What to expect at the 1st Startup Jalsa Pitching Session in Sri Lanka

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In the early 2000s, if you were to start any kind of business, you’d have struggled to find funding. Today, funding isn’t a far fetched dream for entrepreneurs. There are multiple options available for Sri Lankan entrepreneurs to find the right investors to help them grow. Over the years, we’ve also witnessed international organisations offering local startups global investment opportunities. That latest to join these ranks is Startup Jalsa, offering INR 1 crore (LKR 25 million) to disruptive Sri Lankan startups.

What is Startup Jalsa?

Startup Jalsa is a startup platform, which aims to inspire and invest in entrepreneurial talent while supporting founders to build enduring businesses. Following its inception in 2015 as a conference, over 2000 companies have participated in Startup Jalsa events. Collectively these companies have raised INR 500 crores (LKR 12.8 billion) in funding. 

A few notable names among its alumni are Scoopwhoop.com, Mobiquest – A PayTM group company, The Viral Fever, UpGrad, The Beer Cafe, CommonFloor.com, Jugnoo, Sattviko, HealthifyMe and Pumpkart. To help more startups reach such heights, Startup Jalsa doesn’t offer funding alone. It has a strategic partnership with the Indo European Business Forum, UK. Through this partnership, startups in the program gain access to both established corporates and notable individuals in the startup ecosystems of India and Europe. 

Now, as it celebrates its 5th year, Startup Jalsa is going beyond India and taking its program regional. This year it’ll be hosting its Pitching Sessions in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, by partnering with coworking spaces across the region. In Sri Lanka, it has partnered with Likuid Spaces to host the 1st Startup Jalsa Pitching Session. 

How Startup Jalsa funds startups

Throughout the year, Startup Jalsa hosts several events to give entrepreneurs exposure and facilitate connections between the ecosystem. Among these events, its Pitching Sessions are a gateway to funding and connections. The first Startup Jalsa pitching session in Sri Lanka will take place on the 5th of October at Likuid Spaces from 3 PM onwards. 

Startup Jalsa | Entrepreneurship | Startups | Sri Lanka
Some of the keynote speakers you’ll meet at the first Startup Jalsa Pitching Session in Sri Lanka (Image credits: Likuid Spaces)

The event kicks off with keynotes from two speakers. The speakers you’ll meet are Sumit Jain – Co-Founder CommonFloor & CEO Opentalk.to, Vineet Narang – Co-Founder & CEO of Mobiquest, and Arvind R Vohra – Founder & Executive Director Gionee India. Following their keynote speeches is when the startups begin delivering their 60-second elevator pitch to a panel of judges and will receive feedback.

Right now, Startup Jalsa is investing in startups in diverse industries. These range from carbon removal technologies to education to financial services to healthcare to robotics and many more. You can find the full list of industries by clicking here. Any startup in these industries can apply. Irrespective of whether they’re in the ideation, beta, or revenue stage. Additionally, every startup must have a pitch-deck. 

Startup Jalsa | Entrepreneurship | Startups | Sri Lanka
A glimpse inside a typical Startup Jalsa pitching session (Image credits: Startup Jalsa)

Beyond this, there are no strict eligibility criteria to pitch at the event. The only difference is the amount of funding a startup would receive if they win. A startup in the ideation stage will receive INR 500,000 (LKR 1.3 million) at 10% equity. Those in the beta stage will get INR 2.5 million (LKR 6.3 million) at 10% equity. Finally, a startup generating revenue will receive INR 1 crore (LKR 25 million) at a mutually agreed equity. 

What happens after the Pitching Session

The selected startups will be offered a non-binding term sheet. Startup Jalsa will also begin its legal and financial due diligence of the startups. You can find more details about the funding process by clicking here. The startups would then get to pitch at Startup Jalsa – Invest Edition 2019, which will be happening in Dharamshala, India on 19th-21st December 2019. 

This is a 2-day invite-only conference of entrepreneurs and market leaders from all over the world. Occurring annually, Startup Jalsa – Invest Edition is where things get heated for the selected startups. They will be offered funding deals on the spot. The startups can negotiate the terms. But they will have to decide then and there whether to accept the deal or not. 

So in the heat of the moment, a founder must ask themselves, “Should I take this money or not?” With sizable funding opportunities for startups, the stakes are high at Startup Jalsa. For Sri Lankan startups, it all begins at the Pitching Session, which will take place inside Likuid Spaces on the 5th of October. If you want to know more about Startup Jalsa, click here. 

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