We offer incubation, impact acceleration and management consulting services to social ventures at different stages in their lifecycle – early, growth and mature.
As ANGEL INVESTORS, we invest our time, expertise and networks to make growth-stage ventures scale and capital ready. We engage with social entrepreneurs for up to two years, and work in the field with their teams, to build out their models.
As IMPACT INCUBATORS, we offer an exhaustive range of business incubation, coaching and trainings to early-stage social ventures. Our incubation offerings are designed to launch practical change models that balance social impact with financial sustainability. We also incubate incubators!
Privilege the entrepreneur
Entrepreneurs excite us more than ideas. Our partners and clients bring strong domain expertise and business lessons from previous entrepreneurial/ intrapreneurial journeys. We learn continuously from them, even as we co-create their business models.
Match passion with process
We match the entrepreneur's energy and passion with process, plans and the discipline for executing ideas. For us, execution, not ideas, is game changing.
Stay frugal, stay in the field
We work with our investees in their fields. We immerse in the markets of the models we shape. By being in the field, we get a 360 degree view of the eco-system of the ventures we create. This enables us to predict volatilities. We therefore launch ventures that are true to the DNA of our partners and the needs of the markets they serve.
Iterate to succeed
We coach our investees to listen to customers, re-iterate assumptions and stay focused on metrics. We constantly adapt business plans to keep them real and sharp. Our questioning of assumptions and reality checks at every turn minimizes trial and error. This ensures that ventures launch with a higher degree of success.
Get the chemistry right
We succeed more with entrepreneurs who are listeners, learners and collaborators. We work with social entrepreneurs who actively seek feedback and are open to applying them in their ventures.
We pollinate learnings and connections between early-stage ventures (that we launch) and mature-stage models (that we accelerate). This opens up rich collaborations between the two. Our investees and clients constantly feed new information, networks and linkages into our own eco-system. This growing viral enables us to become better linkers and connectors for social entrepreneurs.
Image source: Leah Grossman
Social ventures incubated and scaled
Mature stage social entrepreneurs consulted
Early-stage social entrepreneurs trained
Research and impact assessment reports published
Years of managing the India Social Entrepreneur of the Year (SEOY) Award
An alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad, Taveesh has more than 20 years of experience in the Indian financial and business sector. He has played a leading role in institutions such as IFC, CRISIL and the SUN GROUP. Taveesh is the Founder-Director of Black Diamond PE Advisors; a New Delhi based corporate venture and financial advisory firm that advises early-stage, small and mid-size companies. He offers hands-on CXO services to entrepreneurs and provides an array of services to HNIs.
Taveesh is now playing an increasing role in mentoring social entrepreneurs and shaping institutions of the future within the field of social entrepreneurship.
Manisha has 20 years of experience in the social entrepreneurship sector of India. She joined Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, in 1994, where she served for nine years in key leadership positions, including the India Country Representative and International Director for Ashoka's youth programmes. During her tenure at Ashoka, Manisha launched new initiatives to build a collaborative community of social entrepreneurs in India. She also launched Ashoka India's marketing, communication and brand building programmes.
After her departure from Ashoka, Manisha advised several high-impact social ventures in strategic planning and successful fundraising. She has consulted with international funders and co-authored two books: 1098 - Childline Calling, and Opening Doors – Ten Years of Ford Foundation's International Fellowships Program in India.
Manisha launched Start Up! in 2007. After a two-year test-run, she set up the business, formally, in 2009.
With post-graduate degrees from Oxford University, UK and Cornell University, USA, Noor brings to Start Up! 10 years of experience in project management, communication and leadership training in the Indian and international development sectors. Beginning her career at Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, Noor went on to work with ActionAid India and Common Purpose, an international leadership development program. She co-launched the American Express Leadership Academy for emerging leaders in the Indian not-for-profit sector.
Noor has also consulted with research and philanthropic organizations such as American India Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, PATH, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER). Before joining Start Up! she worked with BBC Media Action to manage large-scale behaviour change communication programs on maternal and child health in India.
With a post-graduate degree in rural management from KIIT, Bhubaneshwar, Saloni has worked for more than 7 years in the social entrepreneurship sector of India. She brings to Start Up! a wide range of experiences - from supply chain management to craft retail to managing social security products and building rural livelihoods initiatives. Before joining Start Up, Saloni worked at leading social enterprises, such as Naandi Foundation, Mother Earth and Spandana Spoorthy Financial Ltd. She has coached several micro and small enterprises across India and her expertise lies in financial modelling and operations consulting.
Sumona has trained in design thinking from Harvard University's Graduate School of Design and Srishti School of Art, Design, and Technology (Bangalore).She is also the Founder-Director of Hamdasti, a non-profit art organization in Kolkata. Hamdasti brings neighbourhood groups, urban local bodies and the police to develop shared cultural projects.
At Start Up, Sumona combines her training and expertise in collaborative design processes to build new programmes for social entrepreneurs of Kolkata.
Dipra has a Master's in International Business and Entrepreneurship from the University of Essex, UK. Before joining Start Up! she incubated an early-stage enterprise in London which works with the immigrant community, providing English-language training that would equip them for jobs in the hospitality and health industries. Dipra brings to Start Up! her passion for research and technology to aid small and medium scale ventures.
Our Fellows, quickly become part of projects that take them to the field,
and enable them to problem solve actively with our clients. Fellows also build out new initiatives and processes for Start Up!
Start Up! has hosted Fellows from leading academic institutions of Europe and the US. These include Booth School of Business (University of Chicago); Stephen M. Ross School of Business (University of Michigan); Fletcher School (Tufts University); Princeton University; School of International & Public Affairs (Columbia University); University of California, Berkley; HEC School of Management, Paris; and ESSEC, Paris. We recruit Fellows through the year, on a rolling basis.