With entrepreneurs in Mumbai and Pune discussing software products versus services, Kolkata seeing IT insights, Delhi interacting with the Morpheus guys and Bangalore having a thought-provoking talk by IIM-B faculty, Startup Saturday is surely becoming a phenomenon
If you plan to visit an entrepreneur on a Saturday, make sure it’s
not the second Saturday of the month because that particular sub-human species is to be found at a gathering called Startup Saturday. Its flag has been planted in seven cities and here is a roundup on five of them.
Mumbai decided to pursue a topic quite close to its heart — Jugaadu entrepreneurs. It targeted people who have ventured right from the grassroots by starting their workshops, factories, galas or work even from their chawls. The idea was to highlight that genre of entrepreneurs whose ‘offline’ businesses are never mentioned by today’s media and not considered equally cool by the younger generation.
The first half of the session had showcases by Sandeep Jain, the founder of Aadish International Machines and Omprakash Mantry of Century Inks. Both these entrepreneurs run their own unique printing ventures that cater to a very specific niche. Sandeep on one hand provides printing solution on any surface apart from paper, Omprakash manufactures printing products that can be used to mark clothes while processing. Both the ventures were laser-focused and knew their target markets.
The meetup was graced by Prof. Victor Manickam, a marketing research analyst and a celebrity in the Mumbai circles, who gave a practical and eye-opening lecture on the myths people carry while venturing and how it results into a startup failure.
The last part of the session had Amol Mestry from Amol Houseware who showcased his latest innovation, the Nano Kitchen from amongst many.
Another pitch was given by Gayatri Hegde and Ramya Raghuram who are trying to organize the Kabadiwalas for a proper waste-management solution for metros.
Overall the session was quite unique and exciting, with high energy levels in the networking session.
Pune was an open house discussion on “Software products V/s services” which was a great discussion well received. Shirish Deodhar, author of “From entrepreneurs to Leaders’ (on the same subject) brought out several moot points and advised that Indian startups shouldn’t crib much about products and services as long as they are making some good money.
Kolkata started off with a very insightful session on “IT Law”. It particularly emphasized on how an early stage startup can strategize on minimizing risk and maximizing growth. Shannon Jhunjhunwala, a New York state attorney with extensive experience in legal aspects of outsourcing, IT law and eCommerce law shared valuable insights on how IT services and web-based businesses can cater to the Western markets. Some of the topics addressed were:
• Creating a viable business and its growth plan
• Drafting agreements that protect your interests and limit your liability
• Protecting your IP domestically and internationally
• Personnel policies relating to non-competes and confidentiality
Sumit Datta presented Forums.com - a single point platform to create, share and propagate your thoughts and critiques. A very lively open house followed with the entrepreneurs engaging in interesting questions and business pitches.
Open house, dear readers is a recent concept at a Startup Saturday and involves the audience running the show on a particular topic. The audience at the events are not only the consumers but extremely capable individuals on the intellectual plane to equally deliver insights on any topic pertaining to entrepreneurship.
After a mention in TechCrunch.com last month, Delhi saw a record number of registrations. There was a product demo of RadBox and insights on online video market and technology by Aditya Sahay. Sameer and Nandini from The Morpheus gave an inspiring talk sharing their story of Madhouse Media, quoting several insightful anecdotes - from taking on entrepreneurship accidentally to working long hours, maverick sales strategies, blind faith, getting acquired and following your bliss.
Delhi had an Open House format this time after its huge success in Mumbai and Kolkata before. Several entrepreneurs asked questions to resolve some of their business challenges.
Bangalore started with a demo by ReachAccountant.com which helps businesses keep their accounts in place through their online application. It was followed by a thought-provoking talk by Prof Suresh Bhagawatula, a visiting faculty at IIM-B and a researcher on entrepreneurship. He shared insights on how businesses are formed not in a planned manner but often through exploring new opportunities through multiple statistics and examples that most of the successful entrepreneurs just followed the opportunities without a big plan in mind; and struck success. His clear message was - don’t spend too much time on business planning, instead go out there and do it, to be successful. The energetic talk elicited a chain of questions keeping the tempo high in the room. A set of startups gave their lightening pitches using the 5 quick minutes to present their ideas.
Freeman Murray talked about Jaaga, a creative place for entrepreneurs to bootstrap their ideas; Manish spoke about Ghoshti and Satish presented his company Cybrilla Technologies. Overall it was a high energy evening with loads of learning to take back.
Summing up, Startup Saturday promises to kick start your thoughts in directions hitherto unexplored; it connects you to passionate individuals with probably nothing more than an idea. But an idea sirjee is a powerful force, once planted it grows-–it takes you and your country to heights that reason alone cannot fathom…
Startup Saturday is an initiative by HeadStart to provide entrepreneurs in each city with a monthly community driven forum that is structured in agenda but open in discussions. A Startup Saturday provides a forum for entrepreneurs to discuss, present, network and learn from peers, prospective customers, adopters, partners and investors. Currently SSs are held in Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata, and Mumbai, on the second saturday of every month. http://headstart.in/
Inputs from Amit (Bangalore), Ritesh (Delhi), Arpit (Pune), Mitesh (Kolkata) and Saptarshi (Mumbai)
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