India: Essel’s Subhash Chandra launches non-profit accelerator for media startups

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Essel Group promoter and chairman Subhash Chandra on Tuesday launched Esselerator, a mentorship and accelerator program for start-ups in media and entertainment sector. This is the first in a string of philanthropic initiatives to be launched under the Subhash Chandra Foundation. The foundation has an investment corpus of Rs5,000 crore from Chandra’s family wealth which besides start-ups will work in areas of social impact and aim to create a self sustaining environment for businesses.

“The Esselerator program focused towards media tech and edutech will be free of cost to the entrepreneur who gets selected. Usually there is cash fee or equity that accelerator programs globally ask for, but this will be totally free of cost. We are not charging any money to the start-up. That’s why its part of the foundation,” said Amit Goenka, chief executive (International Broadcast Business) at Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.

The program has been launched in association with the Essel Group and will be powered by TiE Mumbai, a non-profit global community.

“After mentorship and going through the program when start-ups pitch their businesses to potential investors, then those investors will fund their start-ups going forward. If it’s media and entertainment, Zee Entertainment could be a potential investor in those.We are looking to invest in start-up technologies that will help us grow our business. We are a vertically integrated media house right from production to broadcasting. So, we have the best scope in terms of providing value to these start-ups in terms of their own growth and driving value from them to grow our own business,”Goenka added.

Essel Group and its companies could also co-partner with other third party investors.

The first mentorship program of 8-12 weeks under Esselerator will start by mid January.

The program aims to give the founding teams access to Essel Group’s resources, networks and platforms to test and grow their start-ups into viable businesses. The selected teams will be mentored by the leadership of Essel Group including Subhash Chandra, the chief mentor, Punit Goenka, MD and CEO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd and Amit Goenka, CEO – International Broadcast Business, ZEEL, and senior management of Essel Group, along with industry experts from different fields.

Incubators and accelerators continue to play an important role in the growth of the Indian start-up ecosystem. The number of incubators and accelerators have grown by 40%,with more than 40 new ones added in 2016, according to a new report by Nasscom published in May.

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This story was first published on Livemint