CIAP + LEAD ANGELS: Finding Funding for Your Business Expansion to India

The Canada-India Acceleration Program (CIAP) aims to help female entrepreneurs expand into emerging markets, like India. For business expansion, sourcing Canadian international Angel Investors and connections in your targeted market are key to facilitating growth. CIAP is primed to support you from preliminary market research to finding these connections. Our program is divided into three key phases:

  1. ScaleCamp
  2. Soft Landing
  3. Investment

CIAP ScaleCamp takes place across a week and is made up of a series of sessions that break down the information needed to scale a business. Our ScaleCamp is hosted with a knowledge partner (Accenture Ventures for 2020-21) that will provide a rundown of the Indian market and many tools that support business expansion.

The Soft Landing and Investment phase of the program consist of an engagement of several months. For our 2020-21 delivery of the program, we’re partnering with Lead Angels for these two phases. The Lead Angels team is made up of a mix of technical and financial staff who are deeply embedded within the Indian startup ecosystem. 

The key objective of these phases is to assist the cohort in meeting potential customers and clients, distribution partners, sourcing and technical partners and vendors as well as suitable funding agencies and potential investors.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when confronting a large undertaking such as expanding to a new market, especially if one may not be very familiar with said market. In order to make this more approachable, let’s break down the key stages of our Soft Landing and Investment phases. 

Breaking Down the Soft Landing and Investment Phases

Stage 1: Preparation and Set-Up

  • Several group sessions will be conducted to give an overview of Indian business opportunities.
  • Sessions will focus on these key topics:
    • Indian economy, demographics, demand patterns and legal and regulatory environment
    • Indian culture and diversity and impact on business practices
    • Doing business in India with the government, startups and enterprises
  • Initial one-to-one meetings between cohort members and our soft landing and investment partner to establish and hone the startup’s broad Indian business objectives.
    • Using insights from these meetings, the following steps will be more personalized to each cohort member’s individual company’s needs. 

Stage 2: Funding Module

  • Reviewing and refining the startup’s pitch deck and presentation.
  • Connecting to potential individuals who could help with mentoring and growing the business.
  • Introduction to other Angel Networks, Micro Venture Capitalists and larger VCs for investment customized to the nature and size of the startup.
  • Review of the funding documentation so that it is in line with Canadian and Indian laws and practices.
  • Assist in the entire fund transfer process including consultation with lawyers to tailor the documentation on a case by case basis.

Stage 3: Marketing + Distribution

  • Understanding and discussing the specific market for products or services in India. 
  • Taking a look at packaging, pricing and promotion individually to see what may need to be altered to better fit the market.
  • Connecting the startups to potential clients, partners and value-added resellers for distribution.
  • Assistance in digital marketing and sales partnerships.
  • Legal and other formalities for marketing products and services in India.
  • Connecting the startup to any and all other potential partnerships that could contribute to a successful business expansion.

Stage 4: Follow-Up Support

There is no hard end date for CIAP’s Soft Landing and Investment phases. To ensure the highest chance of success for our cohort, our partner may be able to continue to provide support.  Whilst the startup is continuing to work towards launching its venture in India, new challenges may be encountered that both CIAP and our partners can help overcome. Additionally, if required, assistance can be provided towards setting up an office in India and to further consult for navigating the Indian business landscape. 

Key Takeaway

Following the CIAP ScaleCamp, our cohort will be entering a several-month engagement with our Soft Landing and Investment partner. For our 2020-21 cohort, CIAP has once again partnered with Lead Angels. 

During this stage, the cohort will be further briefed on India as a market and how to best approach the expansion. Our partner will assist the startups in setting and refining their Indian business objectives, perfecting their pitch and then connecting them to partners, clients and investments. Additional support will be provided towards ensuring everything is in order in terms of taxation and legalities between the two countries. 

The overall objective of this phase is to gain an intimate and practical understanding of how business is conducted in India and to begin the steps needed to successfully expand a startup from Canada to India. 

What challenges are you expecting to face when expanding to a new market?

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