Sequoia Capital has announced the third cohort of its India-based accelerator program, Surge. For those unaware, Surge is a “rapid scale-up” program by Sequoia, wherein the VC firm combines $1 million to $2 million of seed capital with company-building workshops, global immersion trips and support from a community of “exceptional founders”. The third surge cohort includes a group of 15 startups.
The accelerator program comes at a crucial time, considering we are engulfed in possibly one of the worst economic and humanitarian crisis in human history. In a blog post, Sequoia talks about the current lot in Surge 3, saying “This is a scrappy, ambitious and enthusiastic group of founders who have two things in common: an incredibly strong sense of purpose and relentless optimism.”
The startups include, Atlan, BukuKas, CoLearn, Convosight, DrinkPrime, Fittr, Hangry, Last9, Pencil, Pentester Academy, Procol, Thuocsi, Tigerhall and Tinvio. More so, Surge has also invested in a D2C brand in the personal care space, the details of which have not been disclosed.
Out of the 15 selected startups, their founders are a uniquely diverse lot. While one third of the startups have at least one female co-founder, the group is a mix of people from 8 different nationalities. While 7 of the 15 startups are based out of India, the rest are from SE Asian nations such as Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia among others.
The latest addition to the Surge program was kicked off on April 13th.
Interestingly, Surge has picked up largely funded companies this time, perhaps signalling VC interest in startups in difficult times such as these. 80% of Surge 03 startups are coming onboard with institutional co-investors, and almost half have Angel co-investors, too. Collectively, this cohort has raised over $39 million in their Surge rounds.
The programme has collectively brought together companies ranging from a wide range of sectors, including SaaS, Dev tools, Consumer, Fitness, F&B, Education and Health. Sequoia says that Surge has been designed with an ‘open architecture’ in mind and encouraged other investors to come in on the first Surge round, which is held at the start of each programme.
Now, the firm will work closely with all its partnering startups, providing support in terms of product, strategy and hiring, helping them in articulating their mission and defining their company culture.
Seeing how fragile and prone to disturbance the market is, Surge also noted that it has made changes to its delivery model in light of Covid 19. The platform has gone completely online for the first time, with day-long sessions being held once a week for over 15 weeks. Thus, the platform was launched last week, online, through Zoom,the Surge app and “other digital tools to ensure the same high-touch, personalized approach.”
Kunal Shah, Founder of CRED; William Tanuwijaya, Founder and CEO of Tokopedia; Doug Leone, Global Managing Partner, Sequoia Capital are some of the mentors for Surge startups.
With this new addition to the Surge family, the group now stands at 52 strong. Started in March 2019, Surge’s founding fathers were 17 startups. Now, Surge boasts presence in about 6 countries, with 110 founders on board. Surge 01 and 02 also managed to secure about $250 million+ in investments over the course of their lifetimes.