The Ultimate Fundraising Platform For Every Startup

POD, a Bengaluru-based startup, is a full stack fundraising platform in the making. POD is working towards building an ecosystem that makes startup fundraising seamless and transparent, in addition to providing retail investors the opportunity to invest in promising startup deals. In addition to this, POD provides retail investors with all the necessary information about how their money is being used by startups through a live dashboard, ensuring that investors feel comfortable investing in them. Trustworthy and transparent operations are at the heart of POD’s vision. This is how the Full stack fundraising platform is creating ripples across the ecosystem. Mr Vittal Ramakrishna, CEO and Founder of POD World in conversation with us

1. What are the factors that today's startup ecosystem is packed with?
Today's startup ecosystem is packed with a wide range of factors that contribute to its dynamic and rapidly evolving nature. While we can’t discuss all, here are some key factors that we can consider:

Technology: Technology is a major driving force behind the startup ecosystem, with advancements in areas such as AI, machine learning, big data, cloud computing, and IoT providing new opportunities for innovation and disruption. Along with these areas, this year’s Budget has also given prominence to AgriTech, 5G services and HealthTech.

Regulatory environment: The latest Government policies and regulations also have a significant impact on the startup ecosystem, with favorable policies such as tax incentives, grants, and streamlined regulatory processes encouraging innovation and growth. Furthermore, Startup India was launched to encourage entrepreneurs to lead from the front in driving India's economic development and increase employment opportunities.

Capital and Alternative Funding: Access to capital is crucial for startups to grow and scale, and the availability of funding has increased in recent years, with the rise of retail investors, venture capital firms, and most significantly - fundraising platforms. The working-class too have now joined the bandwagon of investing in startups through micro-ticket size options.

Upsurge of Remote Businesses: The pandemic mandated startup owners to shift their businesses to remote mode. This has turned out to be a blessing in disguise for young businesses. According to a survey by PWC, around 83% of all employers who shifted to remote business models reported higher profit margins.

Subscription-based Business: The Indian subscription economy has witnessed a massive surge of 400% in the last eight years. More businesses are driving into subscription-based models because it guarantees heavy profit margins. Further, it is more convenient for entrepreneurs to predict the potential revenues of their businesses as they switch to subscription-based models.

1. What are the criteria and what sector can participate in fundraising?
Early-stage startups from all sectors are invited to raise funds on

There are a few mandatory criteria that the startup needs to meet in order to qualify for a fundraising campaign on the platform:

i) The startup should be incorporated as a Private Limited entity in India
ii) The startup should have its MVP (Minimum Viable Product) ready
iii) The funding requirement should be less than 1 CRORE

2. How is POD disrupting the industry and other fundraising platforms available in the market?
Platforms like POD are set to disrupt the industry by harnessing the potential and making the most of both ends of the ecosystem - entrepreneurs and retail investors. Here are a few factors that positively impact the market:

Access to Funding: A few years prior, startups had to rely on personal savings, family and friends, or traditional funding sources such as venture capitalists or banks. However, startup funding platforms like POD, Tyke and Wellfound are changing the game by giving entrepreneurs access to a wider pool of investors and funding opportunities.

Democratizing Fundraising: Startup funding platforms like POD are democratizing investment by allowing anyone to invest in startups, not just accredited investors. This means that startups can get funding from a larger and more diverse group of people, and investors can invest in startups with smaller amounts of capital and affordable ticket sizes.

Efficiency: With startup funding platforms, founders can easily create a profile and pitch their ideas to potential investors, while investors can quickly browse through hundreds of startups and invest in the ones that interest them. Furthermore, startup funding platforms are making the funding process more efficient by reducing the time associated with fundraising. For instance, startups listed on POD can complete the entire process of raising funds in just three weeks.

Tech-first Approach: Startup funding platforms are driving innovation in the way startups are getting funded. POD now is focussed on building a full-stack platform for fundraising starting with a One-Pager tool where founders can easily create, design and share their one-page pitches with potential investors.

Transparency: Startup funding platforms are making the funding process more transparent by providing investors with more information about the startups they are investing in. This includes financial data, business plans, and progress reports and live dashboards, which help investors make more informed investment decisions.

3. What does the POD's business roadmap look like for the year 2023?
In 2023, POD’s goal is to enable 100+ early-stage startups to successfully raise funds through its platform. Additionally, POD aspires to pioneer a fundraising stack that is set to redefine startup investments in India. We are also in the process of releasing our first tool in the stack - a SaaS One-Pager that will empower startup founders to put their best foot forward and share everything that really counts through a one-page deck with potential investors.

4. What are the major factors that set you apart from other players in this segment?
‘Transparency’, ‘trust’ and ‘technology’ are at the heart of everything we do at POD. Adding to this is the fact that we offer quality, vetted deals to non-HNI investors. Recently, one of our Portfolio startups, Nanoclean, was featured on Shark Tank India - cementing the fact about the quality of our deals.

Furthermore, we offer a hybrid deal structuring. This means that investors who are willing to put a minimum investment value - defined by the startup - could get EQUITY as an instrument of investment. Alternatively, investors who are not able to look at equity as a lucrative instrument would still come into the deal flow using CCD, which is another instrument but with a lower ticket size. Through this approach, we are able to cater to the varying requirements of retail investors.

Adding to this is a stellar Investment Relations team that extends support to both startups and investors throughout their association with POD, making each user’s journey not just memorable and unique but also worth their while.

5. What do you consider to be your key accomplishments/initiatives?
Since its inception in January 2022, POD has successfully closed 18 deals with over INR 8 Crore worth of transactions. However, we are defined by the impact we create and consider the following as our key accomplishments:

● Providing a platform for hundreds of founders to pitch their ideas
● Fostering meaningful partnerships between startup founders and investors
● Enabling growth and development of our portfolio startups
● Empowering retail investors with quality deals and rewards
● Re-engineering fundraising with user-friendly tools like the One-pager, a component of the full-stack platform in the making

6. Portray us the importance in Building fundraising stack of the future?
A fundraising stack of the future from POD is set to offer startups many advantages when it comes to raising funds. Some of the advantages include increased convenience for creating and sharing investor pitches, access to a wider pool of investors, lower costs, greater transparency, data-driven insights, and as a cumulative account - increased efficiency.

These benefits can help startups to raise capital more effectively and efficiently, allowing them to focus on growing their business.