What are Start-ups?

The word Start-Up has become exceedingly widespread. People with passion and innovative ideas to even the smallest issues we face are now willing to invest time, money, and most importantly, expertise, in bringing their ideas to the world. A hunger for developing your idea further forms the foundation of the beginning of a start-up.
At the core of the start-up is an innovative idea. Working in the core team of a start-up ensures development of a unique approach to problem solving, as you are not only developing your idea, but also continuously researching and modifying existing plans. However, one important thing to keep in mind is that not all innovative ideas result in a start-up. It takes intensive research to ensure that the application of the said idea is viable practically. To get the start-up to a point where it can be financially viable requires that you have made a realistic plan which can be applied real-time.

Working in a Start-Up
Working in, or as a part of the core team of a start-up can have several benefits. Apart from promoting out of the box thinking, it also promotes important skills such as reliability, ability to remain calm, leadership skills, and various other organizational skills. You also get the opportunity to connect to several incubators and accelerators or meet mentors with their own successful businesses which started as start-ups.

The first step towards the creation of a viable start-up is to research the application of your idea. Do not be disheartened if it seems that the idea will have no result-you can always tweak your idea, ensuring that while the foundation of it remains the same, it is adaptable to the situation. Flexibility is important in this field, since the environment may require you to adjust your idea.
Once you have researched and implemented your idea, the next step is finding finances. Seed investors can give you an initial boost, but it is the accelerators which establish you in the market. They are also an important link between the start-ups and the venture capitalists, and who ultimately are the ones who invest when the company starts to go global.

As you can see, the ever-growing star-up culture has become the seat of innovation. We, at Z Nation Lab, encourage the novelty of thought, and invite you to revolutionize the world.

Startup 02: Next Quintessential Elements of Starting Up

As a continuation of our previous piece on laying the foundation of a startupwe bring to you the next steps. After the first few quintessential elements of starting up, let us discuss for more. Excited? Read ahead to find out.
Intellectual Property: Get it secured
Intellectual property (IP) basically refers to the intangible property as a result of creativity. It includes patents, copyrights, trademarks, etc. For instance, while starting up you have created a new technology or product, it becomes an intellectual property. As the cut-throat competition prevails in the market today, securing your IP is significant. It gives a differentiating factor to your business.
Decide your business incorporation
No matter what industry you are entering into, incorporating is a must. It is the process of converting your business into a legal entity. For this, there are majorly three designs – LLC, a C corporation or an S corporation. Both LLC and S corporation may have some tax exemptions, whereas C corporation is a taxable entity. Apart from differences in taxation, other issues also need to be well thought of. For instance, equity compensation, personal liability, paperwork, regulations depend upon the type of legal business structures. So, discuss it with your legal and tax consultants to decide the best option.
Writing an effective business plan
‘Quality is the best business plan’. – John Lasseter (Chief creative officer at Pixar)
It is of utmost importance to have an effective business plan. A written business plan tells you various aspects of your business idea. Once your concept or idea is in place, you can see how feasible it is, what direction you want to take it ahead. Likewise, it also gives you a clear idea of what next step to take on. For an effective business plan, think and use research in a proper way to design the roadmap ahead.
By using these quintessential steps for starting up, you can ensure a good start of converting your business idea into a startup.

Startup 01 : Quintessential Elements for Starting Up

Starting up on your own sounds wonderful to everyone. But ever thought what is the first challenge? It is the ability to take 100 decisions all at once. Not all decisions are equally significant, yet for laying the foundation for a startup few decisions are a must. So, let us now discuss quintessential elements of starting up.
1. A Brilliant idea
Wayne Chirisa rightly says, ‘Innovative ideas are the golden wealth of a growing business’. A great idea is the first seed in planting any business. In today’s cut-throat competition, a unique idea has become a necessity. Business can run without a great idea, but if you want to leave a legacy behind, you must have an impeccable idea. Not just in starting up, this idea will form a basis for all your decisions. The development and direction of growth depend heavily on the business idea. So, always choose it wisely.

