Time to Get Set and Go
Time to Get Set and Go. Great business stories start from a small idea. And fostering these small ideas and young entrepreneurs are the likes of Ramesh Loganathan and Murali Bukkapatnam who help in creating start-up friendly ecosystem in Hyderabad.
Great business stories start from a small idea. And fostering these small ideas and young entrepreneurs are the likes of Ramesh Loganathan and Murali Bukkapatnam who help in creating start-up friendly ecosystem in Hyderabad. Several initiatives like Incubators in educational institutions and Startup Saturdays are part of the ecosystem. One such event touted as India’s biggest Startups Festival by Minister of IT, Government of Telangana, KT Rama Rao, is the ongoing ‘August Fest’. Most interesting outcome of these events is that viable ideas have found “on the spot” funding from venture capital firms
The incubator facility in IIT-H will be expanded with an additional capacity of 30,000 sft being added by December this year. Plans are also afoot to have a huge incubator facility called the T-Hub in collaboration with IIT-H, Nalsar and the ISB which have already around 150 Start up ventures between them. Students and budding entrepreneurs will be mentored in technology, business and legal aspects by these institutions providing them expertise which in the normal course would take them many years to get
Ideas, innovation and risk taking ability are the new watch words for economic growth as the country is poised for a great leap forward in the area of new business and first generation entrepreneurs. Whether it is the 10,000 crore start up fund by the centre or the huge amounts earmarked for new ventures by state governments, the positive impact of the overall thrust on entrepreneurship will drive the country towards new paths of success. Nasscom predicts revenues worth 100 billion dollars by 2020 from technology backed initiatives, where start- up firms will clearly be the main drivers of the industry.
Hyderabad keen to go by the tag of the “Happening city” has been high on entrepreneurial energy contributing to about 15% of the new start ups in the country every year. The city that has seen a spurt in the number of start ups in the last couple of years with over 1500 new ventures, may well be on its way to being the start up capital of the country if the several plans to nurture the start up ecosystem are in place in the near future.
Violet street.com is a social fashion e-commerce portal which is a perfect blend of technology, fashion, social media and business. An idea which helps people shop “socially” with techno savvy youngsters and fashion graduates getting together resulted in an online shopping portal. The site which has a display of products ranging from clothing, foot wear and accessories allows you to select the items that you like, create a look with things selected from different stores and get instant feedback from friends before you buy the product online. Zify.co is an app that lets anyone offer ride sharing services. It helps the way you commute by helping you locate cars and passengers near you. It is in short a platform linking car owners, drivers and passengers. Both these Hyderabad based start-ups found funding to the tune of 10 lakhs each from five investors at the Startup-Smash up, an event organised by ‘The Indus Entrepreneurs’ (TiE) in Hyderabad in May this year.
Violet Street and Zify are just a few of the many firms that will soon dot the horizon with innovative ideas that make life easier for the users and the revenue coming in. This is a favoured option for those who prefer starting their own businesses to a regular job.
Ramesh Loganathan, Progress Software, Managing Director & Centre Head and a key person in the startup ecosystem of Hyderabad is very optimistic about the number of youngsters evincing a keen interest in setting up technology based enterprises. The main force behind ‘Startup Saturdays,’ a monthly meet held on the second saturday of every month to provide a networking platform for budding technology entrepreneurs, he sees more people coming up with very new and innovative technologies at these meetings. “The number of people coming over to our Saturday meets has increased considerably. We began this initiative about six years ago where about 30-40 people attended these sessions. Today we have around 80-100 people coming over with fresh ideas and concepts” he says.
The Saturday meets usually have a theme on which there is a talk by an expert as well as an interaction with participants pitching their product. “We look at their pitches and ask them different questions about their work and it is our questions that set them mulling over solutions. We tell these people not to look for solutions at our meet. Instead they should look for questions that will direct them towards the solution” he adds. On the organising council of IIT (H) and BITS Hyderabad which have incubators inherent to the Startup ecosystem, Ramesh is also organising the August fest which has art and entrepreneurship as its theme. Today is the last day of the two-day event, which will have TED style talks by experts from art and the industry livening up the proceedings in a city buzzing with entrepreneurial activity and an ecosystem driven by motivated and self driven youngsters.
The incubator facility in IIT-H will be expanded with an additional capacity of 30,000 sft being added by December this year. Plans are also afoot to have a huge incubator facility called the T-Hub in collaboration with IIT-H, Nalsar and the ISB which have already around 150 Start up ventures between them. Students and budding entrepreneurs will be mentored in technology, business and legal aspects by these institutions providing them expertise which in the normal course would take them many years to get. That most ideas related to technology did not come from the big firms but were developed in the small garages and makeshift workplaces is common knowledge and something that has not escaped industry leaders. These simple ideas gain value after public acceptance. It is precisely this reason that prompted Telangana IT minister KT Rama Rao to announce the T – Hub in his IT policy as a place that will nurture young start ups and give them a head start over other such enterprises in the country.
The incubator at the BITS Hyderabad campus which is a year old has around 11 start ups who have the advantage of being guided by BITS faculty as well as BITS alumni who are experts in different technologies. “The incubator here like the other incubators provides shared office and laboratory facilities, where first generation entrepreneurs with innovative ideas but not enough seed capital get the benefit of resources, idea validation, funding opportunities and strategic focus that are required for the start ups to survive in the long term. We are particularly proud that two of our faculty members have started their own companies and two or three other projects are in the pipeline,” says Surya Rao, Managing Director of the Incubation centre. While the Incubator is in the process of securing seed funds, the centre has been able to procure funding to the tune of 50 lakhs each to three of its members from government funding schemes. To leverage contacts, provide guidance required in commercialisation of the product and to identify original high technology products that cannot be replicated are some of the issues that are dealt with in incubators which are therefore a boon to many students, researchers, faculty members and even those who chuck plum assignments to be on their own according to him.
TiE hosts events at regular intervals and has its own incubation centre in Hyderabad with four enthusiasts working their way towards establishing new and successful business models. ‘Hyderabad Angels’ with 58 members is an off shoot of TIE started as a non –profit company to introduce individual angel investors to potential high growth companies. ‘Hyderabad Angels’ receives about 80 business plans each month from entrepreneurs looking for equity investments to grow their businesses. This new initiative stands as a witness to a growing breed of entrepreneurs eager to chart successes like those of snap deal, Flip kart and many others. Murali Bukkapatnam, the current president of TiE Hyderabad and co-founder of Getdomestichelp.com feels that the atmosphere at the centre and both the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh is very encouraging for the entrepreneurial ecosystem that is infused with a new energy and enthusiasm. With technology as a driver the existing market scenario holds great promise.
“The entire landscape of the Indian start up system will change in the next few years and Hyderabad will play a pivotal role in this revolution. We have the entrepreneurial zeal and as we get ready with the largest ecosystem in the country, we will emerge as key players,” he says. The only note of caution that industry observers sound out is the great hurry that the young have in emulating success stories like flip kart which had to wait for a decade to make its phenomenal presence felt. It is this hurry to achieve that may result in many startups fading out before long. On the whole, however, the atmosphere is vibrant with industry leaders, Incubators, accelerators and angel brokers providing a great platform for start ups to find seed funding, mentoring, connecting to co-founders, resources and collaboration with other start-ups. In the new scheme of things technology will drive the world and the dreams of many budding entrepreneurs.