Innovation is everywhere: What we learned from our Holi cohort’s applications

August 3, 2022
Innovation is everywhere: What we learned from our Holi cohort’s applications

When we conceptualized Atoms, our goal was to design a program which would bring founders a valuable learning experience alongside accessible capital. 

And as the first cohort kicked off and gathered momentum, we did a whole lot of learning of our own. We learned what our founders wanted, what they didn’t, and how we could better structure the program to bring them even more value. 

With the second cohort, our learning journey started even earlier. Studying the applications alone had us challenging our assumptions and brought to light a host of insights. With the cohort now ready to begin, here are a few interesting data points.

Founders are innovating everywhere

We received applications for our second cohort from 35 cities in India, with a large number of applicants stating that their work was completely location-agnostic. While the usual suspects Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai accounted for more than half our applications, it was heartening to receive interest from founders across the length and breadth of the country:

  • Bhubaneswar, Coimbatore, Lucknow, Patna and Surat all contributed more than 10 applications each. 
  • Indore, now billed as India's up-and-coming startup capital, brought in another 20 applications all by itself.
  • As a long-time Gurgaon resident, I was pleasantly surprised to see more than a hundred applications from the city I call home. 

As Atoms continues to grow, we look forward to working with more startups working outside the country’s traditional business hubs. Welcoming founders from different walks of life means solving more varied problems, not to mention a more vibrant community.

Two’s Company

45% of our applications are from startups with two co-founders, with solo founders contributing another 34%.

Developing a business solo or with a team of founders each come with their own benefits or limitations - especially when it comes to securing funding. As the sole founder, you have far greater clarity as to your vision which comes with a tradeoff, since two people’s expertise is almost always greater than one’s.

Interestingly, we saw a mix of multi-founder startups as well. 16 startups applied with four or more co-founders, like from our Diwali ‘21 cohort.

A first time for everyone

55% of the entrepreneurs who wish to partner with us are first time founders. However, a good 45% among the applicants have at least one co-founder with previous experience of building a startup. 

Be it repeat founders or first-time entrepreneurs, it’s great to see equal enthusiasm from both. 

Everyone’s welcome at Atoms

More than one-third of our applicants have already launched their product or service, with another 20% having a working MVP. It is interesting to note that around 22% of the applicants are at the idea stage. 

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Atoms is meant for you. Whether you’ve reached an early PMF, acquired a handful of paying users, or even have an idea jotted down on paper - with Accel Atoms, we welcome you to join us at any stage. 

And lastly, a tip to our founders - show, rather than tell

If you’re planning to apply to Atoms yourself, this might be worth keeping in mind. 

We received fewer than two hundred applications which came along with a video pitch, giving us asynchronous facetime with the founders as they walked us through their vision. Submitting a video is by no means a compulsion, but compared to pitches completely in written format, video applications have an edge.

Come, be part of the Atoms community

We’re still only at our second cohort, but Atoms is certainly on the road to becoming an integral part of the Indian startup community. It’s a heartening thought, and we’re confident that we’re able to cater to the needs of every founder, no matter where they come from.

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