Entrepreneur Sid Mookerji sets up food tech, retail accelerator in Mysuru

File photo of Sid Mookerji
Entrepreneur Sid Mookerji whose tech firm Softvision (SPI) was acquired by Cognizant last October has set up a retail and foodtech focused startup accelerator in Mysuru. According to sources, Cognizant had acquired Softvision for about $530 million.

Mookerji’s US-based venture capital firm Silicon Road and French startup accelerator Numa have partnered to launch, ‘Silicon Road Accelerator’ which is said to be Mysuru’s first startup accelerator. It’s a 4-month startup acceleration programme providing funded support and infrastructure for startups, particularly in the food and retail tech sector. 

Said to be first of its kind accelerator programme in the country, Silicon Road aims to fast-track the growth of the startups in this segment with a tailored programme, mentoring and network. “We have recently seen very smart tech companies doing great stuff (in places like Mysuru) but they don’t have the right kind of ecosystem to go to. We are trying to bridge that gap,” said Sanjay Srinivasmurthy, director and India head, Silicon Road. 

Silicon Road’s founder and managing partner Sid Mookerji who grew up in Mysuru was the founder and former CEO of tech company Software Paradigms International (SPI) which was later rebranded as Softvision. He also founded Silver Spirit Global LLC, which operates incubators and technology parks in the US and India. 

Silicon Road would leverage three primary hubs of innovation in the US, India and Israel to provide the food and retail ideas of the entrepreneurs a global platform. It would also assist them in building businesses that strive to address the most pressing needs of the retail and food industries. “We are looking at good retail and foodtech companies here and make them part of our US acceleration programme also,” said Srinivasmurthy.

Under the programme, Silicon Road would invest Rs 25 lakh in each of the startups that are joining it. After successful completion of the programme, the startups would also get access to €700,000 worth of perks, a further round of funding opportunity from Silicon Road and fundraising support from global and local investors. But Silicon Road will be taking 6-8 per cent equity stake in exchange for the funding and acceleration programme. The programme for the first cohort would start in May this year.

The firms would be introduced to the local and international network of food and retail tech corporates, mentors, research institutions and industry experts.

Srinivasmurthy said, the organisation is partnering with Mysuru-based Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) — a lab affiliated to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research — to provide the institute’s facilities to the firms.