2. Idea Validation 
Ideas may come easily, but giving ideas the shape of a business is a deal. For this, validation of an idea is of utmost importance. With firms starting up in every nook and corner of the country, your idea really needs to stand out. Look for an idea that solves an existing problem. How relevant is your idea? How does it solve or makes something easier? Who is it meant for? Find convincing answers for all these by pitching your business idea to right mentors.

3. Market research
The idea or product you think of, invest a lot upon, what if it already exists in the market? What kind of customers will buy your product? Who are you offering to? What is the scope of your product? Is the marketplace for them saturated or booming?
These are few essential questions you need to find valid answers for. Before starting up, market research is a must, it will validate your investment well.

4. Funding and budgeting
After validating the idea, the next step is the capital arrangement. Businesses are founded on ideas but are built through the capital. Rather than being clueless later, it is better than before starting up you know your pockets. You should have a clear idea of sources of investment or funding for the business. This facilitates to run the business till it starts making profits. Also, the budget should be well defined and maintained in the initial phase.

In the first of this series, these are the quintessential elements for starting up. Other elements are coming up in the next blog. Stay tuned.


Z Nation Lab curates startups for their pre-accelerator Bootcamp by vetting online applications and through Khoj an initiative which covers 9 cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Indore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata and Ahmedabad.

We as Z Nation Lab selectively invest seed capital in early-stage startups graduating from our Bootcamp, in addition to the thousands of dollars in credit provided by our ecosystem partners like Amazon,PayTM,Google, Freshdesk, IBM and others to help the startups scale up their entrepreneurial ventures

While we have a sector agnostic outlook, our team, partners, mentors and advisors have a deep understanding of IOT, Analytics, Machine learning, Consumer tech and Ed-tech. We look at the experience, abilities and passion of the team about the industry they are disrupting through the startup. We look at the market which they are addressing and ensure we invest in aggressively scalable startups. We also put special emphasis on the traction they have received from their early adopters.

We also actively seek strategic investors who can leverage on the experience of our Team which includes our Venture Partners click here to know more about them & Mentors click here to know their profile coming with 100 years of collective relevant experience. They have the acumen and the foresight to curate the best startups for your investment portfolio

A bit about our corporate partnerships – We are working closing with various corporates like GE (General Electric), Reliance Communications IoT, HGS & many more in the world to help them identify the next big disruption in their industry and connect them with our startup ecosystem

Should you like to learn more about Khoj and our Bootcamp, please get in touch with us at info@znationlab.com

Save on fuel cost post decentralization of the fuel rates on your next road trip

Save on fuel cost post decentralization of the fuel rates on your next road trip

ScoutMyTrip, one of our portfolio Company  helps you save on fuel cost post the roll out in decentralization of the fuel rates.

Heres what Deepak (co founder of Scoutmytrip) has to say about it

"One regulatory change that is soon going to come out in full force is the de-centralisation of the rates for fuel. The Govt is trying this model in 5 cities for now from 1st of May. if successful, then this will be rolled out for the whole country. What this will mean, is that the next district or even the petrol station from a different company can have a rate that is different to one close to you. This is a huge step and we will have to wait and see how the systems pan out.
At ScoutMyTrip, we are already geared up for this by tapping into individual oil companies and getting live rates from them as an when it happens"

So, be sure to use scoutmytrip.com to ensure that you save on fuel costs while planning your trip

About ScoutMyTrip

ScoutMyTrip is a community-driven road trip planning platform which lets users generate itineraries for their travels. These indicate the locations of petrol stations, hotels, toilets, eateries, and places to visit during the journey as per one’s interest. It is also a platform where like-minded travellers can meet and talk about their past journeys and help others plan on the basis of their experiences.
Scoutmytrip Image inside blog after content finishes


The 10 startups that rocked Z Nation Lab’s Demo Day

It was an exciting three-week journey for the second batch of startups graduating from Z Nation Lab’s pre-accelerator boot camp. They had been gearing up tirelessly for the big day – Their Demo Day on April 15th,2017.

Demo Day is the day when Z Nation Lab shows off its fresh batch of Bootcamp graduates to investors and the venture capital ecosystem. IOT, AI and E-commerce were the prominent themes of the 11 startups that pitched that day. You can check out the pictures from the demo day here .

