The Jungle Club!

Don’t know how many have or want to become a part of the consortium of start-ups or anything that has to do with any aspect of a start-up, which I call the Jungle Club.

The first thing that hits you once you take cautious strides towards the jungle is the buzz that surrounds it. All animals tend to cluster around that all so-significant event room where each one has their own agenda, with few not having the slightest of clues, as to why they are there, and are extremely happy being part of the buzz, possibly giving them a much needed chance to come out of the boring chores that they have got accustomed to doing on a day-to-day basis.

As you tend to draw close, you see few familiar faces, who have had the opportunity to become a part of such events before and who have got so used to being there, that it proves to be a home away from home.

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Finally, when you tend to enter the arena as an audience or a prospective pitcher per se, you realize that reality might be very different from what you actually perceive, be it outside or inside, depending on which side of the table you are actually sitting, whether you are a start-up co-founder looking for funds or an investor looking for an excellent investment opportunity which you might not want to miss upon.

By the time the event ends, you are filled with all kinds of feelings, including nostalgia from your previous pitch or networking events and a hope to get the much needed attention from an investor, which you might not have been able to achieve this time round.

And then you go back to doing what you are supposed to do. After all, the business about doing business is business itself. Isnt’t it?

Source for Image: http://www.contactvirginmedia.com/virgin-media-business/

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The Healthcare Dream!

It’s not very often when you get up in the middle of the night to figure out that you have a swollen foot. Somehow, you don’t know what to do, whom to ask? And waking up your family members for no urgent reason as such doesn’t make sense.

But you gotta do something, for the fear of the same getting aggravated. You move out into your living room to deliberate on the possible options. Putting soframycin would make sense as a lay man, but the fear of the same having a disastrous reaction with the seemingly fungal infection going through your foot makes you take a pause.

You go to the likes of Google and try to find a possible solution for the same, only to be confused even more with the plethora of symptoms mentioned and the possible permutations and combinations.

What you end up realizing is that you need a medical practitioner to take care of the symptoms. You wish there was a medical friend, philosopher and guide, a medical resource available at the click of a button, whom you could call and possibly share a pic of your foot to be instructed about the immediate step to be taken and then a follow up the next morning.

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May be, if you were living in the 1990s, you wouldn’t even dare to bring such a thought in your mind and revert to exploring the option of waking up your family doctor, that is if you had one.

But today’s India is very different with the no. of MedTech solutions that tend to be sprouting up every single day of our lives with every new start-up idea taking the shape of a company in every nook and corner of the start-up hubs.

Telemedicine is no more a dream. The three key things related to healthcare sector in particular, be it accessibility, affordability or availability are being addressed for different conditions with customized solutions available for each one of them.

How wonderful it would be, when everything in the entire scheme of things in the healthcare sector, would be automated, ranging from appointment to availability of health records on a platform, from diagnosis being done by computers to medicines provided at door step by the pharmacies registered on the same platform.

Still, some work needs to be done when it comes to integrating the functionalities of every stakeholder and bringing them to a common platform, where a seamless and efficient interaction can take place between the patients and the doctors and pain points for both can be taken care of with the help of associated players (e.g. pharmacies and diagnostic centers).

The day is not far when the healthcare dream will be fulfilled with dedicated start-up individuals taking the onus on their shoulders to make this world a better place to live in. After all, this is what lies at the core of happy living, isn’t it?

Source for Image: http://www.conrisnurses.co.uk/

Doing what you Love?

It’s really heartening to see many batch mates of mine and otherwise as well, young folks plunging themselves into this wonderful and exciting arena of start ups, few forming their own ventures and others becoming a part of the ecosystem, joining the founders in their journey towards solving one or another issue that a modern consumer faces in today’s hectic style of living that all have got so accustomed to, thanks to the materialism which all of us tend to be running after, voluntarily or involuntarily, getting inspired from the rat race.

