A Step towards a betterment Z Nation Lab at Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) Hyderabad

Governments of India and the United States of America announced the eighth annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad on 28-30 November 2017.  The summit was adorned by Shri Narendra Modi, Prime minister of India and Ivanka Trump, Advisor to President of The US, who also headlined the US delegation to the summit. GES is the preeminent annual entrepreneurship gathering that convenes emerging entrepreneurs, investors and supporters from around the world.

The theme of this year’s GES was Women First, Prosperity for All, and it focused on supporting women entrepreneurs and their role in fostering economic growth globally. GES 2017 has created an environment that empowers innovators, particularly women, to take their ideas to the next level. Through two and a half days of networking, mentoring, and workshops, GES empowers entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas, build partnerships, secure funding, innovate, and find their target customers; creating new goods and services that will transform societies.

The 3 days of GES inspired thousands of entrepreneurs, of which 53% were women, around the world to create and search for solutions, and in the process pave the way for innovation for a better future. The event generated terrific energy with 53 sessions, over 250 speakers, super-investor/entrepreneur interactions.

GES’17 served as a vital link between the two governments and the private sector and convened global participants to showcase projects, exchange ideas, and champion new opportunities for investment.  This year is the first time GES was hosted in a South Asian country, and the event has highlighted India’s enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurship. Hyderabad, capital of Telangana state and the home to T-Hub, India’s largest startup incubator, has a robust startup ecosystem, the presence of major U.S. tech firms, and supportive government policies in place to facilitate emerging entrepreneurs.

The participants for this year GES had representation from every region of the world. Investors and representatives from organizations that support entrepreneurs were hand-picked to catalyze investment, networking, mentoring and hands-on activities. There was special emphasis on women entrepreneurs and the role they play in making communities more prosperous and secure through enterprise. There were a lot of interesting topics discussed at GES 2017, but what stood out most is the interest in India’s growth potential amongst the delegates for Education, Healthcare, Exports, New Age Technologies – Drone,  Onset of the Smart Devices Era,  Internet of Things (IoT), and Rise of the Renewables — Electric Vehicles

We At Z Nation Lab also got an opportunity to announce how we have entered into a consortium with Naya Ventures and BootUP Ventures to accelerate and fund startups in Telangana. Dallas based Venture Capital firm Naya Ventures, BootUP Ventures: A Silicon Valley Accelerator and Z Nation Lab – a startup accelerator in India have formed a consortium partnership to accelerate and fund technology startups from India. The Consortium backed by the Telangana Government is inviting startups from the state to apply for their Acceleration Program. Startups applying for the program will be first selected for a one-week bootcamp in India where they will be evaluated by experts from India and Silicon Valley on their product market fit, go to market strategy and ability to scale up globally. Each participant will get an opportunity to pitch their product and interact with the mentors and investors from across the globe. From the participants, 15 startups will then be picked up for the Bootcamp program in Silicon Valley, USA. The Selected startups will receive the following benefits during the program.

  • Mentorship and guidance for a week at BootUP campus in Silicon Valley, USA
  • Scale-up advice from subject matter experts and tech executives in Silicon Valley
  • Opportunity to pitch to Investors in Silicon Valley and Dallas
  • Startups graduating from the Bootcamp program in the USA will receive a seed funding of USD 50K to 100K from the Acceleration Fund led by Naya Ventures and supported by BootUP Ventures and Z Nation Lab
  • Potential credits by Amazon web services, Paytm, Microsoft, IBM Watson, Send Grid, Mail Chimp, Google, etc.
  • Follow on investment offers from Naya Ventures Growth fund and its consortium partners.

ZNL will bring in experience, mentors, and connections for startups to lean in and take advantage of opportunities, fast. With BootUP and Naya Ventures joining us, we will be able to do all that on a bigger scale and provide much wider connections across the globe.

We had a great experience at GES 2017. Entrepreneurship is essential to a thriving economy. It’s a good sign that India has taken a step forward in promoting entrepreneurship in this rapidly growing economy. I believe that more people will be encouraged by the initiatives taken by the government of India and become successful entrepreneurs. I personally came out of this, enriched and invigorated. Some thoughts on and for us women entrepreneurs that I brought back with me, and which encouraged me further:

It is very important that women support other women. It’s the only way ahead in terms of our own efforts – Kristina Davison, Co-Founder & MD iEurope Capital

Women’s labor force participation needs to be formalized so that it can contribute to the economy to its full potential – Manish Sabharwal, Chairman TeamLease

Women empowerment should be pursued like an agenda, especially in rural India. When one woman does well, a generation of inspired young women gets created Dipali Goenka, CEO & JMD Welspun Group

And something for the other half to ponder over as well:

As men, we need to recognize barriers women face – like access to credit, the digital divide & certain stigmas that lock them out of the marketplace USAID Mark Green

Relationships formed at past GES Summits have transcended industries and sectors and transformed ideas into enterprises, I would expect nothing less coming out of this.

Z Nation Lab at StartUp Asia Berlin Roadshow

This year, the second edition of StartUp Asia Berlin Roadshow (SUAB) took place from October 18 – 29, 2017 with an aim to foster deeper connections between the four startup hubs Berlin, Bangalore, Manila, and Jakarta. (SUAB) is a German Start-up platform, set up by Berlin’s Ministry of Economic Affairs in collaboration with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and is supported by German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

A delegation of 25 startup ecosystem players – ten from Berlin, and five from each partner city of Indonesia, India, and the Philippines traveled together to Manila, Jakarta, and Bangalore. I was among one of the delegates from India and had an amazing opportunity to represent Z Nation Lab in the other ecosystems of Berlin, Manila & Jakarta.

It was a mixed group of innovators with a lot of bright ideas from a very different cultural and professional backgrounds. Ten days full of experience & inspiration, personal exchange of knowledge and ideas, establish partnerships and insights into the works of other striving ecosystems resulting into an incredible group chemistry among all the international delegates.

StartUp Asia Berlin Roadshow

Manila was the first Roadshow stop, Celeste Eden M. Rondario, from Impact Hub was the Hub Manager for Manila. Delegates began their time in the Philippines by attending one of the largest event in southeast Asia – ASEAN’s Slingshot at Philippine International Convention Center. I was one of the ideators for the session on ‘How to create social impact startup’ organized by Impact hub team at Slingshot. The exciting 3 days in Manila were filled with networking & knowledge sharing with vibrant and growing startup community & meeting some of the key ecosystem drivers in the Philippines during our visit to the Launch Garage, Kickstart, KMC Solutions and one of Impact Hub’s co-working locations in Makati.

The Philippine start-up ecosystem is still in its infancy, but innovation is picking up and it is expected to further accelerate with many public-private initiatives laid down. In its Philippine Roadmap for Digital Start-ups in 2015, the Philippines targets to have 500 starts- ups with a total valuation of US$2 billion by 2020. Currently, there are over 150 start-ups in the country, which also shows that the ecosystem is evolving. Some of the big startup groups include Awesome Lab/ Retail Sork, Kalibrr or Lenddo. Startups like xurpas or NetBooster have already managed to exit.

