its original intent or adapt and evolve not just to survive, but to thrive.
The YourNest SOAR program, a two-week pioneering fast-track funding initiative, was launched on 1 May 2020 with the single-minded objective of investing in a select few startups, despite the Coronavirus pandemic that brought the world in general – and the venture funding industry in particular – to a grinding halt. At YourNest we were clear that this was, in fact, the ideal time for passionate, future-oriented startups to be encouraged even more.
Of the total 1,933 applications received (48% of which were in AI/ML & Enterprise SaaS domains) 64 were shortlisted for a detailed evaluation and five startups that were selected in this program are: Argoid, Xpedize, LightspeedAI, UptimeAI and Mauna. The program has invested between US$ 250,000 and US$ 1 mn in funding in each of these startups.
YourNest SOAR was supported by several eco-system partners – Amazon Web Services, Cisco, Intel Maker Lab, Freshworks and JioNext along with Agnii and Invest India – who have committed their network, resources and specialists to the selected startups.