On one hand where it’s a real pleasure to witness the above, on the other, I cannot help but wonder what makes people to be drawn into this world of startups and entrepreneurship. Is it because of the extreme distress and dissatisfaction that they tend to face in their current jobs? Is it because they perceive a chance to make it big sometime in the near future and thus choose to join the bandwagon? Is it because that’s the in thing to do and coming from a generation that is into everything that’s in, how can one miss upon yet another in-thing? Is it because of the freedom and ability to decide upon one’s schedule? or Is it because of the thought of being able to make a difference?

Whatever it might be, the reality today is, that even students graduating from the likes of IITs and IIMs are either grabbing start up offers or preferably forming their own ventures in collaboration with their colleagues.

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No matter how successful one goes on to become, with success being gauged from the amount of VC capital pouring in, one aspect that is found to be lacking in nearly 99% (might be less 😉 ) of startups today is the ability to go from “zero to one“.

Though one gets to see innovations in the manner in which the start up is being run, yet more often than not, either they are carbon copies of the flourishing ones in Europe or America or are the same of the ones operating in the Indian ecosystem, primarily a meta-copy of our much aspired western neighbours.

This makes me wonder even more whether the choices that we are making is influenced for the love of success or for the love of what we actually want to do and might love doing. As is said, “chadte suraj ko sab salaam karte hain“, would just like to add, “kahin suraj itna na chadh jaye ki wo badalon mein aisa kho jaye ki koi use dekh bhi na paye aur fir wo khud se pooche, kaash!

Source for Image: http://smspunch.net/single-article-forum-post-3412.aspx

TGISUP: Thank God it is a Start-Up!

This one is indeed a futuristic post, indeed one of those which comes out of the blue and is depicting what we might come across in say 5-10 years down the line

Just Imagine:

The buzz word in today’s World is start-up. If you happen to be doing a start-up then you are considered to be a cool chap, waiting in line for your turn to become that billion dollar boy/girl. If we were to go by what media has depicted, the day is not so far when a start-up rookie would be valued more than a civil servant or a doctor/engineer in let’s say Bihar or UP and going by the ever so prevalent dowry norms in such states, a start-up boy’s valuation would come no less than Rs. 1.5 crore; enough for the father-in-law to become that angel investor for the couple.

After all, parents want the best for their daughters and the best is a guy who is about to hit the jackpot courtesy him being doing or having joined a start-up and has plethora of ESOPs or a share of equity. Though these pieces of paper might not hold any value at the moment, yet the immense amount of potential that can be seen by the investors and other market players might be enough for the guy to bring about the wonderful valuation when it comes to getting married to a girl, more importantly a stinking rich father-in-law.

I wonder whether parents, instead of encouraging their folks to go for higher education would ask them to drop-out of schools or colleges and ask them to get on to the entrepreneur bandwagon. The demand from parents’ end would still remain the same: precisely to do something which will make them feel proud about their son/daughter.

Probably the norms in the society will be governed by what the entrepreneurs would speak when invited on different platforms, be it a motivational session in any college/school or be it an invitation floated by the administration struggling to find answers to the perennial issues/problems that have become a talking point of every political manifesto.images

On every nook and corner of the lanes and by-lanes of Kolkata, the thing that would be discussed would be “who funded whom” rather than the likes of Rabindranath Tagore and the prevalent communist agenda. The entrepreneur would be the boss and would rule every little aspect of our society.

Whether this would be a reality, probably no; but whether more and more entrepreneurs would hit the road; in all possibilities yes.

It is a fact that money chases money; similar to investors chasing other investors’ investments and so does an entrepreneur who wants to end up doing what is in vogue rather than focusing on that one issue they feel really passionate about to find a solution for.

Yes, loha garam hai! Yes, there is enough money and takers for good ideas! Yes, there is more possibility of getting funded! But trust me, it’s not so easy. What leads to one becoming an overnight billionaire is the hard work and motivation coupled with patience that goes behind giving in your 110% every day for a period of not less than 3-4 years for most entrepreneurs.

For all those who want to end up choosing the path of entrepreneurship, figure out that one particular problem or issue that you would be passionate enough to provide a solution for. And thereafter go for it, without giving it a second thought. The investors and the success will soon follow if not in the first instance then surely in subsequent ones.