The second stop of the roadshow was Jakarta, the capital and largest city of Indonesia, is also known as one of the biggest megacities in the world. Daniel Tumewu from HYVE was the hub manager for Jakarta. The 1st day begun with the Welcome Speech & Introduction to the Ecosystem by Sutanto Soehodho, Deputy Governor, at City Hall Jakarta followed by the the visit at Jakarta’s Smart city office where the Mr. Setiajil, Head of the Jakarta Smart City Department took us through the massive smart and big data project to overcome the traffic situation in Indonesia’s capital and its surrounding regions. I had an opportunity to give a small presentation on Z Nation Lab, I also spoke about the importance of mentorship & strategic advisors at an early stage of startup journey at JSC Hive. After that, we had a Panel discussion on Creating an International Startup Ecosystem & a local and international perspective on funding. My co-panelists were Carl Luis Riedger, Kompass Digital Berlin & Aldi Adrian Hartanto, East Ventures.

A highlight of the roadshow was the Panel Discussion at JSC Hive among some of the great minds like Rainer Seider, Head of Unit International Co-operation, Berlin Ministry of Economic Affairs, Sandiaga S. Uno, Vice Governor of Jakarta, former Businessman & an entrepreneur himself, Ilham Habibie, Head of the Indonesian ICT Council spoke about Creating an international ecosystem. The program in Jakarta consisted of visits to companies like Tokopedia, EVhive and Creative Hub.

Jakarta is already home to a number of startups focusing on travel, e-commerce, agri tech, health tech, fintech, and lifestyle. Successful examples are Traveloka, Go-Jek, WOOK or Tokopedia. The outcome is a strong market for tech startups to explore and consequently, more Indonesian investors including Merah Putih Incubator, GDP Ventures, East Ventures and Ventura as well as international players like Sequoia, Soft bank or 500 startups are entering the market. The Indonesian tech scene is still dominated by Seed and Series A deals, many of which do not go beyond $100,000.

Bangalore was the final & most exciting destination for the delegates. Day 1 Started with the welcome note by the Bangalore Hub Manager Amrita Gandikota from The Indo-German Chamber of Commerce followed by an Introduction to Bosch DNA & Co-Hort Talks at Bosch Accelerator. The next stop was the Yourstory office in Indiranagar where we had a keynote speech by Consul General Margit Hellwig Boette & then StartUp AsiaBerlin Introduction by Mr. Rainer Seider.

I had an opportunity to be a panel speaker at Yourstory, where we shared our Insight into local markets and Industries & the global trends. Madan Mohan Rao, Yourstory was the moderator & the co-panelists were Jan Lachenmayer, Enpact Berlin, Jeff erson J. Hofer, HDC Agri Manila, Louise Kaye Mendoza, Department of Trade and Industry Manila, Aria Widyanto Amartha Jakarta.

More info – https://yourstory.com/2017/11/startup-asiaberlin-roadshow/

2nd day in Bangalore consisted of visits to B-Hive coworking space, Nasscom warehouse, GIZ office. The day was filled with startup pitches, matchmaking sessions & networking. At Nasscom 10k Start-up Warehouse there was a Panel Discussion on Investment Landscapes towards Born-global Companies. Abishek Sunderan, Partner Pi Ventures, Carl Luis Riegar, Investment Analyst, Kompass Digital & Abhishek Loonker, Vice President, Ascent Capital were the Panelist.

India, the world’s 5th largest startup ecosystem, is also the youngest with 72% of all Indian entrepreneurs being under 35 years of age. Of the 4200 startups in India, 28% of them are based in Bangalore. In June 2016, more than 1700 startups were registered in this buzzing tech hub that also had the most startup funding in India in 2014. Bangalore is often dubbed as the Silicon Valley of India due to its large amount of startups, the incredible growth of the middle class and the educational excellence in IT. Some of the leading accelerators, incubators & VC funds from all over the world have set up an office in Bangalore.

This time we did not have a chance to visit Berlin but my fellow delegates who are now my very good friends as well mentioned that Berlin’s startup scene is special because of its diversity. The diversity of industries, ideas, startups, people, spaces, and places. Many big corporates like Bosch, Cisco, VISA and VW, Lufthansa etc, are helping & supporting big time into the startup ecosystem. People in Berlin’s startup scene are getting more serious, they are growing up and want to build more genuine ideas or take more commercial approaches.

The SUAB roadshow is a great Initiative by Berlin Ministry. It gave me great exposure & understanding on the huge markets that remain untapped, at the same time provided a clear view of where we are headed. Partnerships like these are a necessity to bring different cultures and regions together to understand the fine nuances of doing business globally. We at Z Nation Lab are grateful to be given this opportunity to participate in the event and are looking forward to participating in the growth story of these upcoming powerhouses sitting in countries not very far from us.

Khoj 2017 Uttarakhand

Entrepreneurship development is a very important catalyst in context of the rapid growth of cottage, small and medium industries in Uttarakhand. The efficient performance in this sector depends on effective utilization of man, machine, materials and human factor play more important role as compared to other factors. Hence, a continuous effort for entrepreneurship development is essential for effective utilization of the human as well as natural resources. On 11th October 2017, we had our 9th Khoj Event at Uttarakhand in IIT Roorkee. The event was organized by Z Nation Lab, in association with TIDES Business Incubator, IIT Roorkee. We invited start-ups from Uttarakhand to apply for the one-day event and each participant got an opportunity to pitch their product and interact with mentors and investors from Z Nation Lab.

The Tides Incubation Centre at IIT Roorkee was buzzing with energy on this day like no other day. The reason: Khoj 2017 had found its way to the beautiful campus of IIT Roorkee where entrepreneurs got the unique opportunity of discussing their ideas with experienced minds and can get their technology validated from the industry stalwarts.

The event began with the opening remark by Nilesh Jain –Venture Partner at Z Nation Lab and myself  Neha Jain – Director at Z Nation Lab where we addressed the attendees and gave a small brief about the objectives that an ambitious venture like Khoj wishes to achieve.

The event Started with the keynote speech by Prof. Ajit Chaturvedi, where he shared his message of motivation with candidates in his words,  “We are impatient people, who expect more, want more and deserve more“.  Followed by a speech from Vikas Garg  – Chairman CII Uttarakhand, on startups ecosystem, He Quoted, ” Even today I dream with my eyes open, Entrepreneurs need to be a dreamer to become a Unicorn

As the startup world is esoteric to many, it is required to have discussions, to steer clear of doubts and to give innovation and knowledge a room to grow. Hence the Khoj team organized a Panel discussion on ‘The ecosystem for Entrepreneurship and Innovation – What do Indian start-up’s need to Grow and Prosper?’ by a panel full of experts like Vikas Garg  – Chairman CII Uttarakhand, Mr. Nilesh Jain – Venture partner at Z Nation Lab, Ajit Nigam – Head- Entrepreneurship and Incubation at University of Petroleum and Energy Studies and Associate Professor (Aviation) , Prof M. Parida – Dean R&D IIT Roorkee & Prof(Dr) Karunakar Diwakar Jha – Professor & Associate Dean – Management Development Programmes & Corporate Relations at UPES in their respective fields giving the room insights on the startup ecosystem of the country.

The Panel discussion was followed by a speech on Global startup scenario by Harshit Malik – Managing Director at Harek Venture and Founder Jumpstart Co-working Space.

