Shell India targets 30% startups from Tier II cities under accelerator programme

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Oil and energy major Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Indian arm is looking to grow its startup accelerator programme ‘Shell E4’ beyond metros to tier II cities. The company targets to have at least 30 per cent of startups from tier II cities in its future cohorts, Debasis Goswami, General Manager, Shell E4 Startup Innovation Hub.

“One of our key missions is to build an energy startup ecosystem. To achieve this, there is a clear focus for us going forward in looking at the Tier II ecosystem. We want to build a startup ecosystem beyond the bigger cities,” he said.
Shell is collaborating with universities and colleges across the country to find relevant startups for its programme. The company has already formed tie ups with the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, and a few other education institutes to enable in-campus entrepreneurship.

Goswami said the future programmes will also have a strong focus on women entrepreneurship. The fifth batch of the accelerator is drawing to a close now. A total of 11 startups — eight from the current batch and three from alumni cohorts — will showcase their products and solutions during the two-day demo day event on October 6-7. The demo day this year is focused on two key themes — future of energy and energy entrepreneurship.

The company is now working on the smart energy track, which will focus on lower carbon energy themes such as bio-fuels, e-mobility, carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUs), hydrogen, and waste to fuel. The cohort is scheduled to start in mid-November, for which applications is open currently.

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The selected startups will be housed in a co-working space at Shell Technology Centre, Bengaluru, for six months and each company is offered a seed funding of $20,000 in exchange for an equity stake. They are given access to testing and prototyping laboratories for product development and testing, bootcamps aimed at customer discovery and product improvement, and mentorship from industry experts. Goswami said the accelerator programme works closely with Shell Ventures, the investment arm of Shell, and other venture capital firms to attract more capital into its portfolio firms.

“We are looking at how we can further bring in the Shell Ventures play into the E4 portfolio. The startups are selected based on the themes that we believe in, and these themes are aligned across Shell, including Shell Ventures. Therefore, our startups are well aligned with the investment thesis of Shell Ventures and fall under the definition of opportunities it is looking at,” he added.

Launched in late 2017, a total of 38 startups have graduated through E4 programme so far. Their products range from mobility solutions to energy management, clean technology, energy IoT applications, digital solutions, logistics, and waste management.

E4 protfolio Magenta EV Solutions, which develops changing devices for electric vehicles, raised $15 crore from Kiran C Patel, an Indian American cardiologist and philanthropist and EV-based last-mile delivery startup Zypp Electric raised $7 million in a Series-A funding round co-led by 9Unicorns and Anthill Ventures.