Hundreds of Entrepreneurs and aspirants attend Head Start’s Startup Saturday event every month across 6 locations in India. And to satisfy their Entrepreneurial hunger, Head start was back this March with yet another Start up Saturday, aptly themed around “Food and Beverages”.
Things were quite different this month as the regular headstarters got engaged hosting the annual startup event at Hyderabad. Apart from aspiring Head Starters managing the Mumbai show there were couple of new things that this post will try to summarize.
First things first: the theme:
Food and beverages is assumed to be an industry not many are now-a-days interested in and at times it is even thought to be a business where a frugal startup can’t survive. If you too had similar assumptions; this month’s Startup event had pretty good surprises in store. The showcase and talks highlighted Entrepreneurs who proved several times that it’s not industry that drives success but sheer passion and will.
The event started with Lightening pitches (LPs) and had Showcase & Talks segment in the second half. This was a small change in Agenda. If you are in Mumbai, the traffic and climate are the final ones to decide the agenda often. But the change was welcomed, as the LPs this month were very unique. Unique because the ideas driving them are not the ones you think of when you have an average Indian Customer in mind.
The Lightening Pitch session started with the first presentation on QuestionPapers.com, a startup by Entrepreneur and a regular HeadStart visitor Arun. Taking us down our memory lane he explained how students of any age rely on solving the previous year’s question papers as part of their preparations. Also how solving these, gives a confidence boost to students. The startup idea revolves around students-helping-students by digitizing QPs from various institutes. There were good number of questions and insights shared by the audience which definitely will help Arun.
Next on was a cool pitch by Trusha from ShareUrJoy.com. It was different because rather than talking just about her venture Trusha tried to knit the whole presentation around a story of 2 friends. Raih and Sid. The story concludes with a happy ending where Raih gets what he wants and Sid gifts what he should. Shareurjoy is claimed to be India’s first Gift registry portal and allows people to make their wish lists which can be fulfilled by their friends on special occasions.
After some B2C pitches we had a B2B. Saachi from FlexIdea presented – iPaperclip a new Tender management system that they have recently launched. It facilitates easier and clear transactions between Buyers and Sellers, at costs which are peanuts when compared to the cost of tenders. The application seemed much mature and had various features that a domain expert from this field could think of. As per the audience, it seems rather than SAAS a custom deployment for every client is better preferred in this area.
All the 3 pitches were great and so were the questions, doubts and help that audience raised after the session. The unique thing about these Lightening Pitches was that they are quite new and different to the Indian Market. Something of this sort has not been tried at a substantial scale. But never the less, that’s the reason why it has a substantial market. The promoters would have to adapt and tailor this to ensure good acceptance of course.
Next was the time for some solid entrepreneurial advice. The speakers this time were invited basis the theme “Food and Beverages”. The first talk was given by Mr Hari Kotian, owner of DPs restaurant followed by a talk from Mr Suketu, who started BrewCrafts Microbrewery to produce a business which Indians never even knew existed.
Hari described various incidents which any restaurant owner like him has to go through every day of his life. Right from local goons to nagging customers, Hari suggested this is something that one has to live with rather than try and fight. A good thought that he put through was, it is wrong to assume that such incidents happen in India and life would be much easier in other developed countries. He rather opined to try and adapt so that your venture can flourish. Hari also stressed upon the need to have a mentor. He mentioned how his training at Landmark helped him realize his true potential and look his business and life from a different angle altogether. Hari quoted various examples of his life which helped explain how a good understanding of the business and an adaptive mind can help an entrepreneur reach for the stars.
Next in was a talk from Suketu, the co-founder of BrewCrafts Microbrewing Pvt Ltd. He shared his story of how he went about quitting a well remunerating job in Singapore to return back to Pune and start a micro brewery. The audience seemed very charged while he was describing the way he had to convince the excise officers here in India, since there was no license of that sort available which Suketu applied for. He also denied to the assumption that Entrepreneurs do not get support from the state. Highlighting the examples of how he got the required license for his startup via the excise officers and how he was able to fight out the huge investments required, via the loan issued by State Bank of India. He opined that if you are ready to go forth and talk to the authorities; there is help available. After the talk it was quite clear that to give life to your dreams you require more will than wish. The whole environment was charged up post the two discussions.
Last but not the least, when we talk about Food and beverages in India, how can we forget Mithai? It’s definitely strange to understand that though there is very good demand for sweets, the market still is very scattered and fragmented. Branded Mithai as a concept has not been very popular in this country. Taking all these issues in mind HS showcased a sweet venture Mithaimate. Right from the famous Rosogullas to regional mithais that you might have never heard of, Mithaimate delivers it all. At your doorstep and at a cost which wont bitter your Mithai experience. The talk was very refreshing as Akhilesh the owner was frank and open to answer any questions the crowd was throwing upon. Not only that, he also shared some quick tips on getting good media coverage without having a separate PR department.
Finally it was great to have the appetizing knowledge being shared and definitely we look ahead with more hunger towards the next Startup Saturday. Also as more and more startup events conclude, I do see a very good synergy that’s been built up. Though we didn’t have an open house section separately this time, the energy level and interaction that the audience had in their discussions was something that kept the spirit going.
Looking forward to next month’s menu, while we all cook up more ideas to present!
About the Author – Himanshu Chanda is a business blogger and a regular visitor at the HeadStart Saturdays. Apart from the event he also shares his views on his business blog BizDharma.com