“Khoj – our curation engine for attracting quality startups across the country is working really well for us,” says Mr Jairaj Mashru – Venture Partner at Z Nation Lab, whose team has helped strategize and execute Khoj events across India to boost the recruitment drive of quality startups for the Bootcamp.

The demo day room at Microsoft India’s plush Mumbai office saw a full house as investors, mentors, venture capitalists, HNI’s and eager startup enthusiasts cheered and boosted the morale of the startups present that day. Microsoft was the venue partner for the event and has also been an integral technology partner with Z Nation Lab since inception.

Z Nation Lab’s focus on diversity amidst its Bootcamp graduates who demoed that day was quite apparent. “Right from IOT, E-commerce, Enterprise SaaS to Logistics.I have seen some really interesting pitches today at the event,” Farooq from Fao Ventures said in his feedback about the Demo day. “We would love to see some more women-led startups presenting in the future demo days”, another senior investor shared in his feedback. We had many other prominent investors by the name of Mr Ashesh Shah from Transcontinental Ms Nidhi Shraf from Indian Angel Network and many more during the Demo Day Z Nation Lab is taking this diversity feedback really seriously and is consciously going to curate and include more quality startups backed by women entrepreneurs.

Here’s an overview of all 10 startups that pitched at the Demo Day:

Connexis – Is an Internet of Things enabled Industrial Analytics company providing Manufacturing enterprises Real-Time visibility into their factory operations.

InteliTaap: InteliTaap provides Actionable In-Store Analytics for Retailers. technology analyses consumer behaviour inside the store without them having to switch on GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or even cellular data.

Feltso – World’s first of its kind Social review analytics artificial intelligence engine that reads tons of customer reviews and gives in-depth analysis of their opinions on any product or service.

ScoutMyTrip – is a Do-it-Yourself road trip planning ecosystem, with a vibrant community backing it, that helps you create an itinerary for your next road holiday, anywhere to anywhere in India.

Anaxee – ‘Anaxee Digital Runners Pvt. Ltd.’ is creating distributed ‘human’ network of 250000+ Digital Runners across India with reach in 650 districts, 600000 villages, and making this platform (feet-on-street) available via web dashboard and REST API.

Toch – World’s first video shopping platform. Lets users identify and shop from the video content directly be it fashion, travel or runway.

Cyrrup is an IoT Telematics Vehicle black box. It works like flight black box by analyzing driver’s behaviour and monitoring vehicle health thereby providing safety & security to vehicles and its occupants.

Quirktech is a Global Tech product platform for Indian Consumers and Businesses. Through a localised model, we give Indian
consumers real-time access to the latest tech products from across the world, thereby reducing the time gap for new technology entering India.

Orasi is a B2B, the Global marketplace for Syndication of content with more than 50 clients – TV Channels, Production houses, Mobile/VoD platforms – and are spread across 10+ countries.

Mutterfly – is a peer-to-peer renting platform that lets users rent items from people nearby and helps them earn by renting out their items. At Mutterfly, we are leveraging technology to make renting instant, convenient and more importantly a way of life.

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.


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.


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.

Competitive strategy in the age of customer

Worrying about how to compete with those consistently expanding companies around you? Here’s how you can simplify the seemingly exhausting process. This is the right guide for effective competitive strategies in the digital world. 

  • Customer happiness– Apart from having great finances and masterminds, why do you think companies like Amazon unfailingly remain on the top position in the market? The solution is all fundamental- customer happiness. Your customer has to keep coming back to you. Set high expectations, because, customer satisfaction is old, customer happiness is new. Cater to the needs of your customer, be empathetic, and you are surely a few steps closer. 
  • Social media– It is a known fact that most of us spend a lot of time on the internet, precisely the social media. Facebook, twitter, Instagram- use it all, launch your campaigns on as many social channels as possible. Social media is one of the most easy, effective and promising ways to brand your company and attract customers. If you compare return versus investment, you’ll know the social media effort is certainly worth a shot. The investment is not really heavy, whereas the returns can be high. 
  • Website– This is a must. You need to have an appealing, informative and an easy to comprehend website, which is consistently maintained and updated. Customers always have a high preference for the easy to understand websites. Another advantage- you don’t really have to worry about heavy investments, because it’s only during the initial stages of the website.  
  • Personalize it– Have effective ways of communicating with your customers. Instead of saying ‘Hi customer’, you can actually use your customer’s name. Sounds silly, but works well. And when it comes to effective communication, apply the same strategy with your other stake holders. It will speed up the process. Also, avoid advertisements on your website. That will only add to the customer frustration.  
  • Analytics– Evaluation is necessary to evolve. So needless to say, data is the key. Have it handy all the time.

