Utsav Somani, a prominent figure in the Indian startup ecosystem and former head of AngelList India, has announced that he has secured $2 million in funding for his latest venture, Offline. The purpose of this new platform is to bring together the most successful Indian startup founders and provide them with a community where they can upskill, connect, and address the challenges they face in their entrepreneurial journey.
Utsav Somani has raised $2 million for his new venture, Offline, which aims to create an exclusive community for top Indian startup founders. Offline provides a specialized networking platform where founders can connect, upskill, and address the challenges they face. The platform operates on a selective membership model, ensuring that only the most exceptional founders are accepted. With support from executives, founders, and venture capital firms, Offline has the potential to become a leading community for India’s tech elite.
An Untapped Community for Indian Startup Founders
While paid communities for established business owners have been prevalent in India, the startup sphere has been lacking a similar space until now. Somani, who has worked with more than 150 startups as an investor, recognized this need for a specialized networking platform. With Offline, he aims to bridge this gap and provide startup founders with a dedicated community.
Offline operates on an exclusive, invitation-only model. To even apply for membership, founders must meet specific criteria, such as raising $5 million in funding, generating $5 million in revenue, or achieving a $10 million exit in the past. However, meeting these prerequisites does not guarantee acceptance into the community. Candidates undergo a rigorous interview process and final selections are made by a Membership Advisory Committee, ensuring that only the most exceptional founders are part of Offline.
A Unique Networking Experience
Upon becoming a member, founders are assigned to small groups called “pods,” consisting of 6-8 peers. These pods form the basis for monthly meetings dubbed “off-the-record.” In these sessions, executive coaches provide valuable insights and solutions to members, drawing inspiration from the Mochary Method and guided by a playbook.
Offline also offers various social events and online networking opportunities for members to connect and seek advice. However, privacy and confidentiality are of utmost importance in the community, with all members required to sign a strict privacy agreement.
Offline’s goal is to include only the top 10% of India’s tech founders, focusing on quality over quantity. Rather than aiming for rapid growth, the platform aims to have a couple of hundred members in its early years.
Investors Backing Offline
Offline has already garnered support from prominent executives and founders, including those from Groww, Razorpay, Polygon, CoinDCX, UltraHuman, Park+, M2P, Fashinza, and Xiaomi. Additionally, venture capital firms such as Peak XV Partners, Better Capital, DeVC, Huddle, and Riverwalk Ventures have invested in the platform.
Some of these investors may also become early customers and help promote Offline within their own networks, further expanding its reach.
Although Offline is a unique concept for Indian startup founders, similar platforms already exist in the United States, such as Hampton by Sam Parr and Chief, which caters specifically to women executives. Somani believes that in a world overwhelmed by noise, there is a huge potential for a focused community like Offline.
While India is the primary target market for Offline, the platform has plans to expand to Singapore and Dubai in the future. The application window for membership is now open, signaling the beginning of what could become a game-changing community for Indian startup founders.