Source for Image: http://www.igyaan.in/98125/10-apps-startup-download/

Connecto! Journey of a Start-Up

Every start up has its own share of fun and challenges. And so does, Connecto. If you are wondering, how it might have all begun, it was an idea and a desire to satisfy a need that made the founders of Connecto embark on this wonderful start-up journey.

A need that we all as consumers want to be satisfied, when it comes to website browsing and a need which makes us feel like being catered to by the very owners of the website, be it an e-commerce one or a blog.

The founders were quick to realize the gap in the services that needed to be filled and they went on to develop this wonderful customer engagement tool which allows the website owners to engage their customers in a more meaningful manner, sending customized messages, offering them to fill survey or feedback forms or even request for a call back.

Initially, it was difficult to convince the website owners about the effectiveness of the tool. With the belief that the founders had in their tool and in order to instill the same kind of belief among the website owners, the founders decided to offer this tool free for a month.

The proposition put forward by the IITian founders was that only if the website owner was convinced of the tool and only if the tool helped them get better conversions and ROI on their sites, would they discuss the terms and conditions of the tool.

It didn’t take long for the website owners to realize the power of this wonderful tool. Since then, the founders have received considerable acceptance for their tool.

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Those who have used it want to continue doing the same and those who haven’t been lucky enough to get a taste of the same, are eagerly looking forward to receiving the wonderful service provided by this wonderful tool.

Yes, the start-up has had its own set backs. Going around convincing the owners wasn’t easy. Yet, the founders stuck to their beliefs. Initially it was perplexing for the founders as to why the website owners weren’t able to understand the value addition that this tool brought along with itself.

The founders decided to change their approach and decided that they would offer their tool for free in order to overcome the barrier presented by the mindset of the website owners and a rigid approach towards conducting business.

What followed was extremely pleasing to see. The website owners backed by the wonderful results witnessed by them concerning their conversion rate and ROI, became open to the possibility of Connecto doing wonders for them.

Today, as we look back on the journey of this wonderful start-up, it has been a tremendous learning and eye-opening experience for the team.

What lies ahead are exciting times! With an intention to meet needs of the consumers and with an intention to partner the website owners and the various businesses around the World in their journey of growth and success, Connecto is all geared up to keep innovating and keep evolving their product/tool at the same time developing new ones.

Source for Image: http://www.inqbation.com/lean-startup-starting-a-business-in-reverse-order/

VC!

There can be various full forms of this two letter word. For some, it might denote Voice Chat; but for those who are really interested in the commercial things of life and are into hard core entrepreneurial start ups, these letters seem more important than any other what so ever.

It can mean the whole World for them. In all senses of the word, it can be really instrumental in those make or break years of an individual. Yes, I am talking about none other than the Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors.

For a start up, it can mean an opportunity to survive and make it to the IPO one day. It can also mean that the initial bearers of the entrepreneurial flag will not let their company starve due to lack of funds, which come in plenty once the VCs and the like agree to fund the idea.

And as you know that every good thing comes in small packages, so it is with these Angels, especially in the Indian context. First of all, there are not many such Angels around. Secondly, the kind of terms and conditions these investors put forward are at times exploitative and put forth in an aggressive manner, not at all in coherence with the liking of the founders and the core members of the company.

Only some among the sixty or so in India qualify to become the real Angels for the start-ups. As a result, the focus shifts to family and friends who end up supplying the kind of funds needed for the same.

One cannot but imagine the kind of stress and pressure one goes through. Only a person having gone through the whole grilling process is able to appreciate the state of mind one tends to be in during this struggle phase.

If you are wondering why I am suddenly talking about start-ups and VCs is because one of my very dear friends is a founder member of one such start-up and I really appreciate the kind of effort entrepreneurs put in with an ambition to make it real big one day.

With immense amount of stress that they end up working in, coupled with the expectations that family members have of them is enough to drive one crazy, especially if one is in in e-Commerce.

You might call it bias, you might call it selfishness, but I sincerely want to be selfish for my friend and want to see him make it big one day. On this note I would like to wish him all the very best for his venture and would like to salute his efforts and positive energy that he never fails to demonstrate whether it be day or night.

Source for Image: http://www.bundlebaazi.com/