‘Startup Corridor’ to US to help young Indian entrepreneurs

Kochi, April 10 (IANS) Young entrepreneurs in India can now visit and connect with likeminded entrepreneurs, mentors and seed investors in Silicon Valley, US, with the creation of a “Startup Corridor” between the two countries.

The ‘Corridor’ is the brain child of Silicon Valley venture capitalist Asha Jadeja Motwani, widow of late Stanford Professor Rajeev Motwani, who was a mentor to the likes of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and key architect of the algorithms that power Google today.

Asha is an investor in over 75 start-ups in Silicon Valley and has just begun seed investing in Indian start-ups.

According to her, the idea behind the Rajeev Circle Fellowship programme is simple. “Identify a dozen or so true entrepreneurs in India and fly them as a group to visit Silicon Valley for two weeks. All expenses paid. Any expectations of returns? Nope, Just pay it forward.”

If the visiting Fellows help and encourage the batches that will visit after them, “that’s reward enough”, she said.

As part of the fellowship, selected entrepreneurs are invited for an intense two-week plunge into the heart of Silicon Valley.

The entrepreneurs for the first round of this fellowship included Sanjay Vijayakumar, chairman of the Startup Village here, and three others from Kerala — Sijo Kuruvilla George (CEO, Startup Village and co-founder of MobME), Deepak Ravindran (founder and CEO, Innoz Technologies Pvt. Ltd.), and Mohammed Hisamuddin (co-founder and CIO, Innoz).

“Asha wants to build and continue the Fellowship programme for at least 10 entrepreneurs every year for next few years and we will be helping her team every step of the way,” said Vijayakumar on his return from Silicon Valley.

Lauding the initiative, Infosys co-founder and Startup Village chief mentor Kris Gopalakrishnan said: “It will give exposure to young start-ups in our country to the best in the Valley, besides access to angel investors and their perspectives on how to build global product start-ups.”

The Startup Corridor will also provide a momentum to the Kerala government’s SV Square’ (Startup Village to Silicon Valley) initiative, under which five Kerala students/entrepreneurs selected by Startup Village will be sent for a stint at Silicon Valley in May-June.

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