In the course of the event, Startup pitches were up next. With 15 entries received the most competent were chosen to have their ideas pitched in front of the panel. Entrepreneurs presented their ideas in front of a jury which consisted of Nilesh Jain – Venture Partner at Z Nation Lab, Dr.Sanjeev Manhas– Faculty In-charge, Tides Incubator at IIT Roorkee, Harshit Malik – Managing Director at Harek Venture and Founder Jumpstart Co-working Space, Prof(Dr) Karunakar Diwakar Jha – Professor & Associate Dean – Management Development Programmes & Corporate Relations at UPES,  Ridhim Thapar – MD at NK Smart Investors at Dehradun Angels, Maninder Juneja – Investors at Dehradun Angels, Ajit Nigam – Head- Entrepreneurship and Incubation at University of Petroleum and Energy Studies and Associate Professor (Aviation)Startups in a room that was filled with 45+ investors. A plethora of new ideas was discussed and every entrepreneur presented themselves in the most zealous manner possible. These budding entrepreneurs soared high beyond the myriad of mediocre startups and wowed the jury.

After the pitches Priyank Garg – Managing Director – Sky Scrapers Management, Hari Charan Singh – Director at Myra Inra Zone, Sachin Pasricha – Senior Manager Career Services at DIT University  ,  Sandip Vijay – Professor ICFAI University (Faculty of Science & Technology) , Soumen Karmakar – Founder KKINET Solutions and Dr. Jogender Nayak – Assistant Prof. at DoMS IIT Roorkee  got together for a routable conference on Rise of new business models and niche opportunities – building businesses on customer-centric unit economics.

Mr. Devanshu Mishra, founder of AEVA secured first place with his startup product “an IoT based home automation system”. Zoyo and LifePage secured successive positions. All three winners are invited by “Z Nation Lab, Mumbai” for further support in terms of mentoring, grant, and industrial exposure to Mumbai in its boot camp. The event would not have been possible without our partners at Your Story,  HGS,  The Hacker Street, Unlimit, Startup India, invest India, Startup Success Stories, Bhartiya Startup, New Barons, Bootup, Indian Startups, RBL Bank. Jumpstart 

Khoj, as the word suggests is a search for entrepreneurs, for ideas and most importantly for innovation. Khoj is a venture of Z Nation Lab curated in order to nurture and support worthy ideas in order to infuse innovation into SME’s MSME & Corporates in India. Innovation is at the core of Khoj, where the idea is to bring together the entire ecosystem to collaborate, network and to find the right connects. It is a competition where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas and present themselves in front of a jury of investors and entrepreneurs alike. The one, most deserving startup will be called to Mumbai for the finals where they stand a chance to obtain funding, tech validations, scaling up opportunities and Z Nation Lab partnership programs as well.

I conceptualized Khoj with an aim to revolutionizing the startup ecosystem especially in tier II cities in India and I am so overwhelmed with the feedback we received so far not only from the startups but also from all our university partners and mentors.  We have conducted KHOJ initiative across multiple cities in India and have till date accelerated and funded about 12 startup Entrepreneurs in last one year.

If you are looking at partnering or sponsoring our next khoj event. Write to me at neha@znationlab.com.

Khoj 2017 Ahmedabad

In Gujarat, “entrepreneurship” is revered almost as a religion.

And, successful entrepreneurs are worshipped no less than gods. Literally. Just when Jasuben Pizza, whose success went viral as a star women entrepreneur after Chief Minister Narendra Modi applauded her entrepreneurial acumen in Delhi, thousands of women entrepreneurs back in the State were also patting themselves on their backs. This is the land where entrepreneurs have made their own fortunes with sheer hard work and dedication. The inherent spirit of adventure and the huge appetite for risk have led the Gujaratis to phenomenal success in their businesses.  On 23rd September 2017, we had our 8th Khoj Event at Ahmedabad in GTU. The event was organized by Z Nation Lab, in association with Gujarat Technical University. We invited start-ups from Gujarat to apply for the one-day event and each participant got an opportunity to pitch their product and interact with mentors and investors from Z Nation Lab.

The conference hall at Gujarat Technical University in Ahmedabad, where the Gujarat leg of Khoj 2017 was to be held seemed filled with enthusiasm and hope in the eyes young entrepreneurs as the event was set to begin. Bright, young and adept minds with colossal ambitions along with insatiate veterans who hoped to satisfy their hunger for innovation filled the room with the right kind of positive aura. Khoj 2017 Ahmedabad, in association with Gujarat Technical University, had indeed made Ahmedabad live up to the name of ‘The Manchester of India’.

The event consisted of as many as 20 panelists and 10 speakers who addressed the attendee’s participants and put forth arguments and discussions which would help accelerate growth in the business sector as well as help scale new businesses to convert startups into successful sustainable companies. Veterans from different industries came and shared their experiences and gave their pearls of wisdom to every budding entrepreneur in the room.

The event began with the lamp lighting & welcome address by Dr.Navin Sheth – Vice Chancellor GTU followed by the speech by Hiranmay Mahanta– Director GTU Innovation Council. The opening remark was given by Mr. Anup Mehta and myself

The event progressed as our keynote speaker, Jagat Shah – Chief Mentor at Mentor on Road took the stand to give an extremely articulate speech on the Global startup scenario.

As the startup world is esoteric to many, it is required to have discussions, to steer clear of doubts and to give innovation and knowledge a room to grow. Hence there were 2-panel discussions that took place in the course of the event. The discussion was on The ecosystem for Entrepreneurship and Innovation – What do Indian start-up’s need to Grow and Prosper? with Mihir Joshi – President GVFL Fund, Pushpmitra Das – Mentor & Advisor at  Z Nation Lab, Prashant Halari CEO at Synoverge Technologies Pvt. Ltd., Jaideep Singh Sisodia – Director, Neptune Associates.Sidharth Jain – Jito angel network Screening Committee member,  Neha Jain – Cofounder Z Nation Lab as the Panel.

The 2nd discussion was in the second half of the event which was on -Rise of new business models and niche opportunities – building businesses on customer-centric unit economics with Mahendra Sharma – Co-Founder & CTO MatruBharti Technologies Pvt Ltd, Hemang Desai – HR Advisor & Success Coach, Hetang Shah – Director Suryam Energy Solutions, Nikhil Suthar – Co-Founder Pixel Perfect Technologies  and Pravash Dey – VC Fund India. 

In the course of the event, Startup pitches were up next. With more than 85 entries received the most competent were chosen to have their ideas pitched in front of the panel. Entrepreneurs presented their ideas in front of a jury which consisted of Rahul Bhutiani – AVP at Brand Capital, Pavan Bakeri – Owner at Bakeri Engineers & Industries Ltd., Dheeraj Bhojwani – Executive Director at TiE Ahmedabad, Sidharth Jain – Director Munoth Hedge Fund, Amitsingh Gohil – VP at NRI Startup India, Ravin Sanghavi – Head Coach ,Venture Studio, Anup Mehta – CoFounder Z Nation Lab, Ankit Machhar – Regional Manager, Wadhwani Foundation in a room that was filled with 45+ investors. A plethora of new ideas were discussed and every entrepreneur presented themselves in the most zealous manner possible.

Agilo was announced as the winner of Khoj 2017 Ahmedabad thus ending the magnanimous event. The event would not have been possible without our partners at Your Story, Gujarat Technical University, TIE Ahmedabad, News Barons,  Startup India, Startup success stories, Bhartiya startups, Yes Bank, 100 Open startups, Brand India Magazine, The Hacker Street and VC fund India.

