Home >companies >news >iSpirt expands core team to fund, promote more start-ups

Mumbai: Bangalore-based software product lobby body, the Indian Software Products Industry Roundtable, or iSpirt, has added 50 members to its core 30-member ‘Founders Circle’, taking its core membership to 80 companies.

iSpirt was founded in February 2013, when 30 companies decided to move away from software lobby body Nasscom.

The 50 new companies to join iSpirt have been christened as ‘Product Circle Donors, and “represent a cross section of the software product industry and add weight to the cause of the industry".

“We wanted to have a more diverse group and hence invited only those companies that share our vision. We reached out to 61 companies, of which 50 accepted our offer. This is not a membership in that sense. Rather it’s donation from these companies that will help improve the software product ecosystem in the country," said Avinash Raghava, Fellow, iSpirt Foundation.

The money thus raised, said Raghava, will be used to “scale up our existing activities and newer ones", giving an additional fillip to the about 4,000 product start-ups in the country.

The “group of 80 is now small and niche enough, yet deep enough to champion the industry cause", Shekhar Kirani and Anand Deshpande, anchor volunteers for the donor campaign said on the iSpirt official blog.

The software product companies represent a host of sectors including enterprise mobility, Big Data, cloud, analytics, security, healthcare and e-learning. Of the 50 new donor companies that joined iSpirt, 60% focus on enterprise software, 30% on business-to-consumer software and the remaining 10% focus on small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in India.

About 55% target the US market, 30% India and around 15% focus on emerging markets. About 60% companies are funded and around 40% are bootstrapped, or mainly self-funded.

On 15 August, iSpirt launched a “BootUpINDIA" initiative, aimed at helping the selected start-ups to scale and “multiply their enterprise value through various BootUpINDIA initiatives".

“Companies like FusionCharts, RateGain, Kayako, BrowserStack, Cosmic Circuits and HappyFox have shown that Bootstrapping can lead to successful companies. In fact, bootstrapping can create billion-dollar companies too. Zoho is a living example of this," the bootupindia.ispirt.in website reads.

The last date for filing applications is 15 September.

Nasscom has a similar initiative. On 30 June, the software lobby body announced the commencement of the third phase of its 10,000 start-ups initiative by “opening-up of applications from technology startups across the country.

It also announced the launch of a ‘Technology Start-up Registry’, which will act as a repository of India’s technology start-ups in the web, mobile, e-commerce, SAAS (software as a service), marketplace space and will act as a discovery platform for investors, enterprises, media and government authorities.

R. Chandrashekhar, president of Nasscom, had then said that the first two phases of the 10,000 start-ups programme had attracted 7,000 applications of which 529 were shortlisted and over 125 “benefitted by way of receiving funding, acceleration, mentoring, co-working space, enterprise connects and showcase opportunities through the program".

But will these initiatives by Nasscom and iSpirt complement, or confuse, product start-ups?

“This is not about competition between Nasscom versus iSpirt. Rather, it is about bringing in a bigger and more diverse group," said Raghava.

The products part of the information technology (IT) industry has to be treated very differently from the IT industry as a whole, said Jas Gulati, co-founder and chief executive NowFloats.com, explaining the reason for his joining iSpirt as a product circle donor.

“ISpirt has been an enabler in creating this difference as it understands the need of the products and policy framework," added Gulati, whose company helps SMBs start their online businesses.

According to Shekhar Kirani, partner at Accel Partners, iSpirt and Nasscom have complementary roles to play. “I don’t think start-ups will be caught between the two bodies. Both have different roles to play."

Meanwhile, the Indian government too is putting its might behind product start-ups.

The Union budget presented on 10 July announced Rs10,000 crore to promote start-ups that focus on delivering products and services to SMBs.

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