India’s veteran startup leaders launch Artha, a school for entrepreneurs

Some of India’s prominent startup founders and entrepreneurs came together to launch the Artha School of Entrepreneurship with the aim to help entrepreneurs scale their ventures faster.

The venture’s founding team comprises Suruchi Maitra (ex-Lenskart), Hari TN (author, strategic advisor), Sanjeev Aggarwal (Founder and CEO, Amplus), Pramath Sinha (Founder, Harappa Education), Ashish Gupta (Co-founder, Helton), and Pavan Vaish (ex-Uber) and has a track record of scaling startups. They have participated in creating 12 unicorns and 10 successful exits, including three IPOs.

“Starting up is not easily coachable but scaling up certainly is. Entrepreneurs have an unmistakable bias for learning from individuals who have been through their journeys successfully, and a programme like this can enable India to become not just a land of unicorns but a land of high growth and sustainable companies,” Pavan said in a statement.

The school has numerous programmes on offer. The ‘Artha Scale Program’ is designed for founders of early-stage startups that have achieved some degree of product-market fit and are poised for scale. It aims to make the art and science of scaling accessible to these founders through a set of in-person and intense problem-solving workshops facilitated by experienced practitioners.

The programme offers four full-day workshops, with the fee costing Rs 10,000 per day. In addition, participants will have access to mentors—successful founders and startup executives—for 90 days, and will be provided with online content related to all elements of scaling for a period of six months and in multiple formats.

The key themes for the initial set of workshops include founder growth, organisation and culture, funding and capitalisation, and building a sustainable business. The school conducted workshops in Kochi last week, and plans to have workshops in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Pune, Mumbai, and Chennai. Artha is also looking to partner with T-Hub, the Telangana government’s business incubator, in Hyderabad and KSN Global in Kochi.

The team is also thinking about a longer (four to six months) fellowship programme for founders of advanced-stage startups, Hari said, adding that an acceleration programme for startups could also be made available in the future. The programme would have a cohort of 20-30 people, including founders and the leadership team of a reasonably big startup.

“India’s quest for equitable growth will never be fulfilled unless founders from all socioeconomic backgrounds realise their full potential. The Artha Scale Program has been carefully designed to create an impact on a bigger canvas,” Hari added.

The founding team has structured the Artha School of Entrepreneurship as a Section 8 Company (a not-for-profit organisation). The fees from the programmes will be used for running the organisation as well as research and development.