A unique 3 tier approach designed to nurture entrepreneurs from their lab to market journey.
We spend a considerable amount of time and consult the best brains in business from domain experts to academicians, studying the problems and identifying the historical, political, operational and financial aspects that make these issues chronic. We then curate high quality innovations & fully support the entrepreneurs in their quest to addressing these issues under our six key focus areas.
We have forged powerful alliances with 22 eminent academic institutions in India and internationally to catalyze innovation in India. Some of them include the Tata Centre for Technology and Design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tata Centre for Technology and Design at Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay, and Tata Institute of Genetics and Society . We tech scout in these labs and institutes to look for technologies that are ready for market or can be placed over an existing start-up in our ecosystem.
We conduct a number of tech scouting programmes across the country to find the right entrepreneurs and innovators with breakthrough technologies and innovations. We have partnered for the India Innovation Growth Programme 2.0, Titan Design for Impact Awards to name a few.
The innovation ecosystem is strengthened by our collaboration with various government departments, R&D organisations and other philanthropic institutions. Together with these organizations we build a pipeline of quality, meritorious, high impact start-ups through nationwide calls for innovations and grand challenges called the Social Alpha Quest, pertaining to very specific problem statements in our thematic areas.
Tech Scouting & Grand Challenges
We conduct a number of tech scouting programmes and grand challenges across the country to find the right entrepreneurs and innovators with breakthrough technologies and innovations. Techtonic, our flagship scouting platform enablesstart-ups across the country to apply to our programs.
The innovation ecosystem is strengthened by our collaboration with the Tata Trusts and Government of India's ecosystem. Together with these organizations we build a pipeline of quality, meritorious, high impact start-ups through open calls and scouting programmes. We have forged partnerships with 22 eminent academic institutions in India and internationally to catalyze innovation in India. Some of them include the Tata Centre for Technology and Design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tata Centre for Technology and Design at Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay, the Tata Centre for Development at the University of Chicago. We tech scout in these labs and institutes to look for technologies that are ready for market or can be placed over an existing start-up in our ecosystem.
We offer a unique value proposition to start-ups with two distinct features. Business incubation in physical as well as virtual set up with primary focus on product strategy validation, go-to-market execution and seed capital infusion to name a few. Technology incubation in highly specialized innovation labs.
OUR INVESTMENT THESIS
Our Approach is to prioritise the Inclusive in Inclusive Innovation, Impact in Impact Investing and Social in Social Entrepreneurship. Markets have assumed low returns in certain categories due to lack of reliable data points but an innovation that solves problems at scale may deliver market returns but one needs patient capital and risk appetite to validate.
Why is there no surge in social investments?
Why is the market not catering to entrepreneurs who want to solve social, economic and environmental issues?
The entrepreneurial boom in our country, while generating employment and boosting trade, has actually impacted only a portion of India’s population. Disruptive innovations in commercial sectors are ultimately enjoyed only by the technology-literate and salaried-class, and receive substantial endorsement from the industry and venture capital funds.
However, Social Enterprises striving to solve tough fundamental issues of much more deep rooted problems facing our society, particularly those harnessing technology based innovations, have been wanting for an ecosystem that provides support including but not limited to sustainable financing and risk capital.
There is a ecosystem deficit in the social sector. Commercializing high social impact innovations is where the investment money is most needed but least available.
Venture investors, including those in the impact investing space align their portfolios with more mainstream investment choices (with a social impact element) such as microfinance, rural supply chains, distribution platforms, consumer products and services aggregators.
There is little or no capital allocation to early stage science and technology based startups from impact investors. This is what we are changing.
Building Philanthropy 2.0
With the intent of philanthropy and operating model of venture investing, it is possible to solve some of the complex development challenges faced by the developing world today, create significant societal value, and help communities get out of the poverty trap.
Social Alpha has created a new category of empathetic risk capital to invest in early stage science and technology based start-ups.
This type of capital is looking at the longer arc and the larger vision. It is willing to stretch the boundaries of Risk-Reward-Patience frontiers, due to the combination the challenges in the social sector and the Deep-Science and Tech nature of the innovations.
This capital has three characteristics.
- Aggressive on risk underwriting
- Patient on the exit horizon
- Generous on return sub-optimality
Redefining Success Metrics
Our focus on creating and supporting sustainable businesses for early stage entrepreneurs has a huge impact on the confidence of investors and philanthropists alike in opening up more funds towards this sector.
We have redefined success metrics by focusing on sustainability, affordability, user experience and impact rather than profits.
Additionally, the deal flow generated has the potential to surface businesses akin to microfinance, which become mainstream due to its better risk-return payoff profile, growth potential and scale, and they will go the route of traditional venture backed investments.