Rajesh Sawhney to launch start-up accelerator next month

MUMBAI: After spending more than a decade in the media & entertainment sector, Rajesh Sawhney has launched GSF Accelerator, an initiative to give startups in the digital domain a push.

Set to launch next month, GSF Accelerator will provide 12 start-ups in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore with personalised mentoring, access to funding and business networks, and initial capital.

Sawhney, who was earlier the president of Reliance Entertainment, has founded GSF Superangels, a network of 30 digital founders and investors. The key advisors to GSF include global mobile platform InMobi CEO, founder Naveen Tewari, Venture fund Matrix Partners founder Avnish Bajaj, Index Ventures partner, co-founder of TAG and Seedcamp Saul Klein and Dave McClure, founder of 500 startups, a leading early stage investor in the Silicon Valley.

"GSF Accelerator program is built around three unique values: intensity of mentorship, deep collaboration with the ecosystem, and creation of a global springboard for the next generation of Indian start-ups. This program is designed to create the next wave of product-oriented technology start-ups in the areas of mobile, social, local and cloud. There is no reason that Indian entrepreneurs cannot create the next Instagram, or the next twitter, or the next InMobi," explains Sawhney.

The veteran media executive said that 12 start-ups will receive initial funding from GSF this year to begin with. The 12 start-ups will also be showcased at the GSF 2012 (The Second Global Superangels Forum) on from 26-27 November, where 400 leading early stage investors from across the world will meet start-ups.

The programme will run simultaneously in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore during October-November, 2012, with each location hosting four start-ups. Coaching will be provided to each of the 12 GSF start-ups over seven weeks by a mentor pool of over 200 leading co-founders and digital masterminds from across the world. The GSF accelerator start-ups will attend 25 intensive and proprietary workshops conducted by global experts.

A total of 30 founders are funding GSF Superangels and GSF Accelerator. Indian funds such as Kae Capital and Blume Venture have also partnered with GSF Accelerator.

GSF has entered into key strategic partnerships to provide a global springboard for these start-ups. "GSF has tied up with 500 renowned start-ups by Dave McClure to provide access to its Silicon Valley networks. Similarly, the leading European accelerator and mentorship platform, Seedcamp will provide deep access to the GSF start-ups in Europe," says Sawhney.

"Similarly, GSF is proud to announce its tie-up with Singapore-based fund Ruvento. This relationship with Ruvento will create a cross-border fertilisation of businesses and capital between India, Singapore and Russia."

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