Second cohort of the Spark project is released by Sequoia Capital India & SE Asia

Second cohort of the Spark project is released by Sequoia Capital India & SE Asia
A $100,000 equity-free funding and mentoring programme called the Sequoia Spark Fellowship has been made available to more women entrepreneurs by prestigious venture capital firm Sequoia India and Southeast Asia.
The second batch comprises 12 female founders who are looking to solve problems across sectors and industries, including climate tech, health-tech, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Web 3.0, consumer internet and direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands, it said in a statement.
Eight of the 12 founders are from India and four from Southeast Asia. Some of the Indian companies include Zerocircle, which is helping brands replace single-use plastics; Hoop, a wellness platform for young Indians; and Plodo, which helps digital-first brands launch operations in India.
According to Sequoia India, the first batch of Spark, which comprised a cohort of 15 companies and 20 female founders have gone on to raise follow-on institutional funding totalling $51 million after the programme. This also includes one exit, which was acquired by Wipro.
“We are thrilled about the success of the first cohort and incredibly excited about the potential of the Spark 02 founders. The Sequoia Spark fellowship program is born out of the desire and commitment to increase the number of female founders in the region and play a role in enabling the early stages of their journey, especially when access is such a challenge,” said Sakshi Chopra, managing director, Sequoia India.
Spark founders receive one-on-one mentoring from top Sequoia India and Southeast Asia investment advisors as well as founders in Sequoia's portfolio throughout the programme. Venture capital companies have started programmes recently to assist female entrepreneurs in growing their businesses. Domestic venture capital firm Kalaari Capital introduced CXXO in 2021, setting aside $10 million (about Rs 74 crore) yearly to invest in firms with female entrepreneurs who are important decision-makers.