Startup Saturday Mumbai, July ’09: Finance Vertical:
Startup Saturday July, was the first SS after last month’s mega event, Headstart Summer 2009. Aditya Mishra, Co-Founder and director of the Headstart Network Foundation gave a brief introduction about Headstart, before the event commenced. The topic for this month’s SS was Finance, and we had some exciting startups/speakers present for the event.
The first Startup Showcase was of Paymate (http://paymate.co.in), which is an innovative mobile payment platform. Ajay Adiseshann, Founder and Managing Director of Paymate, shared some interesting insights with us. He said that the basic motivation to offer a product or service, was to ‘kill someone’s pain’. The initial market research he did, was ask around in his friends and relatives about the viability of Mobile Phones as a payment platform. The collective answer was that, yes, being as ubiquitous as it is, the mobile phone would be ideal as a payment platform of some sort. Another great insight that he shared with us, was about getting the first buy in. As a payment platform, he would have to deal with banks, some of them over a hundred years old, and all of them characteristically slow moving. He explained that in such a situation, only if you really believe in your product, will you manage to get a buy in.
After Ajay, Mr. Sanjeev Tamhane, an Industry veteran, with 25 years of varied experience across different sectors, took the podium to speak >about Opportunities in the FInance Sector. He gave the audience an overview of the different avenues available for an aspiring entrepreneur, in this vertical. He educated those present about opportunities in conventional areas of finance, such as asset management, project finance etc. as well as more unconventional areas, such as Carbon Credit training. He also spent considerable amount of time on answering audience questions, as also speaking about how we can leverage our tech-savvy, to build startups with a focus on the Finance-Technology interface.
The last talk of the evening was a Startup Showcase, with the Startup being Rupee Talk (http://www.rupeetalk.com). This portal is a one-of-its-kind financial portal in India, which aims to advise and facilitate Indian consumers in matters relating to personal finance. Satkam spoke about how, even as a professional, he had a keen entrepreneurial eye, always looking for opportunities to start up on his own. Satkam too spent a large part of the talk interacting with the audience. He carefully explained the processes his organization, and did not even shy away from actually telling the audience his operating margins etc. He said that the next few months are going to be crucial in Rupee talk’s life cycle as a startup, and we wish him all the very best for the same.
All in all, it was a great event, and all the speakers could ‘credit’ something valuable into the audiences’ minds.