Implement these fundamentals, and you are good to go.


Ajinkya Belsare

Exclusive: Bike rental startup ONN Bikes gets seed funding

Mumbai-based bike rental startup ONN Bikes has secured an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Grace Capital Ventures and four other individual investors.

The startup, operated by Motorcruizer Technologies India Pvt. Ltd., will use the funds to set up hub stations in Bengaluru and Hyderabad, Namit Jain, co-founder of ONN Bikes told Techcircle. These stations refer to pick up stops where the firm will house its bikes for delivery. Besides these centres, ONN Bikes will also use the investment to obtain licenses from the state transport authorities, “There is a lot of cost involved in getting the licenses.

Currently we have four states licenses. We have again applied for another three states licenses,” Jain explained.

Furthermore, the startup will upgrade its technology database so that hub station owners can keep track of all bookings, whether upcoming, ongoing or completed, on a single platform.

ONN Bikes began operations in May 2016 and was founded by Jain, a chartered accountant and former executive at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Shanky Munoth, a former Infosys executive and the startup’s technology head.

ONN Bikes offers its bike rental services via an app to businesses and end consumers. For enterprises, the firm leases bikes to logistics companies, food tech start-ups and other businesses. These firms can avail of long-term leasing options starting from six months to three years.

“We started in June 2016 and till mid October, we were only dealing with the B2B market. Our focus was to have certain revenues coming into the system to stabalise in the B2B segment, and then get into B2C, where lots of cash burning is involved. We tied up with companies such as Ecom Express, Swiggy, Ola and Uber, who take bikes from us on a lease basis,” said Jain. He added that the firm has no plans to enter the bike taxi segment due to the regulatory hurdles. ONN Bikes so far has supplied 150 bikes to Uber and 125 vehicles to Ola.

Consumers, on the other hand, can hire all types of two-wheelers from non-geared scooters to high-end motorbikes on an hourly, daily and weekly rental basis. A user can order a bike through the app and have it delivered to his or her doorstep, or a bike can be picked up from a hub station. It only started its B2C services from mid-October.

Presently, ONN Bikes offers its B2B services in Bengaluru, Gurgaon and Hyderabad, while its B2C offerings are available only in Bengaluru and Rajasthan. It intends to launch its consumer services in Hyderabad by the end of January 2017.

ONN Bikes has received a commitment of 2,000 bikes on a lease basis from the Bajaj Group and other financial institutions, of which it has a steady pipeline of 700 bikes that can be deployed in the next few months. It also intends to introduce electric bikes and a ride sharing feature.

The bike rental startup was incubated at Z Nation Labs and has previously raised $100,000 in angel investment from Pushpamitra Das, corporate CFO of the Bombay Dyeing Group; Shailesh Mehta, vice president at an international bank; and Z Nation Lab.

Other players in the bike rental space are Bengaluru-based Wheelstreet raised Rs 3.4 crore in seed money from Broadbean Capital in March this year. Hyderabad-based Tazzo secured seed funding worth Rs 1.5 crore (around $227,000) from DSG Consumer Partners in October this year.

Z Nation Lab was launched in April this year by Anup Mehta, an MBA from SP Jain Institute of Management & Research and director of Mumbai-based Vinay Unique, a real estate venture; Neha Jain, a marketing graduate from Mumbai University with experience in market research; and Khushboo Jain, a former Grant Thorton executive who was also the former CEO of Umang Financial Advisors. The accelerator invests between $50,000 and $250,000 in startups and takes an 8% to 12% stake in them.

Grace Capital Ventures was recently part of a seed investment round in healthtech startup Sidqam Technologies, along with Mumbai-based investment firm SQue Capital and Soham Vencaps.