Khoj, as the word suggests is a search for entrepreneurs, for ideas and most importantly for innovation. Khoj is a venture of Z Nation Lab curated in order to nurture and support worthy ideas in order to infuse innovation into SME’s MSME & Corporates in India. Innovation is at the core of Khoj, where the idea is to bring together the entire ecosystem to collaborate, network and to find the right connects. It is a competition where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas and present themselves in front of a jury of investors and entrepreneurs alike. The one, most deserving startup will be called to Mumbai for the finals where they stand a chance to obtain funding, tech validations, scaling up opportunities and Z Nation Lab partnership programs as well.

We conceptualized Khoj with an aim to revolutionizing the startup ecosystem especially in tier II cities in India and I am so overwhelmed with the feedback we received so far not only from the startups but also from all our university partners and mentors.  We have conducted KHOJ initiative across multiple cities in India and have till date accelerated and funded about 12 startup Entrepreneurs in last one year.

If you are looking at partnering or sponsoring our next khoj event. Write to me at neha@znationlab.com.

Khoj 2017 Bangalore

Bangalore is the mecca of the startup ecosystem in India. Khoj was organized by Z Nation Lab, in association with International Institute of Information Technology. We invited start-ups from Karnataka to apply for the one-day event and each participant got an opportunity to pitch their product and interact with mentors and investors from Z Nation Lab.

The conference hall at International Institute of Information Technology in Bangalore, where Khoj 2017 Bangalore was held seemed filled with enthusiasm and hope in the eyes young entrepreneurs as the event was set to begin. The Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore is a city where we expect the best ideas from across the country to emerge was under the Khoj radar this time and Bangalore did not disappoint.

The event began with the welcome speech by Prof. S.Sadagopan – Director IIIT Bangalore and Mr.Ranjan Malik – Cofounder STORM the NORM Venture spoke about Storm the Norm by Design Thinking. The opening remark was given by me.

As the startup world is esoteric to many, it is required to have discussions, to steer clear of doubts and to give innovation and knowledge a room to grow. Hence there were 2-panel discussions that took place in the course of the event. The discussion was on The ecosystem for Entrepreneurship and Innovation – What do Indian start-up’s need to Grow and Prosper? Sandipan Chattopadhyay – Former  CTO – Just Dial, Manish Karlekar  – Senior Director – Data Analytics GE Digital, Raghav Bahl – Vice President Bessemer Venture Partners, Abhishek Loonker – Vice President Ascent Capital, Madanmohan Rao – Research Director – Yourstory Media, Jairaj Mashru – Venture Partner Z Nation Lab as the Panel.

The 2nd discussion was in the second half of the event which was on -Rise of new business models and niche opportunities – building businesses on customer-centric unit economics with Satish Mugulavalli – Director Yournest Venture Capital, Shreyas Chandra – Keiretsu Angels, Brij Bhasin – India Investment Lead at Rebright, Paarth Dhar – Unicorn Ventures, Nidhi Gupta – Inventus capital, Javan Kuruvilla – 1 Crowd, Kamal Deep – Indian Angel Network, Vaitheeswaran K. – Father of e-commerce, Amrita Gandikota– Startup Evangelist IGCC and Jairaj Mashru – Venture Partner Z Nation Lab

In the course of the event, Startup pitches were up next. With more than 85 entries received the most competent were chosen to have their ideas pitched in front of the panel. Entrepreneurs presented their ideas in front of a jury which consisted of  Vinod Kalkotwar – Founder and President Kalozal Consultants Pvt. Ltd. Deepak Agrawal – AVP Ideaspring Capital, Vijaya Kumar Ivaturi  – CTO – Crayon Data, Archana Priyadarshini – Venture Partner  Unicorn India Ventures, Mayuresh Raut – Co-founder and Managing Partner SEA Fund, Ram G. – Venture Partner, Z Nation Lab in a room that was filled with 45+ investors. A plethora of new ideas was discussed and every entrepreneur presented themselves in the most zealous manner possible.

Clean Slate was announced as the winner of Khoj 2017 Bangalore thus ending the magnanimous event. The event would not have been possible without our partners at Your Story, IIIT-B, Lead Angels, My cute office, The Hacker Street, tech hub, Invest India, Fame technology and 100 open Startups.

Khoj, as the word suggests is a search for entrepreneurs, for ideas and most importantly for innovation. Khoj is a venture of Z Nation Lab curated in order to nurture and support worthy ideas in order to infuse innovation into SME’s MSME & Corporates in India. Innovation is at the core of Khoj, where the idea is to bring together the entire ecosystem to collaborate, network and to find the right connects. It is a competition where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas and present themselves in front of a jury of investors and entrepreneurs alike. The one, most deserving startup will be called to Mumbai for the finals where they stand a chance to obtain funding, tech validations, scaling up opportunities and Z Nation Lab partnership programs as well.

We conceptualized Khoj with an aim to revolutionizing the startup ecosystem especially in tier II cities in India and I am so overwhelmed with the feedback we received so far not only from the startups but also from all our university partners and mentors.  We have conducted KHOJ initiative across multiple cities in India and have till date accelerated and funded about 12 startup Entrepreneurs in last one year.

Looking for partnering or sponsoring our next khoj event?

Do write to me directly at neha@znationlab.com.

Khoj 2017 Chandigarh

While the ‘Silicon Valley of India’, Bengaluru, is spearheading the growth of the startup ecosystem in the country, there are smaller ‘Valleys’ coming up in different parts of the country. Chandigarh, ‘The City Beautiful’, is certainly one of the most promising.

The city which was the first post-independence planned city in the country boasts of a well-defined infrastructure and an efficient administration. Roads are wide, the traffic is rather well managed, and there is functional air connectivity with all major cities.  The quality of life in Chandigarh is one of the best in the country with scenic mountains just a few hours away for a weekend getaway. Chandigarh boasts of an emerging IT Park, and along with its sister cities – Mohali and Panchkula (together known as Tricity) – is home to some major multinational corporations like Quark, Infosys, Dell, IBM, and TechMahindra. Having already the attention of the Software and IT services companies, the startup brigade might also be interested in setting up a strong base in Chandigarh.

The afternoon of 24th June 2017 at the ISB Chandigarh campus was looking more than lively. The hall was abuzz with the debates of young bright minds, probably the brightest in the city, their unconventional innovations and scintillating discussions. It was a marvelous gathering of entrepreneurs who gathered in order to revolutionize the startup ecosystem, to look for innovation and to laud the best ideas which would drive the nation towards betterment. The event was none other than Khoj 2017 Chandigarh by Z Nation Lab in association with ISB Chandigarh.

The event began with the opening remark by me, where I addressed the attendees and gave a small brief about the objectives that an ambitious venture like Khoj wishes to achieve. Later on, our Key Note Speaker, Mr. Pradeep Prem- CEO Netsmartz came and spoke about the Global startup scenario.

