Just like a human baby's brain, a startup's first few years contribute heavily to its future health and success
Building a startup takes a toll on the founders, especially in the formative years
Fast Forward helps accelerate your startup’s success with fast seed funding and a forward path

Seed Funding in 30 Days

Seed funding is often subject to accelerator, incubator, cohort selection processes and delays. Funding amount is sometimes contingent on future deliverables. 

Fast Forward cuts through the noise and gets seed capital in the hands of the most deserving entrepreneurs in an easy and transparent fashion.

Upto $500,000
in seed funding
Application
Feedback
Money in the Bank
Decision
Day
0
Day
7
Day
14
Day
30

To apply for Fast Forward, create a simple StartUp Profile by answering a few questions

Applications are processed on a first come, first served basis during each application cycle.

Read here on why we launched Fast Forward and how we decide so quickly:

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Fast Forward Highlights

Fast Forward is a simple and fast path to partnership between WaterBridge and Founders.

As a Seed – Series A first institutional cheque fund, while we enter a startup’s journey in any of those stages, Fast Forward was launched in April 2020 and represents our focused seed investment programme. This programme is particularly useful for startups amidst the current socio-economic disruption and a dynamic fund raise environment.

Founders who receive Fast Forward funding are not treated as second class citizens within our ecosystem. You get the same support and value add (yes that’s our Alpha) as all of our portfolio founders and you are the most important people in our own success journey.

To apply, create a StartUp Profile which includes a story deck, video and answers to a few questions.

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FAQ

What does Fast Forward mean?

It is a fast (decision & funding) and forward (looking) seed investment programme of WaterBridge Ventures. Fast Forward is intended to expedite a startup’s journey to success. Read more here about why we launched Fast Forward.

Why apply to Fast Forward?

WaterBridge is a Seed – Series A fund. That means we make our first investment at Seed, Pre-Series A or Series A stage of a promising startup. We continue to support our portfolio for as long as possible and most certainly keep investing pro-rata until Series C stage of funding. We are currently active Board members of several of our Series C+ companies, a voice of support and reason for our founder partners; and a high value add investor for all our portfolio (early to growth).

We have made several successful investments in the past like:

  • Atlan (Global SaaS in data mgmt. & governance)
  • Bijnis (B2B commerce by taking Indian factories to the world)
  • CityMall (Assisted commerce for Bharat)
  • DoubtNut (India’s most used EdTech app with an AI product for 400 million students)
  • MagicPin (India's no. 1 savings app that’s helping small retailers grow)
  • Medcords (Rural tele-medicine, digital health leader in India)
  • PocketPills (Canada’s largest epharmacy with India DevOps)
  • Unacademy (India’s biggest higher-ed learning and test-prep app)

Fast Forward represents our focused seed stage investment programme. This has been in the works for some time but we think it will be particularly useful for startups in the current socio-economic disruption and tight fund raise environment. Here’s our Fast Forward portfolio from 2020, and full WaterBridge portfolio to give you an idea of the kind of companies we love to partner with.

We will be long term partners in your company building journey. If you want to get access to our value-add experience and eclectic network, we encourage you to apply.

Who should apply?

If you are a founder or a team of co-founders passionate about solving a problem that is India centric or being developed out of India, then you should apply. At this time through Fast Forward, we can only invest in private limited entities i.e. privately held, incorporated and headquartered in India.

WaterBridge has a strong liking for technology disruption and we invest in a broad range of sectors like education, health, financial services, logistics & distribution, gaming, internet commerce, social commerce, mobility and consumer tech with network effects. We invest in B2C as well as B2B (SME or Enterprise customers, India or global market focus) startups. If technology led disruption is at the core of your business model, it is more exciting for us.

We are very comfortable partnering with first time or repeat founders. Your passion and unique insights in a sector help us evaluate your application better.

How do I apply to Fast Forward?

Create a StartUp Profile which includes a story deck, video and answers to a few questions.

Is this an incubator, accelerator programme?

No. This is a just a faster and easier way to raise your seed round from WaterBridge which is a leading first institutional cheque, Seed to Series A fund.

Does raising money from WaterBridge mean I can't apply to other accelerators and similar programs?

No. We do not impose any restrictions on your ability to apply to other programs. In-fact we have a long list of active partners and co-investors just for Fast Forward. Our portfolio companies like Atlan, DoubtNut also raised investments from other early stage focused programs like Sequoia Surge right after our investment.

Is this a Grant or Debt?

No. This is a seed equity investment. It is not a debt or a grant. Amidst the COVID-19 led global health care crisis and slowdown, there are a lot of good sources of debt and grants for startups and we recommend reaching out to them.

What are the investment terms?

  • Upto $500,000 for upto 20% straight equity
  • Investment in one shot. No future-deliverables based or tranched investment
  • Board and observer seat
  • Minimum 10% ESOP beyond founders equity
  • Standard VC equity investment terms (Standard Term Sheet)
  • Please note that these are WaterBridge's investment terms and if other investors are joining the cap table, these terms are subject to change.

