Wadhwani Takeoff: Frequently Asked Questions

What is Wadhwani Takeoff?

Wadhwani Takeoff is a program launched by Wadhwani Foundation to empower students and professionals with knowledge and skills to create high-potential startups thereby leading to high-value job creation.

Under this program, three shortlisted applicants will be eligible for a “business idea” pitch in each of the 16 cities and their pitch will be telecast in the “Leaders of Tomorrow” program of ET NOW.

After the 16 city pitches are over, minimum 3 from 48 pitches will become eligible for an all-paid visit to Silicon Valley for 5 days where they will be exposed to mentoring workshops and interactions with business leaders.

Wadhwani Foundation has a strategic partnership with ET NOW channel to evangelize and promote entrepreneurship in India.

What happens at the event?

3 selected Startups per city will pitch for to a panel of jury members and audience. Each Startup will get 2 minutes to pitch and 2 minutes for Q&A. The jury will score each pitch based on a pre-defined selection criteria. The pitch will be recorded, and an edited version will be broadcast on ET Now channel at a later date.

Will I get help to prepare my pitch if I get shortlisted?

Yes, our city focused pitch coaches will work with the shortlisted entrepreneurs to help them with the pitch preparation for the city event.

What happens after the pitch at the city based event?

All the 5 pitches at a city event will be recorded by ET Now and an edited version of 3 shortlisted pitches (out of 5) will be telecast on their channel in their “Leaders of Tomorrow” program.

All the 5 pitches made at the event will be entered into a Leader Board ranking based on the jury scores and deliberations. So, after 16 events there will be a Leader Board that ranks total 80 pitches.

The Leader Board will help decide at least (min) 3 winners from the 80 pitches who will win a trip to Silicon Valley mentoring and angel pitching session.

The winners will also get to attend the “Leaders of Tomorrow” national mega conclave organized by ET Now in 2020 – a great opportunity for the entrepreneurs to network and learn from the best in the ecosystem.

What is the eligibility criteria for applying?

Highly motivated individuals/teams with tenacity, staying power and can-do attitude fulfilling at least one of the below criteria can apply:
• Early stage startups with a customer base and/or revenue stream
• Aspiring entrepreneur with a validated business idea with potential for realization and or/ a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
• Having a registered business entity

Is my Intellectual Property protected?

As we receive many applications from startups with similar ideas/focus areas, please do not ask for an NDA at this stage. All the application data that you share is confidential and will not be shared with anyone apart from the Wadhwani Foundation team.
However, since the pitch will be recorded and broadcast on a national television channel, you should be prepared to share your idea in a public forum.

Do I have to be in the host city to join? Does the program take care of travel and accommodation for the times I am required to be in the host cities?

Any entrepreneur can apply for any city event. However, we need you (and your co-founder) to be physically accessible during the pitch prep time to work with the pitch coaches.
WF will not take care of any travel or accommodation costs either for pitch prep time or for the final event.

How can I apply?

Apply here
The last date of application for your preferred location is mentioned in the schedule list here

Is there a participant fee for the event?

There is no participant fee. However, we have a limited intake and shall choose the companies based on our evaluation criteria.

Can my Startup team join with me too?

Two founders per startup can pitch at the event.

Will you provide funding for my business?

Wadhwani Foundation does not fund startups directly. However, the “Wadhwani Takeoff” program provides selected startups with an opportunity to pitch to an eminent jury of experts/investors/industry leaders/angels.

Is this program only for Tech Startups or is there any other specific sector focus?

We are sector-agnostic but emphasize on startups that have potential for high-growth.

I have applied but haven’t heard back yet? When will I get a reply?

We receive many applications and review them individually but will not be able to respond to everyone individually. If you are shortlisted for the next round of selection process, you will definitely hear from us.

What is Wadhwani Foundation?

Wadhwani Foundation is a not-for-profit with a primary mission to accelerate economic development in emerging economies by driving large-scale job creation through entrepreneurship, innovation and skills development. Founded in 2000 by Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Dr. Romesh Wadhwani, today the Foundation is scaling impact in 25 countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. For more details, visit us at https://www.wfglobal.org.

What is Wadhwani Entrepreneur (WE)?

Wadhwani Entrepreneur is an initiative of the Wadhwani Foundations and empowers students and professionals with knowledge and skills to create high-potential startups, thereby leading to high-value job creation.

Who is Dr. Romesh Wadhwani?

Dr. Romesh Wadhwani is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist and the Founding Chairman and CEO of $3.5 billion Symphony Technology Group (1999), Founder and Chairman of Wadhwani Foundation (2003) and the Founding Chairman of PE firm Symphony AI (2018). Until 1999, he built three successful companies, the last of which was exited at over $9 billion. Dr. Wadhwani is also a member of the Gates Buffet Giving Pledge, Board Member of Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C and a President Obama appointee to the Board of Trustees of the John. F. Kennedy Center.