As lazy as Lamakaan may look from the outside it has a hidden ability to turn abuzz in no time – part of her charm! And so happened on this fresh, nice, wintery, Saturday afternoon – 16 November 2013. It was a gathering of /and to know the story of CEO’s under the age of 25.
One of the surveys I came across says that the average age of an entrepreneur is 27. But if you know an entrepreneur, you know that by the age of 27 they at least had one failed venture to their credit. With their stories dating back to their school times.
Unlike the usual Startup Talks, which mostly happens with in a small group, this time it was big. As the RSVP’s on FB for the event was 75, I was anticipating a bigger crowd. But the turnout was pretty impressive – close to a 100. Not to forget the media attention and coverage the event earned.
The event started with Mrityunjay’s story – who now successfully runs Edukinect. His story begins at IIIT Hyderabad, where he got his interests into Robotics. An investor from Kanpur fueled his dream. He then developed and presented his defense surveillance robot to the STF. But he couldn’t see himself making much progress there. Hence, he got back to his studies, got into a job and then left for USA. However, the troubled entrepreneur couldn’t work for another’s Company, and hence returned to India in 2011. He soon started working on Edukinect. As it is a service based company it did not require major investment. But today having seen a growth of up to 400 %, with a turnover of around 8 crores, Mrutyunjay has a very optimistic goal of touching 100 Crore mark by 2020. His company has worked with 150 Engineering Colleges so far and is Microsoft’s biggest training partner in India. He wants to tell his story and inspire other entrepreneurs like him and believes that others should do the same.
Moving to Pallav’s story – who runs ‘Saddahaq’. Little did I know that Arnab Goswami, who dragged melodrama into the newsroom, could actually inspire people! Nevertheless, he inspired Pallav and thankfully for a positive reason. Pallav chose to do something about what is happening around him – thus Saddahaq. It’s a social activism portal which connects aam aadmi to the elite. There are other sites which voice out the social concerns, but they fade out soon. Saddahaq identifies this disconnect in the eco-system, and provides better platform. Basically marketing through FB, Twitter etc. The current team is 12 full time employees, 7 on the Tech side and 5 on the media side.
Next was Ravi Teja’s story - who runs Folktales.in. Ravi started early too – in the 3rd year of Engineering at IIT Chennai. He and his friends began with a web design services firm. His landmark achievement at that time was to convince his father, so that he could pursue entrepreneurship. With his friends he rented out a room (in a slum), and they began their operations. Initially, their clientele were IIT alumni themselves, but the story didn’t stretch far, as they drained out in a year. That’s when he learnt his biggest lesson – “choose your clients”. With nothing much at hand Ravi returned to Hyderabad and ventured into freelance web designing. This didn’t work in his favor. And then, it was time for Folktales.in. The basic idea – city based souvenirs, majorly, something for the tourists to take back. His first attempt was at Comic Con, wherein he took out Tangles and T shirts to the market with Hyderabad as the theme.
Next story, Yuvraj’s Story – who runs Sourcenxt. Sourcenxt has now reached a point of 35.7 lakh rupees in turnover, having trained 37556 students so far. To begin with, by his own words Yuvraj was not much into academics. What changed his life was an enrollment into IEEE, during his Engineering at VIT. This got him neck deep into robotics. He soon formed a company with 2 other friends. For the beginners they trained students in and around Vellore. They gradually shifted their base and are now in Hyderabad. At Sourcenxt, they provide trainings, workshops and also customize them as per the need. Having worked with all the top colleges of Hyderabad, they have now collaborated with Dirt9. Yuvraj believes that working with an MNC atleast for a year, helps in great experiential learning.
Moving on to Chinmay’s story – who runs Clap one. With a small team of 6 people, Chinmay and his friends will find you the clothes, which you found your favorite star wearing on screen. Chinmay started early too – with aftereamcet.com. This was supposed to help you search for a campus that meets your requirements. Later he moved on to selling customized holidays, bringing local vendors together. This proved to be tedious. And then came up Clapone.com. They have affiliated themselves with all the major e-commerce websites. They have gone places with the frequent progress they are making and were featured in New York Times 2 weeks ago.
Next in line was Jignesh’s Story – who runs Dirt9. The story begins at Gitam’s college, where 9 friends were inclined to leave a mark and hence – Dirt9. While in college, Jignesh came up with the idea of turning seniors into mentors helping the juniors in making projects and assignments. It was a game tough to play, but soon got into action. Laterally and gradually they got into making prize winning entries and representing India at NASA, UN, International Technology & climate leadership summits. The Solar car they made last summer made big news. Post his graduation, he worked for a year at Accenture, and obviously quit his job. They currently are a 16 member team and Jignesh believes that the team and its commitment is the key to success. Also, he admits that he talks people into joining his team.
Followed by Harmeet Singh’s story – who runs Servesy. Harmeet kept his story short and sweet and shared what his startup was all about. They majorly deal with providing timely housekeeping services. Making it more reliable, by promising not to charge if the service is not timely. Their business runs by charging the vendor, for whom they provide clientele.
The event was concluded by Subhash’s story - who runs Think Source. Though Subash’s intial experiential learning was from Nirmaan(an NGO), his entrepreneurial journey begins with Think Source. He and his cofounder Praveen registered their company in May. Think Source is majorly into market research and surveys. For large and medium institutions they provide market analysis and feasibility analysis. Another offering they have is new product research and product development. Not to forget, advertising, branding and loyalty programs they have to offer. He does not have any numbers or benchmarks to talk about as yet and majority of their funding is by boot-strapping.
Not to forget the guy behind the scenes and also compeering the event, Manoj Surya. Manoj has earned appreciation for organizing this and quite a few other events in the interest of entrepreneurs. Through ‘Startup talks’ he endeavors to help other entrepreneurs like him through their journey, the learning required and that can be availed.
That comes to the close of the event, which was pretty informative and packed with learning.