The Startup Arena

Our desire to engage with start-ups stems from the core values of our founders – each of them has benefitted tremendously over the course of their careers from the transformative value of having the right mentors at the right time. The decision to start Catalyse advisory was, in large part, driven by this aspiration to pay it forward in a manner that creates a holistic environment for symbiotic relationships to bloom, and for value to be co-created in a manner that is financially rewarding and yet inherently deeply fulfilling. The start-up ecosystem in India has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade – it has become more structured, better funded, and founders are often luminaries of their fields. There has perhaps never been a more opportune moment to be at the heart of a nascent yet potent business idea – and it is with this intent of forging true partnerships that we at Catalyse offer a suite of services specifically curated and uniquely customized for start-ups.

Our value-driven approach to our work with start-ups is clear: we work closely with the founder group to focus on identifying, defining and achieving mission-critical strategic business priorities using our proprietary advisory toolkit that covers financial management, data analytics, cost reduction, compliance diagnosis, operational efficiency programme and change management. Each start-up engagement is a unique shared experience for us and our clients’ co-founder group, which begins with a diagnosis of what founders really want and ends only when both their wants and ways of achieving them are correctly identified, executed and stably delivering value. Our relentless focus on creating customized engagement plans for each start-up client, depending on their stated needs and our assessment of their unstated needs, rather than scaling up a one-size-fits-all plan of action, is enabled by our boutique nature, and essentially separates us from all our competitors catering to the start-up ecosystem in India. we have no set criteria to define an enterprise as a ‘start-up’, understanding the stage of a firm’s growth cycle is a critical part of our business development initiatives. While such an individualized assessment of what is most required to propel business outcomes often brings out the need for additional services, our general start-up advisory suite comprises of the top services that start-ups typically require as they embark or traverse through their growth journey.

We have tried answering some of the questions that you might have. If some questions are left unanswered, we are always there for your help.

Adequate, well-structured funding is the lifeblood of a potent business idea, and today’s hyper-competitive start-up eco-system has transformed the journey from bootstrapping to being funded into a differentiable component of a start up’s life cycle. Crafting a strong pitch for one’s idea has become as much of an art as crafting the idea itself, and most start-ups struggle in this pivotal nascent step in their growth journey. Recognizing the market vacuum for quality funding support, we offer our start-up clients the following fund-raising services:  

  • Identification & mapping of suitable funding sources
  • Comprehensive management of communication / outreach with funding
    sources
  • KPI identification, preparation and templates for measuring achievement
  • End-to-end preparation of customized investor presentations
  • Presentation excellence training including technical training, negotiation & presentation skill enhancement
  • Funding contract management

Manoeuvring the plethora of financial obligations (both statutory & opportunistic) that India’s sharply regulated business environment demands can drown out fledging businesses from the get-go, as it typically eats away from time and resources that are critically needed to nurture & consolidate the start-up’s core competence. We offer our founder-partners leverage to outsource completely the domain of financial management, compliance adherence as well as financial optimization, so that they can focus their and their teams’ undivided attention to actualize the true potential of their business. Specifically, we offer a one-stop solution in domains of:

  • Financial accounting & advisory
  • Indirect tax
  • Direct tax
  • Audit and Risk assurance
  • Management consulting and process automation
  • Deal advisory and corporate finance
  • Corporate secretarial

Financial viability of a business proposition is the most often-asked question and most sought-after answer by every critical stakeholder in the start-up ecosystem – investors, employees and regulators – with an ultimate implication on the business’ ability to service the stakeholder that matters the most – the customer. Given the level of dynamism and adaptability that successful start-ups must inherently embody, there is no single pragmatic way to keep costs from burgeoning. We offer our founder-partners a bounded frame of control mechanisms through which they can securely manage their costs and prevent the business from bleeding money, no matter what the circumstance. Specifically, we help businesses:

  • Create and implement cost monitoring and control mechanisms
  • Define, classify, & track performance of cost centres, revenue centres and profit centres across the org.
  • Identify critical levers for cost reduction and devise cost reduction strategy
  • Implement and execute cost reduction strategy on identified levers
  • Devise and execute change management strategy to manage resistance to change for cost reduction initiative

The 21st century has witnessed an unprecedented transition to service orientation in how businesses fundamentally add value to their customers’ lives. No matter how cutting edge a product may be – markets today demand that delivery mechanisms are as thoughtfully designed as what is being is delivered. This is where the quality of one’s human resources – people – comes to the forefront of competitive differentiation. Start-ups today face two major challenges in managing people – first, how do we hire the best people and retain them? and second, How do we ensure the right fit for the right position? Our human resource strategy suite offers compelling answers to both questions:

  • Defining org. hierarchy through end-to-end organigram creation
  • Outlining roles, responsibilities a & authority relationships across the org. hierarchy
  • Creating recruitment charter (aligned with company vision and mission) & laying out recruitment strategy
  • Managing & administering recruitment and selection of employees
  • Creating org. wide KPI map linked to business objectives and defining appraisal strategy

Almost every start-up idea that our founder-partners work on is inherently a good idea, in abstraction of the likelihood of its successful implementation. An idea goes from good to great only in the execution stage, for successfully executing an idea and bringing a viable product / service to market in a financially profitable manner is the true litmus test for a founder-partner. This is where we support our founder-partners to convert their ideas into living, breathing, operational systems. Our operations strategy suite helps our clients to:

  • Define a robust operations strategy and outline how the business will be operationalized
  • Define and execute a supply chain framework linked to business goals, mission and vision
  • Enhance the state of current operations and bring about radical improvement in select agreed-upon KPIs