Morpheus is the Greek God of Dreams. And Dreams never cease!
The Morpheus was started without any set agenda. It was simply for the joy of growing ourselves by working with smart young entrepreneurs & contributing to the eco-system. Today, The Morpheus is a 6 year old project, that is made up of a strong community of 160+ entrepreneurs called the morpheusgang, who provide non-stop support to each other. Nandini, Sameer and a bunch of good folks have been taking care of the morpheus operations.
The following is an announcement, account of our evolution as people working towards creating a community of good people who want to build, create and be happy.
The journey so far
6 years back in 2008, We (Nandini & Sameer) were at serious crossroads of our professional lives. Our first startup Madhouse was acquired by Seventymm and after spending the required time at Seventymm we had decided to move on. Now, on one hand there were opportunities to launch our next startup with committed seed funding or take on “senior exec” positions with high status / fat salaries. On the other hand we had been spending some time with fresh startup founders. These young founders had amazing amount of passion & energy but lacked the startup experience / network. We would meet them over coffee, listen to what was happening at their startup and engage in an exchange of ideas. We noticed that our levels of happiness were super high during all such meetings and while the founders were learning from us, we were getting an opportunity to learn from all the startups.
A thought popped up, “It will be great if we can just do this for all our life. Work with one startup a day and 5 startups a week. In about 6 months these startups will become independent and we can move ahead to engage with the next set of startups. In return for the engagement we can take small equity”. That thought was truly an inspiration & we just followed the inspiration. There was enough saving from the Seventymm stint to last for 1-2 years, so we went ahead and started working with super young startups for just equity (the first batch included Commonfloor). In a few months this effort was formalized and given a name “The Morpheus – Startup Accelerator”.
We have spent the 6 most happy & fruitful years of our lives at The Morpheus, working with the morpheus gang, a truly amazing community of 160+ founders. We have also been fortunate to have loads of good friends around The Morpheus. We feel truly blessed for being a part of the morpheus gang and the Indian startup eco system.
The Morpheus in numbers
Infographic – PR
Evolving for the future
Evolution is the cause of all progress in the Universe. Just as everything in nature evolves, morpheus & morpheus gang are also evolving. In recent times we have deeply felt the need to accelerate our own evolution and the morpheus team has been receiving many inspirations towards that direction.
6 years ago when morpheus was started, startup ecosystem in India was in its infancy. The support available for fresh / young startup founders was severely lacking. So one of the big needs of the hour then was to provide support to companies in 0-2 years of age.
Morpheus’ clear purpose in the beginning was to provide dedicated support to startups in the portfolio during the first 2 years.
Over the last 3+ years the startup ecosystem of India has grown at a very rapid pace and become a lot better than what it was 6 years ago.
Founders these days are a lot more mature when they get started. Also a 0-2 year old startup has many good sources of support / advice & money. Lots of accelerators, incubators , hackathons, events, demo pitches, blogs, videos and a lot more.
This observation led us to realize that the basic need for which our accelerator program was designed, is no longer a big need for the young startups in the indian ecosystem.
All these years, we have also been working quite actively with our 2-5 year old companies in the morpheus gang. We have also been spending time with many other friendly companies of various stages outside of the morpheus gang.
Through the combined experience of last the 10 years (6 years at morpheus, 1 year at seventymm and 3 years at madhouse) we, at the morpheus, have become aware of many other serious and tough problems that need to be solved at the ecosystem level so that Indian startups can go to the next level and way beyond.
We have been trying to work on these issues alongside the accelerator program without as much progress as we would have liked to make
The Big Question?
Now this was our question to ourselves? Do we continue as it is or do we take these problems head on.
It was deja vu, we were back to the cross-roads that we were at 6 odd years ago. On one hand we are seen as the first and one of the best accelerators in India, we could continue to ride on that or we could go ahead raise a bigger fund and become a seed / VC fund. On the other hand there was this opportunity to take on the next level of challenges.
We have decided to take the “Red Pill” and make an attempt to evolve ourselves for the future. We are going to take a shot at tackling some of these next level problems for the present & future of the Indian Startup ecosystem. Will we succeed or not, only time will tell. But we are sure that the morpheus gang will give it a really good shot.
The new avatar of Morpheus
1. Supporting young / fresh startups
In the past:
Morpheus has followed this format : 4 months intensive engagement / 5 L INR investment and lifetime support
We are going to bring a new / fresh / better way of supporting young startups. In light of new approach the old one will fade way.
We will continue to work with young startups. We will not include batches of 4 months.
We will start engagement with a startup at a time when the startup and the morpheus is mutually ready, anytime of the year; for as long as our support is relevant for them.
2. Morpheus gang – the participative Community
In the past:
At morpheus we have been working on creating a community of entrepreneurs that helps each other evolve & progress, supports each other and grows with each other.
In the last 6 years, 160+ founders have come together to contribute to the community we call the morpheusgang and the belief is “you give to the universe without worrying about a direct return and the universe will surely give you what you truly need”
At morpheus we want to take this to the next level, by thinking up ways of ‘opening’ the community to other entrepreneurs who believe in a participative community, thus include more entrepreneurs, who can contribute to and draw from the morpheusgang.
3. Early Stage or Later Stage
In the past:
We have been focusing on people who are founders of companies from 0-2 years till date.
We have realised that founders in the 0-2 years stage have a lot of ready support available. (as detailed in a section above)
Also, our portfolio have now grown and are facing newer challenges, as we work along with them on these challenges, we realise that there is a lot to be addressed here.
Hence the widening of focus, while we work with a few selected early stage (0-2years) startups, we will be opening morpheus gang to companies in the next stages, 2-5 years / 5-10 years & across other categories.
4. Criteria of Success of a startup
In the past:
Here are the two most common questions which we have been asked: What is your criteria of success for a company in the morpheus portfolio? How many companies have been successful so far?
At morpheus we never had a good answer for these questions: Is it follow funding? Dont think so. Is it revenues? Not sure. Is it number of customer? Nope.
We have a clear answer for this question & the answer is “Happiness”.
If the founders of a company are truly happy (irrespective of funding / revenues / customers) we believe that is a success. Happy founders means happy teams, happy customers and many more happy people.
So if a company it worth 250 crores but the founders are unhappy, for us it is a failure. On the other hand if the company is just 1 person, struggling for 2 years but the founder is happy. Its a success.
New morpheus will put highest focus on “happiness” starting with the founders, going into the team and to the customers and add more happiness to the universe.
Morpheus is going NO WHERE
As humans, our dreams never cease! We are hopeless dreamers at the morpheus. And we ain’t going anywhere! The Morpheus, is only widening its focus, becoming more radical with its evolution, morphosis.
We have shared truthfully in this article what we know in our heads so far. Rest is still being figured out, as we get more clarity we will come back and let you guys know. Thanks to all for the love & support.