NetApp announces ExcellerateHER, a B2B deep tech accelerator programme for women entrepreneurs

Sangeetha Chengappa Bengaluru | Updated on July 23, 2020 Published on July 23, 2020

Madhurima Agarwal, Leader, NetApp Excellerator,

Applications are open for the 7th cohort of NetApp Excellerator programme

NetApp Excellerator, one of the leading B2B deep tech accelerator programmes in India, has started a new subset to its program – ExcellerateHER for women entrepreneurs.

“Having been an entrepreneur myself I know of the many challenges women entrepreneurs face. While it is shocking to learn that the number of funded start-ups with at least one female co-founder declined from 17 per cent in 2018 to 12 per cent in 2019, according to data from Innoven Capital; it is heartening to know that private technology companies led by women are more capital-efficient, achieving 35 per cent higher ROI and when venture-backed, achieve 12 per cent higher revenue than start-ups run by men, according to the Kauffman Foundation. All the data about women is so contrary to what we think of intuitively – that Diversity brings growth to the business,” Madhurima Agarwal, Leader, NetApp Excellerator, told BusinessLine.

“We need more women in the B2B deep tech domain and therefore decided to start ExcellerateHER for women entrepreneurs that will run in parallel with the 7th cohort of our flagship Excellerator programme that begins in October, for which applications are open on,” she said.

Along with the 5-6 start-ups that NetApp will select for the 4-month-long Excellerator programme, it will also select 2-3 women-led start-ups for the ExcellerateHER programme. “These start-up women entrepreneurs will also get to network and share skills with our Women in Technology (WIT) programme members,” said Agarwal, who is an advisor to the WIT group at NetApp.

NetApp held its sixth demo day for the 6th cohort of its NetApp Excellerator today. The demo day was held via video with the six participating start-ups and guests from across the globe. Since the programme was launched in June 2017, 35 start-ups have graduated from this programme that is focussed on cloud and data related technologies.

“The 6th cohort which started in March is a unique experience for all of us. The start-ups have gained real-world crisis-leadership experience. We’ve enjoyed tremendous success with all our cohorts so far including this one. After graduating, over 70 per cent of the start-ups have secured follow-on funding and three alumni have had successful exits. Another important aspect is that we enable start-ups to anticipate customer needs and validate value propositions through paid Proof-of-Concepts, and we have had 9 successful PoCs to date” said Agarwal.

NetApp responded to the Covid lockdown with a quick transition to an online curriculum and selected six deep tech start-ups Aikaan Labs, Cyborgintell, IQLECT, Koinearth, Kubesafe and Myelin Foundry, for the 6th cohort virtually. Through a four-month remote networking and mentoring period, these start-ups strengthened their business during a global crisis situation. Inspired by this opportunity, they even contributed to finding solutions in navigating this tough time. For instance, Myelin Foundry, a deep tech AI start-up that develops AI algorithms on video, voice, and sensor data for edge devices, is revolutionising the video streaming space, which is seeing a huge uptake during the pandemic. Similarly, AiKaan Labs, a start-up that provides a deep view into edge computing and IoT devices, is helping accelerate digital adoption.

Registrations for the seventh cohort are now open, that offers a fully paid PoC, or an equity-free grant of $15,000. B2B tech start-ups with products in the areas of hybrid cloud, AI, IoT, DevOps, Kubernetes and data management are invited to apply on

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Published on July 23, 2020
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