Karthik RB Aamanchi from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, is looking for an investor. At a five-star hotel in Delhi, the young engineer moves from table to table, explaining to 12 investors why he needs to urgently raise Rs 20 crore to test and execute his startup’s first order from Krishnapatnam Port. His venture Aarshadhaatu makes nanocopper using a secret herbal mix, a patented process that investors exclaim could be “magical”.

His presentation, honed by months of mentorship at an accelerator, is detailed and smooth, listing long-term revenue projections and competitive advantage: the organic coating can prevent ships from corrosion and fouling.

The pitch’s effect on the manager of a private equity fund run by a conglomerate is immediate. After a 10-minute chat, he asks for the startup’s valuation. “The product (nano-copper) is disruptive. It is something you wouldn’t have heard of,” the fund manager tells ET Magazine later, asking not to be named.

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