Next time a bulb lights up in your head, keep it glowing. Former students of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) are willing to foot the bill for the spark.
They want to be angel investors, providing financial assistance and mentorship to absolutely anyone who has a bright idea but not the resources or knowledge to start a business.
Several alumni who are actively involved in the PanIIT organisation are working on a project to bring back the angel funding culture — which became popular in the dotcom era and is still widely used abroad — to India.
They have started approaching ex-IITians to find out whether they are willing to be angels. The aim is to identify those who do not mind taking entrepreneurial risk and are not afraid of losing money.
“Even if a 20-year-old with no money in his bank account has a good proposal, we will fund and guide him,” said Raj Nair, former IITian and chairman of Avalon consulting and Ugam Solutions, who is heading the drive to create entrepreneurs.
“Most IITians over 40 are reasonably successful, have money to spare and experience to share, and are willing to take risks,” added Nair.
The angels will be categorised on their “appetite for investment, kinds of projects and areas of expertise”. The list will be prepared in three months, put up on the PanIIT website and IIT incubation centres across India, and given to the media. The group will also connect with organisations like TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs).
Since investment bankers and venture capitalists looked at large investments, angel investors could fill in the gaps, said Kanvaljeet Singh, managing director of Helion Ventures.