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
Immersive projects delivered
Emerging leaders trained
States of operation
Insights reports published
Years of the India social entrepreneur of the year 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 was a journalists before she joined the social entrepreneurship sector. For 24 years, she has studied, chronicled and shaped the eco-system for social entrepreneurship in India. She worked with Ashoka: Innovators for the Public for ten years as the India Country Representative and International Director for Ashoka’s youth programs. At Ashoka, she built a collaborative community of social entrepreneurs across the country. She also launched the first media and communication campaigns to promote social entrepreneurship in India.
Manisha has co-authored two books, 1098- Childline Calling and Opening Doors – Ten Years of Ford Foundation’s International Fellowships in India. She is a passionate believer of creating deep impact through lean teams.
Manisha launched Start Up! as an idea in 2007. After a two-year test run, she formally launched it as a social venture in 2009.
Sumona has trained in design thinking from Shrishti School of Art, Design and Technology (Bangalore) and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. 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 her expertise in collaborative design processes to build new programs for social entrepreneurs. She has played a key role in designing and launching youth empowerment incubators across India and is an ace facilitator of the leadership trainings we run across India.
Rukmini has worked for over 20 years across a large spectrum of India’s social entrepreneurship and development sector. She has nurtured mid and small rural and urban social ventures; created and executed funding and support agendas at Tata Trusts and Cipla Foundation and built capacities of non-profits, especially to strengthen their strategies for scale, documentation of impact and monitoring and evaluation systems.
With a post graduate diploma in rural management from IRMA, Rukmini is passionate about training, communication, and building strategies for sustaining social ventures. She will be launched our operations in Mumbai and is strengthening our growth across the country.
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.