As the startup world is esoteric to many, it is required to have discussions, to steer clear of doubts and to give innovation and knowledge a room to grow. Hence there was a panel discussion that took place in the course of the event. The first one discussion was on the role of an investor in fuelling Indian startups, which was carried out by panellists of the likes of J. B. Singh – MD at Access Infotech, Munish Jauhar – Founder GrayCell Technologies, Nilesh Jain – Investor, Mentor & Venture Partner at Z NationLab, Ekant Agarwal (Moderator) – Executive Director at SACC. Along with that, a Fire Side Chat Building Innovation Eco-Systemin India was carried in the presence of panelists Kunal Nandwani – Director at Chandigarh Angels Network, Anshu Prasher – Director Innoven Capital, Jairaj Mashru (Moderator) – Founder Bombay Innovation Group & Venture Partner at Z Nation Lab.

After the Panel discussions, startup pitches were up next. Entrepreneurs presented their ideas in front of a jury which consisted of Mahesh Yadav – Founder Fostinno, Anshu Prasher– Director at Innoven Capital, Vineet Khurana – VP Chandigarh Angels, Maninder Singh Tuli – CEO and Founder at Xlantic Solutions, Amit Verma – Founder Startup Success Stories, Param Kalra – Founder Starthub Nation, Sukhmeet Singh – Associate Director at ISB Mohali. A plethora of new ideas were discussed and every entrepreneur presented themselves in the most zealous manner possible. These budding entrepreneurs soared high beyond the myriad of mediocre startups and wowed the jury.

Forensic Allie was announced as the winner of Khoj 2017 Chandigarh thus ending the magnanimous event. The event would not have been possible without our partners at Your Story, ISB Chandigarh, The Hacker Street, Starthub Nation, Startup Success Stories, Fostinno, SACC CAN 

Khoj, as the word suggests is a search for entrepreneurs, for ideas and most importantly for innovation. We conceptualized Khoj with an aim to revolutionizing the startup ecosystem especially in tier II cities in India and I am so overwhelmed with the feedback we received so far not only from the startups but also from all our university partners and mentors.  We have conducted KHOJ initiative across multiple cities in India and have till date accelerated and funded about 12 startup Entrepreneurs in last one year.  Innovation is at the core of Khoj, where the idea is to bring together the entire ecosystem to collaborate, network and to find the right connects. It is a competition where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas and present themselves in front of a jury of investors and entrepreneurs alike. It intends to bring together startups, educational institutes, government bodies, investors, mentors and Corporates under one roof to understand and help the entrepreneurship flourish in India. The one most deserving startup will be called to Mumbai for the finals where they stand a chance to obtain funding, tech validations, scaling up opportunities and Z Nation Lab partnership programs as well.

If you are looking at partnering or sponsoring our next khoj event. Write to me at neha@znationlab.com.

Khoj 2017 Hyderabad

The afternoon of 23rd March 2017 at the IIIT Hyderabad campus was looking more than nimble. The hall was abuzz with the debates of young bright minds, probably the brightest in the city, their unconventional innovations and scintillating discussions. It was a marvelous gathering of entrepreneurs who gathered in order to revolutionize the startup ecosystem, to look for innovation and to laud the best ideas which would drive the nation towards betterment. The event was none other than Khoj 2017 Hyderabad by Z Nation Lab in association with T Hub at International of information Technology Hyderabad.

The event began with the opening remark by me, where I addressed the attendees and gave a small brief about the objectives that an ambitious venture like Khoj wishes to achieve. Later on, our Key Note Speaker, Mr. Jayesh Ranjan, who is the Secretary of Information Technology ( IT) for the Govt. Of Telangana, came and spoke about the Global startup scenario.

As the startup world is esoteric to many, it is required to have discussions, to steer clear of doubts and to give innovation and knowledge a room to grow. Hence there were 2-panel discussions that took place throughout the course of the event. The first one discussion was on the role of an investor in fuelling Indian startups, which was carried out by panellists of the likes of, Mr. Sanjay Jesrani, Founder and CEO of Go North Ventures, Mr, Venkat Vallabaneni, General partner of Parampara Capital, Mr, Velvick Verma, Board Member of Hyderabad Angels and Mr. Jairaj Meshru, Venture partner, Z Nation Lab who was the Panel Moderator for both the discussions. The second Panel discussion was on Building Innovation Ecosystem in India, which was carried out by panellists, Mr. Pradeep Mittal, TIE President Hyderabad Chapter, and CEO of Great Four Systems., Mr Ramesh Loganathan, Innovation Outreach Head, IIIT Hyderabad, Mr. Shrinivas Kollipara,Founder and COO, T-Hub and our Panel Moderator.

After the Panel discussions, startup pitches were up next. Entrepreneurs presented their ideas in front of a jury which consisted of Ms. Shridevi Devireddy, Mr. Naidu Darapaneni, Ms. Srini Chandupatla, Ms. Vinutha Rallapalli, Mr. Shreekant Perepu, Dr. Anu Gupta, Mr, Anup Mehta. A plethora of new ideas were discussed and every entrepreneur presented themselves in the most zealous manner possible. These budding entrepreneurs soared high beyond the myriad of mediocre startups and wowed the jury.

Primeauth was announced as the winner of Khoj 2017 Hyderabad which is now also one of our portfolio company, thus ending the magnanimous event. The event would not have been possible without our partners at Your Story, IIIT Hyderabad, Hyderabad Angel Network, Indian Angel Network, Startup Hyderabad, Ikeva, Mumbai Angels, Lead Angels, Headstart, My cute office and The Hacker Street.

Khoj, as the word suggests is a search for entrepreneurs, for ideas and most importantly for innovation. We conceptualized this with an aim to revolutionizing the startup ecosystem especially in tier II cities in India and I am so overwhelmed with the feedback we received so far not only from the startups but also from all our university partners and mentors.  We have conducted KHOJ initiative across multiple cities in India and have till date accelerated and funded about 12 startup Entrepreneurs in last one year. Innovation is at the core of Khoj, where the idea is to bring together the entire ecosystem to collaborate, network and to find the right connects. It is a competition where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas and present themselves in front of a jury of investors and entrepreneurs alike. It intends to bring together startups, educational institutes, government bodies, investors, mentors and Corporates under one roof to understand and help the entrepreneurship flourish in India. The one most deserving startup will be called to Mumbai for the finals where they stand a chance to obtain funding, tech validations, scaling up opportunities and Z Nation Lab partnership programs as well.

If you are looking at partnering or sponsoring our next khoj event. Write to me at neha@znationlab.com.

Khoj 2017 Pune

The conference hall at Symbiosis in Pune, where Khoj 2017 Pune was held seemed filled with enthusiasm and hope in the eyes young entrepreneurs as the event was set to begin. Bright, young and adept minds with colossal ambitions along with insatiate veterans who hoped to satisfy their hunger for innovation filled the room with the right kind of positive aura.

The opening remark of the event was by me where I spoke how I conceptualized Khoj with an aim to revolutionizing the startup ecosystem especially in tier II cities in India and I am so overwhelmed with the feedback we received so far not only from the startups but also from all our university partners and mentors.  We have conducted KHOJ initiative across multiple cities in India and have till date accelerated and funded about 12 startup Entrepreneurs in last one year.

The event progressed as our keynote speaker, Mr Ganesh Natrajan, Founder and Chairman, World LLC took the stand and astounded the crowd by giving an extremely articulate speech on the Global startup scenario.

As the startup world is esoteric to many, it is required to have discussions, to steer clear of doubts and to give innovation and knowledge a room to grow. Hence there were 2-panel discussions that took place throughout the course of the event. The first one discussion was on Startups fueling the Indian economy and the 2nd one was on Specific Sector highlights.

