Surat-based IVY Growth Associates on a mission to invest in over 500 startups in India by 2030
For the budding startups in India, 2030 will be a Digital decade driven by technology, data, and transformation. With the mission of nurturing and accelerating the early-stage startups in India, the Surat-based IVY Growth Associates along with its angle network and partners are on the mission to invest in over 500 startups. Prateek Toshniwal, founder and advisor of IVY Growth Associates in an interview with Rahul Mehra talks about his company’s vision and mission of bringing onboard over 500 new startups in India.
RM – Tell us about your professional journey
Prateek – We are known as the family of Chartered Accountants. Right from my father, we have about 23 CAs in the family. Call it heredity or family business, I always wanted to be a chartered accountant. For this, I went to Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics (NM) in Mumbai to pursue CA. NM is often termed and tagged as a ‘CA Factory’ as most of the students are pursuing CA. After becoming CA, I joined KPMG and worked there for three long years. While I was on job, my father, who is also a practising CA, called me to Surat to handle the CA practice in 2017 with the vision that the firm can create a huge impact considering the rapid development in the startup ecosystem. I knew from the start that the traditional practice of CA would not last long, as there was a greater emphasis on digitization and deliverables to compete with the rest of the world. India was my focus always, but the global market was my deep interest.
RM – How do startups inspire you and give you a fresh start in your career?
Prateek – I came across a new jargon called ‘Startups’ when I dug deeper into the subject in 2018. I discovered that startups are new-age companies doing business through a little support from the angel investors who act as mentors to that particular startup and make them grow. I later learnt that good next-gen Startups can be wealth creators! Similar to the stock market and gold investment in India, as well as real estate investment in Surat, a new investment portfolio was added which was called the ‘Startups’. I knew there will be no value of investments in the startups until you have your own money invested. This is how I began, with small investments ranging from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh in new startups and it was interesting. However, I realized that it was important to know in which company you are investing, whether your money is utilized in the right direction and you need to remain in touch with their founders. Since I am a CA, I did the due diligence of the companies and invested in more than 15 startups. Then I realized that many new startups mushroomed in India, but they were lacking proper guidance and mentorship to grow their business and attract investments. In 2020-21, the year of IPOs and Unicorns, a few startups got listed on the stock market and people were interested in the IPOs and that is where the focus entirely shifted to the startup ecosystem for new-age investors!
RM – Tell us about IVY Growth Associates and its establishment
Prateek – I along with Mehul Shah, Sharad Todi, Priyanka Sharma, Rachit Poddar, Shubhangi Mundhra and Beena Tosniwal decided to form a small angel network for entrepreneurs experience in the startup ecosystem and give them a path and make them grow over time. Startups are a patient investment class with a hint of risk always existing hence I wanted the entrepreneurs to go slow and enjoy the journey because if short term minting money is your vision we are not your right fit. We believe in making wealth over a journey of 7-10years and with this vision started IVY Growth Associates! Later Rachit Poddar, Shubhangi Mundhra, Beena Tosniwal and Priyanka Sharma joined the journey. This is how we decided to start a small angel network for early-stage startups.
RM – What was IVY’s first investment project in the startups.
Prateek – In the first three months of IVY’s launch, we did investment in 12 new startups and became advisors to 3 startups. Our first investment project was in Bebeburp, an organic baby food startup from Surat. The 35 lakh investment target of Bebeburp oversubscribed to Rs 70 lakh and we had to make the allotment on the pro-rata-basis to the investors. We also closed the mandate of four startups including Hobit, Zappfresh, Valutionary, and Refrens. Seeing the growth we have launched our acceleration programme for Surat, Guwahati and the entire Northeast, Nagpur, Delhi, and Bangalore, where the startups will come and join the programme and we will provide mentorship, strategy building techniques, marketing and training to make them market-ready and find investors to raise funds for their successful ventures.
RM – Apart from fundraising and investment for the budding startups, what is the company’s USP?
Prateek – It is not that we are investing in any new startups. The early-stage startups with their products have to undergo the acceleration programme ranging from three to six months where we provide them with strategy, mentoring, marketing and fundraising. Mehul Shah with his vast experience in the field of startups for seven long years is the key person to identify the potential of the startups and make them market-ready. We are making the Indian startup sector ready for 2030.
RM – What are the prospects of IVY growth associates?
Prateek – For the startups, 2030 is the decade of transformation, technology, and data. Our target is to invest in about 500 startups by the end of 2030, keeping in mind the Modi Government’s mission of ‘Vocal for Local’ and ‘Make In India’. We have collaborated with the Atal Innovation Centres and Incubation Centres all across India where we will scout the potential startups. Our mission is to make about 50 startups market-ready with investments every year to deliver value and impact in this decade of transformation! We at IVY believe in creation, communication and collaboration.