After a three-month delay caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, Silicon Road, a US-based early-stage venture capital firm, kick started the second edition of its Indian Accelerator program with six start-ups on Monday.

The 12-week virtual acceleration program, focused exclusively on retail and foodtech, attracted over 430 applications. Of these, 19 start-ups were pitched to the jury comprising top executives from the start-up ecosystem, who selected six start-ups — BUYbot, Redesyn, BFore, Extovate Ventures, Upperclimb and Supply6.

The accelerator is designed to re-imagine the future of retail and food, with a unique approach that partners seed-stage start-ups with cutting edge academic researchers and industry leaders. The accelerator aims to be an innovation lifeline for retailers who do not have the resources to sustain a meaningful program on their own, allowing them to invest in and own the technology to power future profitability.

During the 12-week program, Silicon Road will invest an initial amount of ₹25 lakh in the qualifying start-ups in exchange for 3-5 per cent equity stake, with a possibility of follow-on investments and investment through syndicates, and partner investor networks. The first cohort of the accelerator had seven start-ups, including GetPY, IndiBean Coffee, Dhriti Bio Solutions, Ornativa Fashion, Q-Online, Meatup and Pickurflick. Of these, only three start-ups received seed funding from the program.

The six start-ups will receive intensive one-on-one guidance and mentoring by the Growth Hackers, Entrepreneur-In-Residence, CTO on Demand, Industry Mentors and Investors. Additionally, start-ups will also get to be part of the virtual workshops and will obtain key inputs on their business and financial plans.

“Our entire start-up selection process for this cohort has been remote and virtual. Despite a number of constraints due to the Covid-19 situation, we successfully sourced and evaluated more than 430 start-ups, which showed a lot of promise and are working to solve some of the key problems faced by customers in the food & retail industry. We also offer these start-ups the opportunity to establish themselves in global markets by giving them a chance to pitch to US retailers. The virtual program provides a lot of flexibility and wider reach to the start-up ecosystem” said Sanjay Srinivasmurthy, Director & Head of Silicon Road India.