In the course of the event, Startup pitches were up next. With more than 85 entries received the most competent were chosen to have their ideas pitched in front of the panel. Entrepreneurs presented their ideas in front of a jury which consisted of Mr. Vishwas Mahajan – Global Trustee, TIE Global. Mr. Maneesh Bhandari – Director CIIE, Mr. Amol Chaphekar – Director, Gabriel Cap, Mr. Altaf Rehmani, Founder Pune Angel Network,  Mr. Manish Kumar – Convener Fintech Forum, Mr. Rohit Bhatia – Founder Payltr, Mr. Anup Mehta –Director CEO, Z Nation Lab in a room that was filled with 45+ investors. A plethora of new ideas was discussed and every entrepreneur presented themselves in the most zealous manner possible. These budding entrepreneurs soared high beyond the myriad of mediocre startups and wowed the jury.

Bharat Robotics was announced as the winner of Khoj 2017 Pune thus ending the magnanimous event. The event would not have been possible without our partners at Your Story, Symbiosis Pune, Mumbai Angles, Hyderabad AngelsLead Angels, My cute office, The Hacker Street and 111 Startups.

Khoj, as the word suggests is a search for entrepreneurs, for ideas and most importantly for innovation. Khoj is a venture of Z Nation Lab curated in order to nurture and support worthy ideas in order to infuse innovation into SME’s MSME & Corporates in India. Innovation is at the core of Khoj, where the idea is to bring together the entire ecosystem to collaborate, network and to find the right connects. It is a competition where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas and present themselves in front of a jury of investors and entrepreneurs alike. The one, most deserving startup will be called to Mumbai for the finals where they stand a chance to obtain funding, tech validations, scaling up opportunities and Z Nation Lab partnership programs as well.

If you are looking at partnering or sponsoring our next khoj event. Write to me at neha@znationlab.com.

Khoj 2017 Delhi

The morning of 2nd February felt bright and right because of the lively, jovial milieu of the conference hall at IMI Delhi, where the Delhi leg of Khoj 2017 was to be held. Bright, young and adept minds with hopes and colossal ambitions along with insatiate veterans who hoped to sate their hunger for innovation filled the room with the right kind of positive aura. Khoj 2017 Delhi had indeed brought the finest minds of the city under one roof.

The event began with the opening remark by Mr. Anup Mehta, COO which was followed by Director & Mr.Shashank Randev, Director,(Z Nation Lab) where they addressed the attendees and gave a small brief about the objectives that an ambitious venture like Khoj wishes to achieve. Later on, our Key Note Speaker, Mr.Alok Agrawal – Founding Partner, Growth Labs, came and spoke about the Global startup scenario.

This was followed by a Fire sight chat with Silicon Valley veterans which was a Live QnA session where the audience was given the opportunity of interacting with the panel if there was any concept which they found abstruse. The entire session was filled with impeccable questions and equally impressive reverts to our well-esteemed panel.

In the course of the event, Startup pitches were up next. With more than a 100 entries received the most competent were chosen to have their ideas pitched in front of the panel. Entrepreneurs presented their ideas in front of a jury which consisted of Mr.Piyush Arora – Brand Capital, Mr.Aayush Jain – Unicorn India Ventures, Mr.Piyush Chawla – GrowX Ventures, Mr. Girish Shivani-Yournest, Dr.Shikha Suman – MediMojo, Mr.Deepak Goel – Karmacircles, Serial Entrepreneur, Mr.Shivam Ahuja – Delhi Startups, Ms.Divya Jasmera – Delhi Startups in a room that was filled with 45+ investors. A plethora of new ideas was discussed and every entrepreneur presented themselves in the most zealous manner possible. These budding entrepreneurs soared high beyond the myriad of mediocre startups and wowed the jury.

Khoj, as the word suggests is a search for entrepreneurs, for ideas and most importantly for innovation. Khoj is a venture of  Z Nation Lab curated in order to nurture and support worthy ideas in order to infuse innovation into SME’s MSME & Corporates in India. Innovation is at the core of Khoj, where the idea is to bring together the entire ecosystem to collaborate, network and to find the right connects. It is a competition where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas and present themselves in front of a jury of investors and entrepreneurs alike. The one, most deserving startup will be called to Mumbai for the finals where they stand a chance to obtain funding, tech validations, scaling up opportunities and Z Nation Lab partnership programs as well.

We conceptualized Khoj with an aim to revolutionizing the startup ecosystem especially in tier II cities in India and I am so overwhelmed with the feedback we received so far not only from the startups but also from all our university partners and mentors.  We have conducted KHOJ initiative across multiple cities in India and have till date accelerated and funded about 12 startup Entrepreneurs in last one year.

Flicksys were announced as the winner of Khoj 2017 Delhi thus ending the magnanimous event. The event would not have been possible without our partners at Your Story, IMI, Delhi Angels, Lead Angels, Headstart, cute office, The Hacker Street, Startup Selfie, DS, Stun Startup Tunnel, Sigmaworks and Suburb.  

If you are looking at partnering or sponsoring our next khoj event. Write to me at neha@znationlab.com.

Khoj 2017 Jaipur

The afternoon of 1st February 2017 at the GIT Jaipur campus was looking more than nimble. The hall was abuzz with the debates of young bright minds, probably the brightest in the city, their unconventional innovations and scintillating discussions. It was a marvelous gathering of entrepreneurs who gathered in order to revolutionize the startup ecosystem, to look for innovation and to laud the best ideas which would drive the nation towards betterment. The event was none other than Khoj 2017 Jaipur by Z Nation Lab in association with GIT Jaipur as campus partners

As the startup world is esoteric to many, it is required to have discussions, to steer clear of doubts and to give innovation and knowledge a room to grow. Hence a panel discussion was held on entrepreneurship growth in Rajasthan which was lead by Mr. Jairaj Meshru.

This was followed by a Fire sight chat on global perspective for Indian startups which was a Live QnA session where the audience was given the opportunity of interacting with the panel if there was any concept which they found abstruse. The entire session was filled with impeccable questions and equally impressive reverts by our well-esteemed panel.

In the course of the event, Startup pitches were up next. With more than 100 entries received the most competent were chosen to have their ideas pitched in front of the panel. Entrepreneurs presented their ideas in front of a jury in a room filled with a huge number of investors. A plethora of new ideas was discussed and every entrepreneur presented themselves in the most zealous manner possible. These budding entrepreneurs soared high beyond the myriad of mediocre startups and wowed the jury.

Frush was announced as the winner of Khoj 2017 Jaipur thus ending the magnanimous event. The event would not have been possible without our partners at Your Story, GIT Jaipur, Lead Angels, Headstart, cute office, The Hacker Street, Rain, Startup oasis, Connect Jaipur, GTC, and Suits Café.

Khoj, as the word suggests is a search for entrepreneurs, for ideas and most importantly for innovation.  We conceptualized Khoj with an aim to revolutionizing the startup ecosystem especially in tier II cities in India and I am so overwhelmed with the feedback we received so far not only from the startups but also from all our university partners and mentors.  We have conducted KHOJ initiative across multiple cities in India and have till date accelerated and funded about 12 startup Entrepreneurs in last one year. Innovation is at the core of Khoj, where the idea is to bring together the entire ecosystem to collaborate, network and to find the right connects. It is a competition where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas and present themselves in front of a jury of investors and entrepreneurs alike. It intends to bring together startups, educational institutes, government bodies, investors, mentors and Corporates under one roof to understand and help the entrepreneurship flourish in India. The one most deserving startup will be called to Mumbai for the finals where they stand a chance to obtain funding, tech validations, scaling up opportunities and Z Nation Lab partnership programs as well.

