Funds managed

Fund nameAsset ClassLicense
9Unicorns Accelerator FundEarly stageSEBI AIF Cat 1

About the AMC

The 9Unicorns is an accelerator program that was launched by Ventures Catalysts (VCats) to boost and guide the early stage start-ups in India. VCats saw the gap in the number of accelerators that India had as opposed to China (32k+) and USA (20k+), 9Unicorns fund was established to bridge this gap and provide Indian start-ups mentoring, networking and financial support. It is also working towards the “idea stage” start-ups by helping them build scalable business models, set up teams, offer access to networks and markets across the world and especially Tier II, III, and IV cities in India to build a large customer base. VCats made a fund allocation worth Rs. 300 crores to 9Unicorns, it has curated over 16,500 startups, funded 168 deals and successfully exited 30 deals. It has a form on its website that lets budding start-up founders apply to the program in order to get chosen to use their expertise and funds to grow their start-up. The chosen start-ups will get a three month long product and acceleration guidance in three batches annually with 10 startups per batch. Some of the mentored/funded start-ups are OYO, Beardo, Fynd, Orbo AI & BharatPe.

Key staff

  • Dr. Apoorv Ranjan Sharma (Co-founder & MD)- He is the guiding force behind the 9Unicorns accelerator program. He has been active in the start-up space since the early 2000. Along with a Ph.D. in Management (role of business incubators in economic growth of India), he has a diploma in mentoring start-ups from UC Berkeley.
  • CA Anuj Golecha, Anuj Jain and Gaurav Jain are fellow co-founders and the program has a set team of mentors, board members and an investment committee to add value to the expertise required.


Investment Philosophy (for the accelerator program)

It primarily focuses on investing by identifying high potential early stage businesses across sectors including electric vehicles, augmented reality VR, artificial Intelligence and machine learning, fintech, retail and FMCG startups.


Title: Venture Catalysts, Source: YourStory, Date: 1 August 2019


Dr. Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, Co-founder & MD of Venture Catalysts explains the need of an accelerator program like 9Unicorns. The incubator Venture Catalysts launched 9Unicorns and claims that it is the first accelerator venture capital in India. He also explained the fund allocation made to this fund of Rs. 300 crores by Venture Catalysts. He further described the start-up ecosystem in India and also its drawbacks that 9Unicorn fund wants to tap on and resolve. The start-ups will access to various resources such as, Vcat’s (Venture Catalysts) corporate community of 4,500+ members, mentoring, growth facilitation program and so on.

Title: 9Unicorns and the Indian start-up scenario amidst COVID-19, Source: YourStory, Date: 22 April 2020


A brief introduction to US based Y Combinator which is on the same lines as 9Unicorns. Also, India’s potential to grow after the massive slowdown caused due to COVID-19 is discussed.

Title: VCats launches 9Unicorns, Source: EconomicTimes, Date: 1 August 2019


Title: VCats launches 300 cr 9Unicorns fund focusing on early stage start-ups, Source: Inc42, Date: 1 August 2019


Title: Interview, Source: ExpressComputer, Date: 24 March 2020


In an e-interview with Gairika Mitra, Dr. Apoorv Ranjan Sharma answers questions related to 9Unicorns fund’s objectives & targets in the near future.

Analyst questions

  • Which exit routes were used in the past?
  • What factors do you consider and the criteria you set to assess a start-up before mentoring/funding it?

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