Z Nation Lab Incubator Bike Rental Service ONN Bikes Secures Funding From Grace Capital Ventures

On-demand, self-drive bike rental platform, ONN Bikes has raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Grace Capital Ventures.

The company will utilize the funds to develop its technological base to further minimize human involvement in the routine ground operations.

Launched in May 2016 by Namit Jain and Shanky Munoth, the company provides two-wheelers on a rental basis to companies and individuals, alike. It claims to currently have more than 400 bikes on the road in Bengaluru, Gurugram, and Hyderabad and plans to deploy 700 more bikes in the coming few months.

Onn bikes have been accelerated at Z Nation Lab, a startup incubator and accelerator that focusses on startups with thrust areas including IoT, sensor technology, big data, robotics, MedTech, education, mobile, and payments.

The startup currently operates under two separate verticals catering to both B2B and B2C clients. For businesses, ONN provides commercially registered two-wheelers on lease rentals to logistic companies, food tech startups and other businesses. It also offers long-term lease options starting from six months to three years for the B2B segment. For the B2C segment, ONN provides a fleet of vehicle options, from non-geared scooters to high-end motorbikes.

The startup’s official website boasts of services like point to point connectivity, doorstep delivery and pickup of bikes, security systems, GPS tracking system, on-site accident assistance with comprehensive insurance coverage, bike accessories, and merchandise.

The company intends to expand its operations in Jaipur and Pune and to about 54 cities and tourist destinations in next two to three years. Previously, ONN raised $100K in its angel round of funding, according to an official statement. It also plans to introduce electric bikes and ride sharing feature on its platform.

Earlier in March 2016, Bengaluru-based bike rental startup Wheels treat raised $500K (around INR 3.4 Cr.) in a funding round from Broadbean Capital services, an early-stage, Seed and Pre-Series A venture fund. In October 2016, Hyderabad-based tech-enabled motorbike rental platform, Tazzo Technologies raised about $225K (INR 1.5 Cr) Seed funding from DSG Consumer Partners.

Other startups in this segment include WickedRide, Stoneheadbikes, and Rentabike.

Startup Intellectual property – Protection and Infringement

What is intellectual property?Intellectual property is any creation by a human mind, which has financial and commercial benefits, and of course, which comes with copyrights. Some of the typically known examples of intellectual property are- music, designs, scripts, other discoveries, and lots more. It has become a very common trend in today’s commercial world.

Having an intellectual property has multiple profits and returns, especially if you own a start-up, or are a part of one. But ever wondered why and more importantly, how can you secure your intellectual property? Well, find out with these few easy to implement tips-

Why should we protect our intellectual property?

Two simple reasons- One, you own your ideas. You should keep them safe. And second, protecting your ideas or the IP is essential for the business growth.

How can we secure our intellectual property?

Start with basics. It’s quite reasonable to be possessive about your innovation or product, or as the IP experts say – your patent, but all that you need to do is to market it right. Starting with ‘Google patents’ is probably the safest way. Find more one https://patents.google.com/.

Research– Study, do your homework, keep yourself updated. Get it all sorted out. Before making any heavy investments, be sure to create that awareness on everything that is important when it comes to securing your intellectual property. Fundamentals of trademarks, trade secrets and copyrights are some of the typical examples.

Show urgency– Speed up and get all the necessary documentation done. It is a long, exhausting process. Look for the right person. Find the right attorney. You may be a real hater of plagiarism, but you don’t want others to steal your creativity.

Set the fundamentals straight, before you take that leap of showcasing your intellectual property.

For more information or assistance on registering your trademark write to us at info@znationlab.com

Anup Mehta

Co-founder ZNationLab

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

Top food start ups in India

Movies or food, there is so much to do with reviews. Well, reviews, special discounts, health check, delivery options- we necessarily look out for these when we choose a place to eat. Let’s take a look at some of the top food start-ups of India.

Zomato: The most common name in every household. It initially operated in few metros of India, and now provides its service across 37 cities in the country. Not only this, Zomato has also stepped out of India and is operational across 23 countries. All sorts of cuisines and the best places to eat in our budget are easy to find here.