If you are looking at partnering or sponsoring our next khoj event. Write to me at neha@znationlab.com.

Khoj 2017 Indore

Khoj 2017 Indore was the beginning of the Khoj Journey for Z nation Lab and for every individual who is to be a part of the Khoj Journey in near or distant future. Khoj 2017 Indore was the first step towards betterment, innovation and most importantly towards ideas that form the business infrastructure of this country. 23rd January marked the beginning of the first Khoj event In Indore with association with IIM – Indore’s E cell division.

As the event progressed our Key Note Speakers, Mr. G Ramchandran – mentor capitalist and Venture partner( Z nation Lab ) and Mr. Paras Saklecha – Founder Yuvam, came and spoke about Startup ecosystem flourishing in tier 2 cities” How private players are doing double the work and adding great support in boosting the entrepreneur scene in India.

This was followed by Panel discussion on Entrepreneurship growth in M.P – Challenges & Opportunity by Panelists Mr.Varun Kapoor – IG Indore, Mr. Jayesh Patel – Principle Osco International, Mr. Manish Vaswani – Founder FulScoop, Mr. Abhishek Sanghvi –Founder Swan Angel, Mr.Atul Bharat – Founder IEN. Some fantastic insights were provided on the condition for businesses in MP and of their growth thereof.

The Panel discussion was followed by an Entrepreneurial talk which was on Fundraising & Scale-up – Beyond M.P & Globally by Panelists of the likes of Aditi Chaurasiya – co-founder Engineerbabu, Alok Mandaugane –Founder, Hindu calendar,  Vinay Singhal – Founder Wittyfeed, Gaurav Sharma.

In the course of the event, Startup pitches were up next. With 72 entries received the most competent were chosen to have their ideas pitched in front of the panel. Entrepreneurs presented their ideas in front of a jury which consisted of Mr. Jay Kothari – MD Panjon India, Mr. Sawan Laddha – Founder M.P Angel Network, Prof. Bhatta ( IIM Indore ), Prof. Sunder ( IIM Indore ), Mr. G Ramchandran ( Mentor & Startup Evangelist Mumbai ) in a room that was filled with 45+ investors. A plethora of new ideas were discussed and every entrepreneur presented themselves in the most zealous manner possible. These budding entrepreneurs soared high beyond the myriad of mediocre startups and wowed the jury.

Anaxee was announced as the winner of Khoj 2017 Indore thus ending the magnanimous event. The event would not have been possible without our partners at Your Story, IIM Indore, Swan Angel Network, MP Angel Network, Linktites, Indian Angel Network, Fullscoop, Lead Angels, Headstart, My cute office and The Hacker Street.

Khoj, as the word suggests is a search for entrepreneurs, for ideas and most importantly for innovation. Khoj is a venture of Z Nation Lab curated in order to nurture and support worthy ideas in order to infuse innovation into SME’s MSME & Corporates in India. Innovation is at the core of Khoj, where the idea is to bring together the entire ecosystem to collaborate, network and to find the right connects. It is a competition where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas and present themselves in front of a jury of investors and entrepreneurs alike. The one, most deserving startup will be called to Mumbai for the finals where they stand a chance to obtain funding, tech validations, scaling up opportunities and Z Nation Lab partnership programs as well.

We conceptualized Khoj with an aim to revolutionizing the startup ecosystem especially in tier II cities in India and I am so overwhelmed with the feedback we received so far not only from the startups but also from all our university partners and mentors.  We have conducted KHOJ initiative across multiple cities in India and have till date accelerated and funded about 12 startup Entrepreneurs in last one year.

If you are looking at partnering or sponsoring our next khoj event. Write to me at neha@znationlab.com.

How to raise seed capital for a startup?

Starting your own business can altogether change your life completely, however, it’s not an easy task as it takes a lot of courage, energy, and willpower. To add to it, a well-defined vision is what every startup needs to have to cross the finish line. Congratulation for  taking this big step in your life as for many they are still thinking to take this step.

No idea is 100% full proof and an investor always depends on his gut feeling to decide whether to invest in a venture or not. The total amount an investor would like to invest also depends on a thorough assessment based on the available data he has with him. However, once the assessment is done, the final decision comes from intuition.

Today, several founders fear the day when they are unable to continue to work on their startup project without finding an investor for some funding. On the contrary, some serial entrepreneurs build on the capital raised, seeking out great scalable thoughts/ideas and working on them swiftly with the help of an early stage funding followed by a series of around in quick succession. Nevertheless, every start-up has varied requirements just as every founder works on a different game plan, however, when it comes to considering how and how much to raise, there are some points that every startup founder must consider.

Before we move on to the ‘how’ and ‘how much’, let’s understand what is seed funding? Seed funding/capital can simply be described as the initial capital raised by a startup for its building its product that can be fit to market.  Now the question, why is seed capital required? Seed capital is an important aspect for a startup without which it would fail even to get started. A good amount of money not only lets a startup to live and grow but also paves the way for a competitive advantage over its rivals in terms of hiring people, marketing their business and indulging in public relations. Thus, most start-ups would always want to raise a good amount of money to cash on early to this competitive advantage.

How much is Seed Funding required by Start-ups?

Without a proper seed funding majority of the start-ups would die. Thus, ideally, a start-up would require as much money as it would need to reach profitability so that it doesn’t require raising money again. If the start-up tastes success here then not only will it find easier to raise money in future, it will also be able to survive without any new funding to face any financial challenges that might arise. Having said that, their aim must be to raise as much money as required that would sustain them till the next year and a half. By now we know what’s seed funding and what its significance for a start-up is? Now let’s look at another major aspect which is the means from where the start-ups can get seed funding. Though there are several ways through which they can avail seed funding, we have listed some few important ones.

seedfunding

Crowdfunding Campaign

Today, the majority of the start-ups look at crowdfunding as a major source of seed funding. The reason is a vast amount of website crowdfunding platforms being available, such as Kickstarter through which millions were raised in the past. For start-ups lacking any major sponsor from the family, crowdfunding is a great way to raise funds.

crowdfundingcampaign

Funding through Business Accelerator

Start-ups looking for seed funding can at times look at some business accelerators for help. Majority of accelerators offer small seed investment up to a certain amount along with mentoring, workspace and professional services, in return for an equity stake in the company.

Seed Funding through Corporate

Established giants such Google, Intel and FedEx do provide seed funding to promising start-ups working on some new technologies.

Startup Incubator Seed Funding

Unlike accelerators who provide a particular program to start-ups for a fixed period of time, generally 3 to 4 months, incubators tend to be more open-ended. Still, they often offer small seed investments, similar to those of accelerators. Several local bodies provide these to facilitate local new business development.

Seed funding is an essential and at times excruciating task most start-ups face. A founder should aim to raise more funds in the shortest possible time and the above points will certainly bring a sigh of relief that would lessen the agony and maximise chances.

