CHENNAI: In a leg-up for startups, the State government will soon launch a Tamil Nadu Angel Investor Network to woo Tamils across the globe for funding and a Tamil Diaspora body in the United States has promised to secure $5 billion investment for TN startups by 2025.
Tamil Nadu Startup and Innovation Mission (TANSIM) CEO Sivarajah Ramanathan said the aim is to get global high net-worth individuals to invest in TN startups. The network will also target domestic investors. “Startups don’t require massive investment. Even Rs 10 lakh to Rs 25 lakh disposable income is enough for funding a startup,” the CEO said.
“People invest in land, gold, fixed deposits and shares. This could be an alternative asset class,” Ramanathan said. To a question on the scale of investment, Ramanathan said it is not a venture where one could have a clear number. “It is individuals who come together and invest directly in companies. The government will act as a facilitator by bringing all stakeholders together,” he said.
“We will start with the United States where we will work with multiple organisations with Tamil interest and Tamil entrepreneurship to partner with us. We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with American Tamil Entrepreneur’s Association (ATEA),” Ramanathan said.
Lena Kannappan, co-founder of ATEA, said the association will make an announcement on the MoU with TANSIM at CATEALYZE 2022, a national entrepreneur’s conference, to be held at the Bell Works at Holmdel in New Jersey on Saturday.
“Startup ventures harnessing new technologies and innovation will be making their presentations at the conference, and industry speakers will be focusing on topics such as healthcare and life sciences, fintech and next-gen communication,” she said.
Interestingly, the previous AIADMK government has sanctioned Rs 5 crore (approximately $7, 00,000) through the Digital Accelerator programme for American Diaspora to nurture startups in innovation, research and development in Tamil Nadu. Kannappan said Rs.3 crore worth of Tamil Nadu government grants were distributed to ATEA Cohort 1 startup winners.
“This was a tie-up between guidance and ATEA during the previous regime. We plan to have a similar tie-up as we are the nodal agency. We plan to do a Cohort where we will be selecting 20 startups from Tamil Nadu which may have a product or service that has global market potential and we help scale those companies. And ATEA will help in this regard on a pro bono basis,” said Ramanathan.
Kanappan said that ATEA will help curate startup ideas emerging from tier 1 and tier 2 cities of Tamil Nadu submitted by TANSIM through this MoU.