Faasos: Wraps and rolls- you know its Faasos! A certain research says that Faasos receives as many as 10,000 orders every day. It is currently operational in 15 different cities of India. Faasos is already known for keeping its customers happy with a wide range of offers from time to time. Faasos especially came in limelight with the launch of its famous ‘loyalty program for its regular customers’. Founder Barman has also stated that he’s looking to operate Faasos in 15 more cities by 2017.

Box8: This Company was founded in 2012 in Mumbai. Though Box8 is actively operational in Mumbai, it has started spreading its wings in Pune as well. Box8 is especially known for its combo meals, which are available at reasonable prices and quantities.

Foodpanda: Another popular name in the food market. Like Zomato, Foodpanda gives you all the information that you need before choosing that perfect place and meal, at the prices you desire. And yes, the range of cuisines never seems to end. The very famous ‘Tastykhana’ now happens to be a part of Foodpanda.

Freshmenu: Fresh menu is a Bangalore based food start-up, which operates in the prime areas of the city. With its amazing combo offers, Freshmenu is now gaining popularity within the city. Apart from the ones mentioned above, some other food start-ups in India include- Mealsonwheels, SpoonJoy, Eatlo and GetMeFood among others.

Anup Mehta

Co-founder, Z Nation Lab

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone – Young Indian Entrepreneurs

How do the regular college students in India spend their free time? Watch a movie, follow TV series, listen to music or go out party instead or even pick up bad habits like drinking or smoking. But not these young extraordinaire! They spent their time building a business so huge that they had to quit their education to completely focus on their work. These young lads are conquering the world one step at a time.1. Varun Shoor

    CEO, Kayako


Kayako is a software company that develops a cloud-based customer service platform and on-premises help desk and customer support software. Varun Shoor started learning programming at the age of 13, and was able to start off Kayako by the age of 17. He never went to college so that he could focus on his business. In 2001, he a bought a laptop for himself with the first money he earned. In the initial days, he cleverly responded to his clients from different accounts which he created for himself to give the impression of being a large company. He knew no one would take a 17 year old kid seriously who is on the other side of the world. This story of a small start up in Jalandhar to a huge enterprise in London proves hard work definitely pays off.


2. Ritesh Agarwal

    CEO, OYO Rooms


OYO Rooms provide an online platform for standardized and affordable stay. I am guessing, you or one of your friends would already stayed at one of their rooms and experienced their comfortable and convenient services. Now an astute business man, Ritesh once sold SIM cards in his hometown, Odisha. He was the first Indian to be chosen for Thiel Fellowship, where he was given $100,000 grant by early Facebook investor and PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel. The Thiel Fellowship is a two year program given to entrepreneurs below 20 years of age who skip or stop college to start running their own business. Ritesh thought really big and wanted to create an impact and hence put most of the Thiel grant into his business. Such clarity of thought and purpose at this age is unusual and India hopes to produce more young entrepreneurs like him.


3. Azhar Iqubal

   CEO, Inshorts


I hardly know anyone who doesn’t use this app. Crisp news in less than 60 words of significant matters is all today’s slothful generation needs. This powerful app works like newspaper in our pockets. Bored with mundane college life, Azhar Iquabal  was looking for something challenging and came up with the brilliant idea. All IIT dropouts, Azhar Iquabal along with Anunay Arunav and Deepit Purkayastha, built this application which works for Android and iOS. This Delhi-based startup was founded in 2013. Started from a Facebook page, it became India’s highest rated news app with more than 3 million downloads serving more than half a billion page views every month.


4. Deepak Ravindran

    CEO, Innoz Technologies


Innoz or SMSGyan is an offline search engine that allowed users to immediately get answers to their queries by sending an SMS. Over two billion queries were answered by the app in around five years. Deepak along with three of his college friends co-founded Innoz in September 2008. It became one of the largest offline search engines in the world. But once the smart phones hit the Indian markets in 2013, Innoz had to be plateaued. In early 2014, he came up with Quest which was a Q&A platform and marketed it in the US but this app failed to gain much recognition because of competitors like Quora and Jelly. Back in India now, he came up with Lookup, which connects people with local businesses. He saw that people are still using the traditional way of calling the stores, and saw this as a great opportunity to attack this untapped market. Lookup has no major competitors in India right now and is doing really well with over one million downloads. This story of ups and downs teaches us to never give up your passion.


