Apply

Share your dream

We respect founders with disruptive ideas looking to create next generation startups. If you are one, Kstart seeks to partner with you on the long and exciting journey called ‘entrepreneurship’. We’d love to begin by hearing your personal story and the experiences that have shaped who you are today. We want to be your long-term partner and collaborate with you at every step of the way, starting from business idea refinement and raising seed capital to post-incubation mentoring and guidance.

5 Tips for an effective application

Be specific and clear

We want to understand your business idea in the shortest possible time. Start by summing it up in one or two, short, crisp sentences. Don’t be long-winded. Don’t use jargon. Don’t muddle it up with a marketing spiel.

Be honest

We know you haven’t got it all figured out yet. That’s fine. Give us whatever facts you have. If something is still only a gut feeling, say so. If your product has a flaw, highlight it.

Include a video pitch

We wish we could meet all of you in person but that is not possible. Your video pitch is the next best thing. Even though the video pitch is not mandatory, we highly recommend that you create one. Use it to introduce all of your founders and give us insight into your team dynamic.

Use supporting documents

If you feel that you can answer any of the application questions using an image, a document or a presentation, please do that by uploading the relevant image or document in the end. Specify the document name in your response to the question. We want you to tell us your story your way.

Ask for recommendations

At the end of the application form, there is an option to ask for recommendations. Use this feature to strengthen your application. A strong recommendation from someone who has mentored you or understands your business will help you go a long way.

FAQs

What is Kstart?

Kstart is a seed program by Kalaari Capital.  It is aimed at founders with disruptive ideas at their earliest stages. The program is designed to allow founders to test the viability of their idea, validate business potential and fast-track growth. Our intent is to become the most preferred platform for mentoring, nurturing and scaling companies.

What is Kstart’s investment philosophy?

Kstart’s investment philosophy rests on four pillars – team, disruption potential of the idea, market opportunity and validation – in this order of priority. Entrepreneurs who have demonstrated high ‘horsepower’ in terms of their tenacity, perseverance and intelligence have a significantly higher chance of bringing ideas to fruition and tackling the multitude of challenges that entrepreneurship brings. The association of a disruptive idea with a large market opportunity is often the stepping stone for the creation of once-in-a-generation venture opportunities.  Identifying these early is at the very heart of Kstart.

What are Fair Capital Practices and why is Kalaari doing seed?

Often times, ideas don’t have sufficient opportunity to succeed because of broken cap tables and lack of meaningful guidance. Kstart believes founders deserve a much cleaner and efficient structure that takes into account the nascent stage of the business.  Since valuation is an imprecise exercise at the seed stage, we offer capital in the form of a convertible equity instrument.  We invest between $100K and $500K in return for equity at a discount when raising Series A financing.  By linking our investment to the next round of financing and valuation, we limit founder dilution at the seed stage.  We also ensure the whole process is transparent, quick and easy to understand.  Once a company is selected into the Kstart program, we are able to complete the investment in 2-3 weeks, provided the company is registered and all the terms and conditions in the term sheet are met.

What is the role of Kstart catalysts?

An anchor element of the Kstart program is catalysts; an invite-only network of a committed, diverse set of experienced leaders. Catalyst members enjoy mentoring young companies, are purposeful about accelerating their growth and influencing overall maturity of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in India.

 

What are the timelines for this program?

The program was launched on February 5th, 2016 and we accept applications year round. We select 4-5 companies every quarter after a rigorous screening process.

What are the terms of these investments?

Investments through this program will be in the form of a convertible note. The note will convert to shares at a 30% discount to the next fund-raise by investee companies. However, there will be a cap of $5M as the highest valuation at which the investment from Kstart will convert. You can go through our sample term sheet here .

Will the investee companies have an ESOP structure?

Yes. We envisage 15% uncommitted ESOP pool in each of the companies of which 2% will be reserved for Kstart Advisors.

 

How can our company be a part of Kstart?

If you have a disruptive idea and an exceptional team, we want to hear from you.   Applications to the Kstart program are open all the year round. However we have a quarterly selection process where we select 4-5 companies for the program.

What is the process after we submit our application to Kstart ?

We evaluate applications to Kstart on an ongoing basis. We have a transparent and thorough process at Kstart for evaluating each of the applications.

Once you submit your application to us we have a 2 step process as follows.

  • We will be completing a detailed review of all the applications and shortlist 8-10 companies that are invited for an in person meeting to the investment committee.
  • The final decision on which companies we will be investing in will be made after all the selected companies pitch to the investment committee.

We evaluate the applications on an ongoing basis and conduct the investment committee meetings every 2 months. Depending on when u apply we will let you know the dates by when we will get back to you.

We have already raised some funding. Can we still apply?

If you have raised seed funding in the past and are looking for Series A, we advise you reach out to our main fund.

We typically look at investments under $500K. While the funding is an integral part of the program, if you don’t need the money, but want to apply to access our support framework, we encourage you to go ahead and submit the application.

I just have an idea. Can I apply?

Sure, why not. Go ahead. If your idea is crazy enough to be considered for funding without a prototype, we will invest in you. However in such cases, the team’s background, subject matter expertise, references, credibility, commitment and conviction become key to make a decision.

We are looking to raise more than $500K. Can we still apply?

Our seed fund looks at investments under $500K. If you are looking at raising excess of $1 million, we advise that you reach out to our main fund.

We are not a tech company. Can we still apply?

Our core focus area is technology. However in the past, our larger fund has made some exceptions to back really passionate non-tech entrepreneurs. We appreciate that you are building a non-tech business, India needs these too. So we look forward to reading your application.

Do we have to move to Bangalore?

No. Your business can be based anywhere depending on what’s right for your idea and team. However, we offer free space only in Bangalore. If you are in other cities you can’t access the Kstart free office space, but other than that nothing else really changes.

How long can we use the free office space if we opt for it?

You have the option of using the Kstart office space for a tenure of 6 months. This period can be extended by an additional 6 months at the sole discretion of Kstart.

Should we be a registered company before applying?

No, that’s not necessary. Having a product and co-founders in place will help. If we decide to fund you, we will connect you to trusted partners who will help you register.