Tips for women entrepreneurs of India

The idea of business is mostly frowned upon, especially if you are starting from the scratch. Nevertheless, many have carved a niche for themselves in this crazy rat race. Many initiatives are transformational. In recent times, a lot of women are seen taking up phenomenal initiatives. They no longer wish to stick to their kitchens, and are actually seen exploring the real world. They are the true change-makers of the society. They are seen breaking stereotypes and fighting against the school of old thoughts. How did these women fight against all the odds? Let’s take a look at few of these significant change-makers, and find out their secret success mantras.

  • Anu Aga- A well-known businesswoman, ex chairperson of Thermax and an active philanthropist, Anu Aga is a great source of inspiration to many young women. She is the perfect blend of business and social commitments. Anu Aga’s business and struggle stories are told country wide to create awareness about entrepreneurship.
  • Shaheen Mistri- At the age of 20, Shaheen started ‘Akankasha’, a non-profit educational initiative. She later went to head Teach for India, which aims at recruiting some of the brilliant leaders across the country to work towards educational equity. Her mission sees no end. At TFI, the number of youths is increasingly exceeding every year and working towards a common cause.
  • Suchi Mukherjee- LimeRoad is a commonly downloaded app. Meet this woman who came up with the idea of LimeRoad. Fashion needed new insights. After having worked at some of the most reputed organizations such as Skype, Suchi decided to start her own business. And well, LimeRoad says it all.
  • Priya Naik- Samhita Social Ventures was founded by Priya Naik. This organization crowd-funds for various NGOs and corporations. After having studied in some of the A-list universities, Priya decided to invest her skills into this venture.

How can women be successful entrepreneurs?

  • Getting out of your comfort zone- It’s completely okay to synchronize work and your personal life. But great things happen when you step out of your comfort zone. A few baby steps and maybe one giant step is all you need.
  • Mind sets- So, yeah. People will compare you with men, there are going to be gender biases. You need to put these prejudices aside and trust your instincts. Because, on the field, regardless of the gender, every individual is an entrepreneur first.
  • Crowdfunding- Sufficient funds is a must before you initiate any venture- be it for registration of the office. Do the right publicity and raise enough funds. Bankruptcy during the initial phases is something better kept far.
  • Create a support system- With all the discouragement you are likely to go through, it is very important to have a healthy balance between your hard work and emotional well-being. Build a proper network, gather supporters. They’ll pick you up on your off days.
  • Just start- Finally, remember, no idea is big or small. And the right time to start, is now.

‘Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is’.

Neha Jain

Co-Founder, Z Nation Lab

How to pitch a VC?

What is venture capital?

Venture capital is the money that is invested in start-ups and similar emerging organizations. This capital is typically occurs after seed funding. A large number of start-ups choose to go for venture capital in order to raise capital. Venture capital plays a major role in helping the companies with business functions like technical and marketing skills, financial literacy and so on. Venture capital supports organizations in these four stages-

  • Ideating – Brain storming and generating an idea for business.
  • Start-up – Taking the initial steps.
  • Growth and expansion – Consistently working towards organizational development and growth.
  • Exit – The venture capital wraps up with its assistance in this final stage.

So, how to pitch a VC?

What is that one thing that a venture capitalist looks for before investing? Well, the answer is simple. It’s the people of that organization. It’s about your commitment towards your product and creation. Venture capitalists look at your knowledge and passion. Do not fail to do your research and have your vision in place before you reach out to a venture capitalist. Bring it to the table and he would gladly take a step in investing in your business.

Having the required skills before pitching a VC has its own big benefit. As a matter of fact, not every person is likely to possess a full set of these skills, but taking ownership to develop them can create an impression and an impact on the investor.

Now, while you talk to the venture capitalists, keep it short and crisp. Experts have stated that long power point presentations have not always succeeded. Instead, they look for a clear, straight picture about the organizational needs.

Lastly, assure the venture capitalist that he is a strong stakeholder in the organization. He needs to know he’s done the right thing by investing in your business.

And finally, remember to keep it catchy with your presentation.

Neha Jain

Co-Founder, Z Nation Lab

Idiot’s Guide For Promoting Your Business Online

We live in the age of the internet. Everything you do, everywhere you go and even everything you eat ends ups on the internet for everyone to see. One post or one photo can reach out to millions of people in a matter of few minutes across multiple platforms. The power of this tool called World Wide Web is unimaginable. So why not use it for your business?Let’s assume, you have an amazing idea. You go ahead and work towards it.  After days (or months, years) of hard work, your product is ready. Now, what? You need to market it using the internet, which now-a-days is known as digital marketing. With about 85% searches for products and services happening online, an online presence is an absolute must, especially for small businesses. Online leveraging and gaining visibility among the consumers should be given top priority if you truly wish your company to be successful. Automated marketing solutions help you to save time. You can utilize that time to run your business better. Let internet marketing double your efforts!

 Internet Marketing: WHY?

  • Saves plenty of time.
  • Super cost effective.
  • Your business is open round the clock.
  • Mass audience can be targeted at one go.
  • Your business can literally reach any part of the world.
  • Localization of your business to local markets is possible.
  • Audience analysis is possible with better statistics and insights.
  • Personalized communication with consumers is possible that helps build relationships that ultimately helps in building brand loyalty.

Internet Marketing: How?

Specialized Digital Marketing Companies

If you have generated a considerate amount of capital, you can outsource your branding and marketing work to companies that specialize in digital marketing. They will help you build your brand from scratch. From design to marketing, they will handle everything. You can collaboratively work with them to achieve your business objectives. This method will give you more time to run your business and also increase sales.

If you decide to deploy marketing campaigns on your own, keep the following in mind:

 Website is the Boss

Build a search engine optimized website that is simple, easy to use and mobile friendly. The website name should be catchy and should offer the company’s intent to the audience.

Content is King

Have top quality content on all your platforms (website, social media, print, etc.) Try to make it as creative as possible. Use suitable keywords so that your website can be easily tracked.

Change is the only thing that is Constant on the Internet

Constantly update your website with new content to increase audience interaction. Keep adding new and interesting material to increase viewers.

Digital Marketing Strategy is a Must

Every company has a different strategy depending on their product or service. Come up with a strategy that suits your company.  Get smarter insights and improve on the areas where you are lacking. Promote your product and services through Facebook Ads and Google Adwords. Your ads will appear on various websites and social media pages which will help you generate leads.

Be Social on Social Media

Promote your brand over all the social media platforms. Keep your pages active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and even Snapchat. Publish content in the form of post, images and videos. Use your creativity to make them attractive and catchy. Make sure to deliver your views across the audience.

Clear Call to Action

Landing page is a standalone page which is focused on a single objective. Sufficient information should be provided for the customers to take an informed decision. ‘Call Now’, ’Register Now’, ’Shop Now’, ‘Add to Cart’, call to actions should be very clear specifying the exact intent for a user-friendly experience.

Email marketing

As the name suggests, email marketing is broadcasting messages to a group of people who are potential or current customers. Product & service descriptions, company portfolios, informative ads can be sent. Short & precise information, responsive emails, clear contact details and call to action should be provided. Heavy images should be avoided to decrease the load time. MailChimp, Vertical Response and MailerLite are some of the effective email marketing tools you can use.

Buzzing Blogs

Blogs bring in a large audience through search engines and help in building a content rich website. Try writing blogs on the current or trending topics for attracting more audience.

Neha Jain

Co-Founder, Z Nation Lab