5. Bhavin Turakhia 

    CEO, Directi


Directi is a large scale company that earns a revenue of over $350 million/year. It employs 1500+ people across 8 global offices with over 9 million customers. It offers services across diverse areas like social networking software, DNS managements, instant messaging, large-scale billing & provisioning platforms, anti-spam and anti-virus solutions and much more. Bhavin along with his younger brother Divyank co-founded Directi in 1998. From a startup, the young Turakhia brothers flourished to a huge business that develops mass-market web products serving millions of global customers. Bhavin is also the founder of CodeChef. Since school, Bhavin loved to code and spent a lot of time after school exploring various programming languages. He had created a stock market simulation game to track stock prices while he was in class tenth.  His entrepreneurial passion and zest was clear since early days and he had decided to contribute something valuable to the world. Bhavin believes in pure hard work and hands on experience. He also believes that life is a continuous learning process.


Anup Mehta

Co-founder, Z Nation Lab

Stop Thinking. Start Doing.

Anytime is a good time to start a startup. But the question that arises is how to start a startup? As stated by Paul Graham-“Start-ups don’t win by attacking. They win by transcending. There are exceptions of course, but usually, the way to win is to race ahead, not to stop and fight.”As compared to other working fields, startups have a high risk of failures due to the uncertainties involved. A quality amount of data, with a knowledgeable feed of how to pave your way to start your startup, will prove to be the success mantra for the innovative minds to succeed.

Everything is impossible until somebody does it. As quoted by Dennis Crowley-“Don’t let people tell you your idea won’t work. If you’re passionate about an idea that’s stuck in your head, find a way to build it so you can prove to yourself that it doesn’t work.”


Don’t let others decide the outcome of your thinking. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. Same is in the case of building your own startup, take risks because ideas are easy but the implementation is hard. The market research will help you to carry out the implementation of your idea with a systematic investigation of, what are the problems which are surfacing the community, Who are the people suffering from the problem?  What are their demands? What your startup can do to solve their problem?  Who are the target customers? At the end it’s all about the customers and their interests and preferences. Targeting the problems of the people and building such a product that will gain maximum attention from the people should be the final goal.

Following are certain eligibility criteria that should be kept in mind before calling yourself a startup:

  • You should be registered in India.
  • Come forth with a new innovative product or service or a significantly improved version of an existing product or service.
  • Startup should be less than 5 years old.
  • Startup annual turnover should not exceed INR 25 crore in any preceding financial year.
  • Startup should not be formed by splitting up or reconstruction of an already existing business.
  • Startups can avail tax benefits only if they are certified by the inter-ministerial board.
  • Startups should be supported by a recommendation (with regard to innovative nature of business) in a format specified by DIPP.

Legal aspects that are primarily considered before starting a startup:


1. The article of incorporation:

Also referred as the ‘The article of association’, ’Corporate character’ or the ‘Certificate of Incorporation’, it consists of set of documents filed with the state that inheres the basic information of the formation of company like: the name of the company, type of the corporation(C or S corporation), company’s address, amount and the type of the stocks issued, and stockholder information.

2. Intellectual property (IP) Assignment Agreement:

Also referred as Rights Agreement or IP Transfer Agreement.

In a startup it is vital to contract the assignment of intellectual property rights to an individual or a business entity. This agreement emphasizes on the transfer of the possession of intellectual property right from one entity to another entity. The party which transfers the ownership is known as an assignor and the entity receiving the ownership is known as assignee.

3. Bylaws:

A simple definition of bylaws is the set of rules that should be followed by all.

In Corporate sector, Bylaws pin down the day-to-day rules that provide a constraint for the smooth functioning of the company. Bylaws specify the duties and the responsibilities of the members of the organization, Board of Directors, Executive members and others.

4. Operating Agreement (Founders Agreement):

An Operating agreement is drafted among LLC and specifies the ownership and management of LLC. The Founders document will document all the essential things that the founder wants to establish in order to avoid misunderstanding among the co-founders.

