Navigating the Funding Winter
In the ever-evolving startup landscape, entrepreneurs are driven by an unwavering determination to solve real-life problems and bring their ideas to life. However, transforming these ideas into successful ventures requires more than just innovation and hard work. It demands a strategic approach to overcome the challenges of the funding winter and establish robust relationships within the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Amidst the icy grip of the funding winter, venture capital firms have become extremely conservative in their investments, posing a formidable challenge for entrepreneurs seeking funding. To navigate this crunch, startups must actively engage with industry experts, mentors, and fellow founders who can provide invaluable guidance, share their experiences, and open doors to new avenues of financial support. Building these relationships becomes vital in transforming startup ideas from mere seedlings to flourishing ventures.
As the frost of the funding winter settles startups should leverage the power of specialized programs tailored to their industry. Joining startup incubators or accelerators grants access to mentors and industry-specific knowledge and provides a network of potential investors. Engaging in these initiatives offers startups invaluable support and amplifies their visibility within the investment community.
Conquest: Empowering Startups with a Transformative Approach
Nestled within India's thriving entrepreneurial landscape thrives Conquest, an extraordinary platform that serves as the flagship startup accelerator of BITS Pilani. Drawing inspiration from esteemed accelerators such as Y Combinator and Sequoia's Surge, Conquest combines the expertise and inspiration drawn from renowned accelerators with the unique perspectives and dedication of its student-led team.This convergence fuels a transformative experience for the startups it supports, equipping them with the necessary tools to thrive in a competitive market.
Backed by WestBridge Capital, Conquest has adopted a zero-cost, zero-equity model and has already disbursed over Rs 1 crore in equity-free grants over the past three years alone. It extends beyond funding, providing startups with mentorship, and resources worth $300K+ from companies like Freshworks, Auth0, and Stripe, alongside extensive media coverage.
Throughout its 18-year journey, it has been instrumental in propelling the growth of more than 5000 startups, including notable successes like Thinkerbell Labs, which secured Rs 1.05 crores on Shark Tank India, and SocialCops, which evolved into Atlan, a company valued at $500M+
Enriching Programs and an Immersive Journey to Success
Out of the thousands of registrations received annually, Conquest selects and empowers the top 30 startups, providing them with an exclusive opportunity to engage with some of India's most accomplished entrepreneurs, CXOs, and startup coaches. This enriching seven-week hybrid accelerator program features personalized online mentoring sessions with distinguished figures, including Monish Darda (Cofounder and CTO, Icertis), Navneet Sharma (CBO, Unacademy), and Abhinav Tyagi (Senior VP-Marketing, Urban Company), who share their invaluable insights, strategic guidance, and unwavering support.
Conquest stands out in the realm of mentorship through its carefully curated interactive sessions that transcend the boundaries of specific sectors and verticals. Startups in cohort are provided with a unique opportunity to refine and perfect their ideas through exhilarating competitive pitching sessions. These sessions serve as a powerful platform for startups to skillfully weave the essence of their ventures into captivating narratives, capturing the attention and interest of potential investors.
Conquest goes the extra mile by organizing Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions and engaging in fireside chats featuring industry leaders like Nithin Kamath from Zerodha and Dev Khare from Lightspeed. These interactive sessions offer startups invaluable insights, guidance, and inspiration from seasoned professionals who have successfully navigated the challenges of entrepreneurship.
The journey of Conquest continues with an exciting offline phase, where the top 15 startups are invited to Bangalore, India's thriving tech capital. This week-long program, fully sponsored by Conquest, immerses startups in a vibrant ecosystem of mentorship, workshops, and networking opportunities. In the past, this program has been hosted at renowned co-working spaces like WeWork, providing startups with direct access to experienced mentors and industry experts. Workshops, including specialized investment sessions facilitated by established institutions like Accel and IDFC First Bank, equip startups with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the complex world of funding and investment. The opportunity to engage in mock pitching sessions further refines their presentation and communication abilities, preparing them for the Demo Day ahead.
The grand finale of Conquest culminates in the eagerly anticipated Demo Day. This highly anticipated event showcases the best of the best as startups participate in a "Shark Tank-style" pitching session, competing for the support of India's top venture capitalists and angel investors. The event is a true spectacle, attracting renowned founders, industry leaders, and media attention. Last year, Demo Day received significant coverage, including a dedicated 30-minute feature on CNBC TV-18. Beyond the spotlight, Demo Day is a moment of celebration for the startups, as equity-free grants worth INR 30+ lakhs are disbursed, providing a valuable boost to their entrepreneurial journeys.
Back with its 19th edition
Conquest is back with its unique blend of mentorship, workshops, networking, and the electrifying Demo Day and serves as a catalyst for the success of aspiring entrepreneurs, igniting their dreams and propelling their ventures towards a brighter future.
Registrations are open at conquest.org.in