People and Culture Accelerator

An intensive people strategy accelerator for founders struggling with the transition between pre-Series A and Series B.

People and Culture Accelerator

An intensive people strategy accelerator for founders struggling with the transition between pre-Series A and Series B.

About the Accelerator

Startups at pre-series A/series A are most vulnerable to people-related stresses. These are always costly, and very often fatal. In these stages, the startup has moved on from being a 'group of friends' but hasn't yet become a large, well-resourced machine with clear processes and SOPs. Founders in these stages particularly find themselves overstretched between pushing behind growth and managing operations. The startup faces a tension between 'hustle' and 'SOPs', with no clear path to formalisation. The People & Culture Accelerator by CIIE.CO at IIM Ahmedabad is designed for pre-Series A/ series A startups struggling with challenges related to talent and people related processes. It includes designed and tested interventions across the spectrum of challenges faced by founders such as hiring, performance management, building culture, being a leader etc.

Accelerator Highlights

Being a founder is hard. In pursuit of steep startup scale up Founders This structure is difficult to build, especially when confronted with friction resulting from a startup’s growth (usually timed with funds raised) on all aspects of people management. All focus stays put on achieving the next growth ‘milestone’. Meanwhile, people related misses cost the startup money and momentum in the short and long term.

This accelerator aims to equip founders and leaders with the foundational knowledge, tools, frameworks, and approaches required when formalising a growing startup. The goal is to ensure that things do not “break” as the startup scales from a team of 15 to 30 and beyond, and that essential systems be designed and put in place before there are any big misses.

A thorough design thinking process rooted in support calls for over 50 growing startups across different tech-core and tech-enabled sectors, we have identified risk areas and good practices to mitigate the same by providing knowledge and structures for key people and culture related facets in startups, like hiring, compensation & benefits, performance management, building and maintaining culture, learning and development, retention and more.

What we Offer

Intensive 3 day residential bootcamp at IIMA

Kickoff with a 3-day residential bootcamp at the IIM campus in Ahmedabad. Includes masterclasses, workshops and networking sessions by CIIE.CO Partners, IIMA Professors and industry leaders. This is where we share the foundational knowledge required for all founders in their people management journey.

Bespoke consulting on HR and people issues

Two bespoke clinics to aid diagnosing barriers and enable problem solving for each participating startup. Based on their needs, startups can choose their problem statement or arrive at one in consultation with CIIE.CO experts.

Weekly check-ins and peer-led problem solving

12 weekly virtual townhalls for the entire cohort - where we leverage the do it together model of ideating the most effective approaches to unique challenges. These discussions will be curated so as to identify unique challenges and suggest solutions pre-emptively, using peer groups' experiences.

Cloud credits of $500k+ from over 35 services and tools

Avail benefits upward of $500k from a curated list of 35+ partners and CIIE.CO portfolio startups. Includes cloud (Google and AWS), collaboration (Notion, Canva, Synth), development tools (enableX, Exotel), Payments (PayTM, Cashfree, PayU, RazorPay, Stripe), Marketing (HubSpot, MoEngage), HR Management (Zoho, EquityList), Enterprise Infra, Coworking (WeWorks, 91Springboard) and Corporate Insurance.

Access to expert IIMA faculty for advice and coaching

The bootcamp will bring in expert faculty from IIMA. You will have the opportunity to engage with the best of academic minds over the tenure of the accelerator. You will also have access to cases co-authored by the IIMA faculty, focusing almost exclusively on the growth pains of startups.

Networks and insights from over 15+years of experience

Tap over 20 years of CIIE.CO's experience in incubating, accelerating, seeding and funding game-changing technology centric startups. We've seeded and accelerated 1000+ startups, mentored 5000+ startups. We manage USD 100+ mn in AUM across 3 funds, and have enabled USD 350+ mn in follow on funding for our startups

Focus Areas

    Finding the right talent, articulating advantages, hiring on a budget.

    Composites of a “fantastic” offer, structuring ESOPs, “total rewards”.

    Not losing momentum with attrition, discerning high value talent, exit processes.

    Role clarity, HR’s role, hiring planning estimation and connecting to strategy.

    Designing processes that work, setting goals and tracking goals, communicating for outcome.

    Role evolution through growth, leadership & culture, building strong teams, managing conflict and leadership skills with delegation, people skills, managing difficult conversations, crisis management.

    When to look for a co-founder, onboarding and building synergy with co-founders, equity splits.

    HR tech, AI, and managing COVID-time “WFH” behaviour lags.

Who can Apply

Innovators & Entrepreneurs

  • The People & Culture Accelerator is designed for founders of startups at pre-series A/series-A stages, ideally with a team size of up to 30 employees.

    If you are in the indicated growth stage and the above challenges are pressing pain points for you – we encourage you to apply.

    We invite founders from all sectors. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The People & Culture Accelerator is designed for founders of startups at pre-series A/series-A stages, ideally with a team size of up to 30 employees. We believe a team of up to 30 members would draw most from the accelerator's offerings. However, this is an indicative number; if you are in the indicated growth stage and the above challenges are pressing pain points for you - we encourage you to apply.

Founders, co-founders, CXOs of startups.

The program is designed to help founders understand and appreciate the nuances of people management, particularly for growing startups. The accelerator has 3 key components spread across 3 months: Over the 3 day Bootcamp on IIMA campus, you will take away foundational knowledge and problem solving skills related to recurring issues related to startup teams. The bootcamp will cover modules on burning problems faced by startups relating to hiring, compensation & benefits, attrition, growth and organisation scaling up, leadership and building & maintaining culture and other related themes. Over the weekly People Cafes and bespoke Clinics, we will solve real time problems faced by you in group and one-on-one settings respectively. The goal is to ensure that by the end of this accelerator, you are ready with a people strategy, HR systems and formalisation processes to make your scale up seamless.

At your growth stage, you are likely struggling with operations, processes and systems that directly impact the startup's progress. Things start to "break" as you scale from a team of 10 to 20, or 30. This is also a time when you are required to move from the informal hustle-like systems that have worked before, to formalised agile-SOP systems needed as you grow. Often, it is this lack of formalisation in people processes that adds to cost overruns, delays and angst.

The program will start with a 3-day residential bootcamp at CIIE.CO, IIM Ahmedabad, followed by 12 people cafes (peers and experts inclusive weekly townhall like virtual sessions), 2 virtual office hours - spread over 3 months after the bootcamp.

The bootcamp includes a range of HR-focused activities, such as workshops, keynote speeches by founders & practitioners, group discussions, case studies, toolkits, and hands-on exercises. It covers various topics related to HR, such as recruitment, talent management, performance evaluation, employee engagement, and HR metrics.

Applications open: July 4, 2023 to Aug 4, 2023
Dates of residential bootcamp: August 28, 2023 to August 30, 2023
Timeline for the 3-month accelerator: August 28, 2023 to December 1, 2023

Registered companies will undergo a screening process to ensure there is value fitment for startups.

The interested startups will register through the embedded online application form. Post screening, we will circle back with confirmation on whether there is an eligibility-fit, communicated via the email you provide in the application form. Only after receiving this mail should you confirm your participation by paying the accelerator participation fee. The last date to pay is August 4, 2023.

The accelerator fee is INR 91,000 for an all inclusive stay on the IIMA campus, and INR 79,000 without stay on IIM-A campus. Both models include food & course materials, but do not include outstation and local travel. Discounts available exclusively for CIIE.CO portfolio companies! A separate payment link will be provided with startups which have passed the fitment check.

The fee is non-refundable.

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