We are a pre-Series A / Series A stage company raising more than $500k. Should we apply through Fast Forward?

We are a Seed – Series A first institutional cheque fund. That means we make our first investment at Seed, Pre-Series A or Series A stage of a startup. WaterBridge will cap its Seed investment at $500k. While we enable introductions to other early stage VCs through the Fast Forward Application Process, the evaluation and investment decision is independent of ours and we cannot commit on their behalf. If you want to raise more than $500k from WaterBridge, then Fast Forward is not for you. We encourage you to reach out to us through Pitch To Us, or as always have someone that knows us both make the introduction. Our contact information is available next to our People profiles.

Why do you not use SAFE, Convertible instruments?

We feel SAFE (simple agreement for future equity) or convertible instruments while seeming simple are a failure to define the risk in an investing partnership. It doesn’t align incentives between equity investors and startups especially in early stages of a company.

If we are able to develop conviction to work with each other, founders should raise money in straightforward structures so they can focus on company building as opposed to dealing with the anxiety of a future valuation event. You have enough unknowns and anxieties to deal with, spare yourself of this one.

What do we offer beyond seed capital?

Our kind friends at market-leading SaaS companies offer us discounts and credits to tools including WebEngage, ZenDesk, Twillio, HubSpot, Miro, Segment, Freshworks. This apart, you get access to our portfolio founders who can give you a first hand view of building businesses, raising capital and working with us. We also have tie-ups with start-up programs including Microsoft, NetApp, Cisco, Wipro Consumer etc for onward introductions into their programs. Finally, we partner with super-angels and other early-stage VCs to help you expand your round size beyond us. Refer our "Mentors" and "Partners" section for more.

Do you have any industry sector preferences or exclusions?

We are a sector agnostic fund and hence are open to hearing from any early stage, missionary founder.  However, we do have a few sweet spots and preferences.

On the consumer side, our preference is for technology first companies that ride on the burgeoning Indian internet user base and solve for a variety of issues including accessibility, affordability and convenience. Offline and operationally intensive service delivery and distribution models are not an area of preference. On the B2B side, we prefer India based teams building software and platforms for global markets either serving large enterprises or the mid-market. Read more here.

At what stage of companies do you invest in?

Since this is a seed programme with a standardized equity investment, later stage companies may not be a good fit for Fast Forward. While it is hard to specifically define early stage, here are some pointers. (a) Past idea stage and you have a registered private company (b) You are bootstrapped or recently graduated from an accelerator or have a few family, friends and angels on the cap table (c) you do not have any institutional VC on your cap table (d) Past your MVP and ready for launch (e) Working on early customer pilots or signing your first few customer contracts.

How many companies will get selected for Fast Forward?

While we do not have a minimum number, in 2020 we invested in five. We don’t go with any pre-conceived notions about no. of companies we will fund in a program like this. Having said that we plan to have not more than 10 – 12 Fast Forward Seed stage investments in our portfolio.

How long will you take to respond and until when is the application window open?

Fast Forward is a limited time seed program. Applications will be processed on a first come, first served basis during each application cycle.

Application
Feedback
Day
0
Decision
Day
7
Money in the Bank
Day
14
Day
30

Just like our other investments, WaterBridge will invest in follow-on rounds of your future fund raises.

How are you able to respond so quickly?

Fast Forward programme is a strategic initiative from WaterBridge. Our past experience of investing (partners have over 40 years of institutional investing experience) and our investment service providers have enabled us to compress (usually 1 - 2 months exercise) the investment evaluation, due diligence and legal processes so we can respond to your application in a matter of days. Read more here about our process and preferences in detail.

Can I do something else other than submitting my application to get your attention?

Founder diligence is an important element of all of our investments. Generally we track our founder partners for months (sometimes years) before making an investment. Since this is an expedited investment programme, please help us help your case. If you know anyone from the WaterBridge Team, or know anyone from our portfolio founders (Portfolio), or someone you think we may know (and who can vouch for you), please add their LinkedIn profile in the application (we have a separate question addressing that).

I have applied to Fast Forward but haven’t heard back, What can I do?

We expect to be overwhelmed with applications but we believe that we will be able to respond to you within the promised timelines of feedback and decision (Timelines). Please be patient with us. If it is a no/reject, it will most likely be because of one or many of these reasons. (a) an incomplete application (b) lack of strong referrals (c) Sectors are not an area of interest (d) Business directly competes with existing portfolio (e) Idea stage company yet to have an MVP or early customer pilots (f) Lack of a strong tech-led moat or differentiation (g) Founders not working full-time in the company

When can I apply to Fast Forward?

Apply as soon as you're ready. Applications are processed on a first come, first served basis during each application cycle. Stay tuned to our website or follow us on LinkedIn for updates as our process and thinking evolves.

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