ATEA, IITStartups, CAStartups, FalconX, legal firm collaborated to boost early stage startups

Ritu Jha-

Overcoming recession concerns, several Indian American entrepreneurial accelerators, service providers, and investors with an objective to work in a collaborative way to boost startups, attended the year’s first networking event on January 21 at FalconX in Milpitas, California.

The main host was the American Tamil Entrepreneurs Association (ATEA), a non-profit organization that fosters entrepreneurship among members of the Tamil community in the US, was joined by IITStartups another non-profit venture run by the alumni of IITs to help startups founded by an IIT alumnus, FalconX, a Silicon Valley-based technology accelerator and a newly founded CAStartups, a non-profit dedicated to educating and mentoring startups, started by a team of like-minded Chartered Accountant (CA).

Welcoming the idea to work together Lena Kannappan, co-founder of ATEA told indica on the sidelines of the event, when asked why collaboration is needed said, “At the end of the day, we are helping a ‘startup’ whether it’s an IIT Startup, CA Startup they all will be requiring the technology platform, lots of mentorships and subject matter expertise.”

“If syndicate investors with a bunch of venture capitalists can collaborate and work together, it would help the startups grow faster,” said Kannappan, the Founder of CreatiVentures, a strategic advisory and venture consulting firm and who also serves as an advisory member at the California Regional Council, University of Chicago.

“We work with Indian Entrepreneurs and VCs, TiE Silicon Valley and in fact many of TiE SV [members] are startup founders and we help them as well,” he said.

He added, “Today’s event is all about introducing service providers to emerging startups. And we have been providing this support for startups mostly behind the scenes and we felt it is important to bring out these service providers and have a very focused event. So, whether you are dealing with incorporating your company or having questions on tax services, or want to associate with good law firms in silicon valley.”

“A startup needs even marketing materials, they always struggle from printing cards to logo and creating online presence, so bringing all service providers together, we felt the best thing is to partner with multiple organizations which are focused on startups,” Kannappan said. The primary ones are IITStartups which are funded by IIT alumni, then, which was recently founded by accomplished CA veterans and by the private equity and the banking world.

Kannappan said they also have partnered with FalconX, the facility we are leveraging. And they have 40-50 startups. IITStartups has grown to 120.

About ATEA’s Digital Accelerator, he said they have hosted three cohorts so far that started in 2019 and the fourth cohort would start in a couple of months. Kannappan said since 2019, out of 150 companies who applied, they selected 25+ companies.

Pointing to the attendees, a pleased Kannappan told indica that he was not expecting so many people but it’s vibrant today bringing people from different backgrounds and investors into the room said, “I think partnering with quality and credible people is a win-win for everybody.”

Vineet Malhotra, co-founder CAStartups, which was launched Nov. 2022, along with two co-founders, [Vish Arunachalam, co-founder and CEO at, as well as founder chairman and director, ICAI San Francisco; and Hitesh Sachdev, head of startup and innovation and investment at ICICI, told indica on the sidelines of the event on the formation of CAStartups, “I think CAs are now finding different opportunities and they are evolving and connectivity between India and the US has increased a lot.”

“The forum where they can come in and both the academic resources, professional resources, capital of Silicon Valley and so it helps bridge that gap between the Indian CAs and Silicon Valley, and that is the core mission of CAStartups,” Malhotra said, who a week ago launched his first startup.

“The core theme is to collaborate and we can bring so much value…I am really excited and a new initiative will add a lot of value to CA fraternity globally,” Malhotra said, “I think the word CA should not be Chartered Accountant but Commercial Acumen.”

Also present was Kumar Kandaswamy, founder Platformitfy, who started his company six months ago, says when the economy is down it really allows you to build your product that the market is looking to capitalize on. “We are super excited about leveraging this window of opportunity to build something that is valuable for companies at various stages,” Kandaswamy said and added he is a member of ATEA and will be part of their digital accelerator program part of ATEA’s fourth cohort starting in a couple of months.

Another attendee Yogendra Chordia, Co-founder and President at Schrocken Inc., a SaaS platform for Life Sciences Pharma companies, said he was there to network with people after a long Covid-forced gap.

Dane Patterson, Partner, Goodwin Procter LLP, said it is the right time to invest in startups as there is a lot of activity at the early stage, even if there is some concern about a looming recession. “Later stage rounds are slow and challenging because those companies grew too quick or the market pulled back and they had too many people. That is why we are seeing layoffs.”

Karthik Swaminathan. Chief Representative, ICICI Bank in San Francisco Bay Area presented how the bank can help startups and both in India and Indians forming startups in the US said, “It’s a financial institution and whoever any startups or Indians need help ICICI will support in both the locations.”

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