T-Hub chief executive Ravi Narayan. (Ramesh Pathania/Mint)

HYDERABAD : Hyderabad-based startup incubator T-Hub on Thursday announced the launch of its funding programme T-Angel, through which it will help startups raise capital. The three-month investment acceleration programme is a joint venture with the Telangana state government and will be executed by T-Hub and online investment platform LetsVenture.

The programme is the first in a series of funding focused programmes by T-Hub, and about 30 startups with leading-edge solutions in healthcare, real estate, entertainment, sports, education and finance will be shortlisted. T-Hub chief executive officer (CEO) Ravi Narayan said the first batch of chosen startups will commence on 20 October. “We are open for receiving applications from today itself,” he said during the launch.

Narayan acknowledged that Hyderabad lagged in terms of angel funding for startups when compared with cities such as Bengaluru and New Delhi, but exuded confidence that the programme will accelerate growth in Telangana. The chosen startups will go through regular interventions and receive dedicated mentoring to build a strong investment case to raise capital.

Shanti Mohan, founder and CEO, LetsVenture Technologies Pvt. Ltd, was also confident of the new partnership with T-Hub, and said her company was working with 6,500 investors from 50 countries. “We get a lot of requests (for tie-ups), but we don’t typically engage as we want to make sure of the quality,” she said during the launch of T-Angel.

Founded in 2013 by Sanjay Jha and Mohan, LetsVenture launched its own initiative Letsgrow last year to leverage its existing network of angel investors and industry experts to mentor early-age startups with its new programme.

“Hyderabad was about 10 years behind, in comparison with Bengaluru, but we have caught up a lot since T-Hub was set up. We are looking to bring in more investors now with T-Angel,” Narayan said.

In a presentation, Narayan showed that only 70 angel investors have come to Telangana over the last three years. “We are looking to improve startups,” he said.

Jayesh Ranjan, principal secretary (IT), Telangana, said the decision to launch T-Angel was taken as there was “receiving mechanism” in the state now (referring to T-Hub). “Many can question why we did not launch this three years ago. But you need a receiving mechanism before you deliver something like this,” he added.

Apart from T-Angel, T-Hub, which started in December 2015, has worked with 1,443 start-ups through mentorship, connects, and other programs. So far, 457 startups have been incubated, and startups from the first cohort of Lab32 (an incubation programme for early-stage tech product startups) have created over 2,000 jobs and raised over 112 crore in total.

The incubator started out as a co-working space, after which it launched various programmes for startups. It has a corporate innovation division (CID) to connect startups and large companies, through which 16 corporate partnerships having been formed, with $64 million raised in funding.


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