Published: 30th May 2018
This IIT start-up will help other start-ups get their game right
YNOS Venture Engine will help early stage start-ups to get a complete understanding of the start-up environment and be good enough to get people to invest in them
When one hears that a founder of a start-up is an IITian, we're seldom surprised, now the Indian Institute of Technology has incubated a start-up whose objective is to help other start-ups. The fact that start-up mortality has fallen in the recent past was one of the reasons why the company was set up in the first place.
Founded by Prof Thillai Rajan from the Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras, the start-up YNOS Venture Engine uses Machine Learning and Data Sciences tools and techniques to help enhance the success of early-stage start-ups. Rajan has worked at IIT for the last 12 years and studied the trends, characteristics and dynamics of the industry, "I realised that this sort of academic research would be useful for entrepreneurs. Over the years, the number of start-ups have increased., the investors have also increased but the start-ups are still not well versed in raising capital."
Rajan says that in the last 8-10 years, when start-up founders need capital, they usually approached investment bankers but they only prefer to help start-ups that are in their mid-level or at a later stage, not in their early stages. "Entrepreneurs find it really hard to get support in the initial stages. We realised that you cannot use traditional ways to garner capital anymore but we can use technology to help early start-ups," Rajan said.
Man of the moment: Prof Thillai Rajan has worked at IIT for the last 12 years and studied the trends, characteristics and dynamics of the industry
YNOS offers a range of services to a new entrepreneur, for instance, it provides a complete understanding of the competitive landscape, "If someone wants to set up a fashion-related company then we provide them with the entire history of how many similar start-ups are present currently, how strong they are and what is their value. The investment trends in the past are also given to them," Rajan explained. The professor said that the problem with first-time entrepreneurs is that they are good with their idea and the technical aspects of it but fail to come up with appropriate financial figures,YNOS will allow entrepreneurs to suggest an appropriate amount and also find the most promising investor who will be sure to be interested in their idea, "Otherwise, the entrepreneurs will go to a number of investors and get turned down, wasting time unnecessarily."
Besides these services provided online, YNOS also provides some offline consulting services, "Sometimes an entrepreneur can be very passionate about their idea but will be unable to present it to a potential investor in the right way. So we can train these entrepreneurs on these skills as well and they can also meet with people who are highly experienced in this regard," the IIT professor said.
The professor said that the problem with first-time entrepreneurs is that they are good with their idea and the technical aspects of it but fail to come up with appropriate financial figures.
While there are other similar platforms that are devoted to helping entrepreneurs, Rajan says that the factor that makes YNOS stand out is that it is is completely "entrepreneur-first". "The alternative platforms usually focus on the investors but this platform addresses the entrepreneurs needs and requirements," he added.
Arun Natarajan, an investor in YNOS, said, “Start-ups that approach professional investors for the first time tend to be underprepared on various fronts. This tends to cause a lot of delay in fundraising - if not completely derail it. By aiming to provide actionable information on this front, YNOS is poised to play an important role in making Early Stage funding process in the country more efficient. ”