What is Spark?
Spark is a movement to inspire more women to become entrepreneurs. It’s a four-month long fellowship program that includes a USD 100K equity-free grant, access to mentorship, as well as learning sessions and events. Spark is open for applications to all female founders who want access to domain knowledge and a community of founders they can tap on for learning and support.
What do I get access to as a Spark Fellowship founder?
In addition to a USD 100K grant, you will get access to founder talks, deep-dive studio sessions, as well as mentorship from other founders who are part of the Peak XV network, and specialists across our human capital, marketing, product, legal, and finance teams. Each Spark founder will also be mapped to an investment advisor who will work directly with them throughout the duration of the program.
Learn more about the fellowship here.
What's the duration of the fellowship program?
Spark is a four-month long fellowship program that includes regular check-ins with your investment advisor, and mentorship from a curated set of industry experts, startup founders, and Peak XV specialists across hiring, marketing, product, legal and finance.
When does Spark kick off?
I would love to apply for the grant – but I also have interest from various investors. Can they invest or fund my startup alongside Spark's grant?
Yes – just like our other program, Surge, the Spark fellowship is open-architecture. We aim to collaborate with partners across the greater startup ecosystem, and welcome the participation of seed funds, angel investors, and other VC firms.
What stake does Peak XV take in my startup, in return for the grant?
As part of the Spark fellowship grant, Peak XV will not take any stake or ownership in your company, but we do expect you to commit the time and effort to attend the sessions to make the best of the program.
What happens after the program is over? Will Peak XV continue to help founders that are a part of the cohort?
While each cohort lasts for four months, the Spark community is for life. You can continue to stay connected to your Spark network, attend events and benefit from peer and community learnings after the fellowship ends.
Will there be follow-on funding from Peak XV or Surge after the Spark Fellowship ends?
While Spark founders can seek funding from Peak XV or Surge after the fellowship ends, selection to the Spark program does not guarantee follow-on funding from either.
What criteria do you look for in Spark Fellowship applicants?
We are looking for driven female founders leading recently launched startups on a mission to create large-scale impact by solving problems across AI, deeptech, SaaS, FinTech, climate tech, consumer tech, Web3, HealthTech, and more across India, Southeast Asia, and Australia.
Is there a timeline/deadline for applications?
The deadline for applications for our next Spark cohort is 1 December 2023. Spark 03 will begin in February 2024.
Can I apply to Spark if my startup hasn’t launched yet?
The Spark program is specifically designed for early-stage startups and is focused on empowering female founders by providing them with access to capital, knowledge, mentorship, and networks to supercharge the first steps of their company-building journey.
If you are yet to launch your startup, we would love to see a business plan on your product or service, as well as details on your Go-to-Market (GTM) strategy.
Do I need to be a full-time founder to apply for the program? What if I’m working somewhere and trying out my startup idea on the sidelines?
We only accept applications from full-time founders.
Can I apply if I’m a student?
We only accept applications from full-time founders. You are welcome to apply if you are currently a student but can commit to running your startup full-time by the time the next Spark cohort is in session.
What happens after I apply to Spark?
Your application will be reviewed by a group of Peak XV’s investment advisors. If you are shortlisted, we will set up a virtual meeting with you and your co-founders (if any). After this meeting, we will select the final list of startups for the Spark cohort. You can expect to hear from us within three weeks of your application, regardless of the status.
Does my startup need to be a registered company?
Not right away, but if you are selected for the Spark fellowship, you will need to get your company registered in order to receive the grant.
I'm not based in India, Southeast Asia, or Australia. Can I still apply for the Spark Fellowship?
You can apply for the Spark Fellowship if you are building for India, Southeast Asia, or Australia. If you are selected for Spark 03, you are required to join us for a series of in-person events when the cohort kicks off in February 2024. We will be hosting a series of meet-ups and sessions for Spark 03 to meet and connect with other founders in their cohort, as well as the broader startup community. Being a part of these in-person events plays a valuable part in being part of the Spark community.
I am a female founder but my co-founder is male. Can I still apply?
Yes, you definitely can apply to Spark, but you will need to be an equal or majority shareholder in the business. Please note that if selected, the program will only be open to you and not your male co-founder(s).
We are two female co-founders. Do we each need to submit a separate application for the fellowship?
A single application is sufficient for the both of you since the form has provision to share details of your co-founder. Please go through the fields carefully and share all the relevant details of your co-founder.
Can I apply to Spark as a solo founder?
You don’t need to have a co-founder to apply to Spark. We hope that you will meet like-minded people through the Spark community so that you can learn and grow with them.
When will I find out if I’m accepted into the program?
You can expect to hear from us within six to eight weeks of your application, regardless of the status.
Is there a program fee?
Spark does not charge any program fees. Given this is a grant, we don’t take any ownership or stake in your company either.