Jain Trade Community Reaches Out to Startups in Chennai

In its endeavor to support startups and give the economy a boost, the Jain International Trade Organization (JITO) organized an ‘Investors Pitch Day’ at the Jain Pavilion, Hanger 4, in Chennai. This was the 4th in the series of such events organized by the enterprising Jain community in different metros over the last few months, the aim of which is to fund and hand-hold young entrepreneurs in the country.

The Chennai Investors Pitch Day was particularly important being part of the prestigious 2-day JITO Connect programme in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several prominent politicians and business tycoons participated.

JITO is a unique multi-stakeholder community of visionary Jains who share a commitment to shape the future of the country by working with young entrepreneurs. It has 10 administrative zones, 61 chapters, and 37 units. It has over 6,000 members and their numbers are rising every day.

JITO’s Investors Pitch Day is an excellent opportunity for startups and entrepreneurs to showcase their potential.

A host of high-potential startups pitched their business ideas to JITO’s Angel Network (JAN) members for investments, while several others participated just to learn from the experience.

The Chennai Investors Pitch Day was marked by enthusiastic participation and hectic activities. There were entrepreneurs from various fields: Education, Finance, IT, Transport, etc. making pitches and seeking investment.

Start-ups with interesting profiles included Edsix Brain Lab Pvt Ltd, an online assessment and training platform for thinking skills using game based pedagogy; Impact Guru, an online fundraising/ crowdfunding platform that helps individuals and NGOs raise money for medical, personal, or social purposes; Get Parking, a smart parking platform where parkers, providers and others can solve their parking/traffic problems and help them make/save more money, minimise costs, improve security, reduce violations and improve customer experience; Bank 2 Grow, a new-age finance company thatprovides an online lending marketplace connecting borrowers seeking transparent, cost‐effective loans with lenders wanting great returns; and OckyPocky, India’s first personalized interactive video learning app for 150M preschool kids.

Over 300 JAN members, many of them industry leaders in their respective zones and a large number of seasoned Angel Investors participated in the meet. The volume of funds that investors were willing to pledge was by no means small. Individual investors broadly considered investing a minimum of 5 lakhs to a crore in each startup cumulatively leading to a ticket size of 50 lakhs to 5 crores per startup. At the Mumbai Investors Pitch Day in which 7 startups participated close to USD 3 million investmentwas considered by the JITO Angel Network.

Speaking of the initiative, Dr Narendra Shyamsukha, Chairman JITO Incubation and Innovation Foundation and Founder Chairman, ICA Edu Skills, said, “Our youth are the leaders of tomorrow. Since we have a vision of shaping the future of the country, we help and support young entrepreneurs and their business ideas. We believe that this can improve the business scenario in the country. Today’s pitch round will be followed up with funding and a lot of hand holding for these startups by experienced Jain industrialists and professionals in various fields.”

Mr. Anil Jain, Director In-charge, JITO Incubation and Innovation Foundation (JIIF) and Founding Chairman, Refex Group of Companies, added, “We assess how these young entrepreneurs plan to scale up their ventures and how these will help solve consumer problems in an innovative way.”

The Pitch Day is also an opportunity for new investors to consider startup investments as an alternate investment avenue. There were knowledge sessions on the dynamics of Angel Investing. The day was also an opportunity for startups to network with relevant investors for strategic support and mentoring apart from seeking funding.

JITO has a number of incubation centers across major cities in the country to help and nurture startups. The first such center was started in Mumbai in September 2017 and has been followed up with similar centers in other metros. Many startups are housed in the incubation centers set up by JITO and are provided shared support services like HR, legal, IT and accounts and ready market.

JITO’s Angel Network aims to be the largest angel network in India in terms of portfolio value. Startups don’t have to be a Jain outfit to pitch for funds from JAN. All are welcome to present their ideas and seek investment. JAN’s aim is to facilitate economic empowerment in the country through the startup ecosystem.

JITO’s Incubation and Innovation Foundation (JIIF), a wholly owned subsidiary of JITO, supports JAN funded Startups through strategic connects and visibility. The incubation arm of JIIF called JITO Incubation Centre provides infrastructure/space to work, training, marketing support, shared services, networking and funding opportunities to Startups who join as incubates through a 6-month structured Incubation program. Some free credit and services are also extended to JAN funded companies.

JITO has plans a number of incubation centers across major cities in the country to help and nurture startups. The first such center was started in Mumbai in September 2017 and has more than 16 Startups incubated currently. They also provide virtual Incubation to any Startups across the country.