Frequently Asked Questions

Arka Venture Labs is a first-of-its-kind India-US cross-border accelerator platform, launched in partnership with three leading VC firms - Benhamou Global Ventures (BGV), Blume Ventures and Emergent Ventures. The program is designed to facilitate a faster global transition for Indian B2B start-ups.

Arka Venture Labs provides seed and pre-seed capital, besides mentorship, infrastructure and access to the Silicon Valley ecosystem, which is critical for scaling up B2B startups in the US. We aim to work hand-in-hand with out founders along pricing, product, promotion, placement and most importantly, positioning in the global context.

All technology backed/enabled B2B startups from India which have a clear proposition and opportunity for markets in US/Europe are welcome to apply to Arka Venture Labs.

We expect startups applying to Arka Venture Labs, to already have a MVP, paying customers and a unique differentiation in product/technology.

We invest in people and product, and therefore product/technology differentiation & Team are the primary pillars for Arka’s investment strategy. That said, we actively look for the following traits in a startup:

  1. Team : We are looking for talented founders, preferably a well rounded team which can handle both technical and business side of venture, however, we are open to admitting purely technical teams as well. Also, we prefer founders who have the ability to understand a particular situation and adapt basis the trade offs available (with a good grasp of their decision’s impact). We look for coachability, ability to hire global talent and tenacity in our founders.
  2. Global Ambition : The founding team must have an ambition to go global. In this context, this means an emphasis on the US market with an aim to achieve US customers, a US presence, and US investors within the next 12 months. The same applies to the western european markets as well.
  3. Ability to hit milestones: We would like to invest in startups where we feel that we would be able to contribute and take the venture to meaningful business milestones by the capital we have invested in. Also, besides the milestones, we also try to measure the likelihood of a US top tier VC leading the next round

All our anchor partner funds have significant history in scaling cross-border B2B startups especially from India. As a member of Arka, you will get access to the combined experience of these funds. Please read below for more details:

 

Blume is among the Top 3 early stage venture firms in India. More than 40% of their portfolio companies are B2B. Many of its B2B Portfolio companies have established and scaled successfully globally such as Minjar, Grey Orange, Webengage, Dataweave, etc.

 

BGV is a Silicon Valley based Venture Firm focussing on Cross Border B2B Startups. They take an active role in building startups that are enabling the Digital Transformation of the enterprises globally. Half of their portfolio companies are outside of US and BGV has helped these companies make a transition to the US markets. BGV has a portfolio of 25+ enterprise companies across all growth stages, and addressing the digital transformation across multiple verticals.

 

Emergent is also a Silicon Valley based B2B Venture Fund with a Hands on Model for Portfolio support, which includes providing assistance on Product management, raising capital for next round and Leadership development. 1/3rd of its portfolios are from India.

Given our immense experience and feasibility of global scale in B2B startups, we have limited our focus to B2B startups from India.

Also, we strongly believe in the growth story of B2B businesses and India being a frontier in strong technological advancements. Our anchor partner funds have seen many similar stories, which in turn is the core aim of establishing Arka Venture Labs. These startups are born out of an unique insight that our founders have, along with a strong technology differentiation and economic differentiation in their offerings.

If selected in the program, we don’t mandate a permanent presence of founding team in US. However, post investment, the founders would need to spend a few weeks in the Silicon Valley, where they would get a deeper understanding of their product market fit through their interactions with the Arka team, mentors and advisors.

During their Silicon Valley stay, they are encouraged to meet potential customers and initiate discussions around POCs or Pilots. Our partners will work with you to identify the potential targets and help curate those connections, where possible.

The founders can shuttle between India and US in the initial months and iterate with the team to innovate fast. We look for a virtuous experimentation and learning cycle to accelerate the product market fit. After they gain some traction, one of the founders can consider shifting to a US base or hire someone locally to handle the US/Global operations.

We have a dedicated services package for all portfolio startups of Arka Venture Labs. We have partnered with suitable organizations which will provide preferential treatment to Arka startups. We already have multiple such offerings - AWS (as cloud infrastructure partner), Hubspot (as Sales & Marketing partner), Silicon Valley Bank (as banking partner), Constellation Blu & Perkins Coie (as Legal partners) and Ideaware (design & development partner). We are regularly signing up more such partners to help our portfolio companies spend less time on administrative stuff and more on company building. You can read more about them in the Partners page on our website.

You’ll get access to the network of all Arka’s partners as well as get access to the network of all anchor partner funds, i.e Blume, BGV and Emergent Ventures. Our partners will work with you to identify the potential targets and help curate those connections, where possible.

We are comfortable investing in the range of 100k $ - 200k $.

Yes, We highly recommend you to have a US entity, preferably in the Delaware State.

We are backing startups with global ambition, especially who have an immediate focus on US market. If your majority market lies in the US, it anyways would make sense for you to consider flipping to a US entity (if not already).

There is no cohort system in Arka Venture Labs. We have purposefully avoided the creation of cohort system since we believe that each company is different and needs a customized program that matches their needs, than a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

We believe that building enterprise companies need "patient capital" because of the long sales cycles. We work on a rolling admission basis - when a startup applies, their application will be evaluated. We continue to work with the startups until they raise their next round of funding, and sometime beyond.

At Arka, we believe in a founder first policy. We will be willing to provide as much hands on support as required to reach the business milestones put in place at the time of investment. Although, we are flexible, but, if you are not willing to work closely with the Arka team, this program will not be of much value to you.

Yes, Arka will provide letter of endorsement/invitation that can be used as part of your application process for a Visa. Any other mandatory procedure can be looked on a case basis, but, rest assured that we are here to make your life comfortable with the transition in your venture.

 

An investment by Arka Venture Labs does not guarantee a subsequent investment by the anchor partners. Startups are encouraged to seek financing in the open market to create the best optionality for the company.

 

The anchor partners will evaluate a startup on its own merit in following rounds. However, since the startup and its founders have been working closely with anchor fund representatives over a period of time, we expect that they will receive preferential consideration. We believe it is a two-way relationship, and it is important that the founders get to know the partner venture funds as well during this process.