5. A non-disclosure Document:

A non-disclosure agreement is a legally signed document that agrees upon not sharing confidential information of a company, their products and business strategies with a second party.

A non-disclosure document is of primary concern when you jointly develop a product mostly seen in technology companies.

6. Employee contract and Offer letters:

While hiring new employees, the founders and CEOs of the startup should clearly state out the employee contract and offer letter. These legal documents should draw in the following points

  • Expectations from the employee
  • Employability terms (e.g. working hours, responsibilities, reimbursements)
  • Company conditions (e.g. dress code, paid leave, vacation days)
  • Required commitments
  • IP ownership of work

7. Shareholders Agreement

The shareholder document is a contract that describes the relation of the shareholder with the company. It states the expectations of each party. This document will prove out to be beneficial while resolving disputes among the parties. The shareholder document must be flexible in terms and should meet the requirements of any corporation, big or small. The terms and conditions that should be settlements for finance, transfer of shares, buy-and-sell provisions etc.


Anup Mehta

Co-founder, Z Nation Lab


Every person in the society has certain social responsibilities. But, only a few people are addressing these real problems and are providing world changing solutions. While the entire world is running behind tech startups, there is also a group of people silently working for a noble cause, away from spotlight wanting to bring a change: small or big. One becomes famous once their product grabs the attention of people but, how many of us have ever thought about having a socio-startup? A socio-startup is framed to work for a social cause which will help the common man. Here, we present to you some untold stories of such socio-startups.

  1. Socialblood

social blood 1

Blood is as essential to life as food or water. One understands the importance of getting blood on time only during emergencies and crisis. Socialblood was founded by an aspiring tech entrepreneur Karthik Naralasetty in 2011. Socialblood, one of the largest online startup is building a network of blood donors who are motivated to donate blood, thereby serving their social responsibility. Socialblood uses Google maps to look for blood donors in the nearby areas and reaches out to them quickly. They also have their own android application. In addition, Socialblood helps hospitals manage data related to donors, available blood stock levels, etc. using the cloud. This story of a young entrepreneur working for such a noble cause truly inspires us to be a part of his mission and contribute to the society in a small way.

  1. Mentor Together : Mentoring the necessitous

mentor togather 1

Mentorship is a relation where an experienced and knowledgeable person guides an amateur in their related field of expertise. After returning from the Manchester School of Business, Arundhati Gupta felt a strong urge about doing something in the educational field related to mentorship and hence founded Mentor Together. It is a Bangalore based one-to-one youth mentorship startup that guides the underprivileged youth to make wise and better career choices in life. Students in their teenage often need mentorship when it comes to choosing the right career paths. Students from the age 12-17 belonging to shelter homes and government high schools are provided guidance here. Any individual willing to contribute to this social cause is selected as a mentor after a three-phase evaluation process. Using a matching algorithm based on the common interests, language, personalities, mentors are allotted to mentees. This noble work of Arundhati and her team should be appreciated by us.

  1. Project Mudra

project mudra 1

There are almost 7.8 million visually impaired people in India which accounts for 20% of the visually impaired in the world. Project Mudra is an ed-tech socio-startup. BITS Goa graduates, Sanskriti Dawle and Aman Srivastava, developed a flagship product called Annie, a ‘Braille Dicta-Teacher ‘. They got this innovative idea during a workshop on Raspberry-Pi. This simple product makes Braille learning spontaneous and easy. It was developed using Raspberry-Pi attached to a small box with 6 pegs. It works in 3 modes, Auto mode, Browse mode and Exam mode. It surely can battle against illiteracy among the visually impaired in India and worldwide. A small effort like this can make a big and positive difference in the literacy rate.

  1. Milaap


Milaap is one of the largest crowd-funding platforms for a personal and social cause which was founded in 2010 by three young entrepreneurs. Milaap allows people to raise money for a cause or a person in need. It also funds rural Indian entrepreneurs. They have a worldwide group of donors and lenders in around 120 countries. Soon after it was launched, it became one of the most important crowd-funding platforms to help thousands of people for charity, medical expenses, educational purposes, natural calamities, etc. There have been contributions of about Rs. 63.34 crore for 49,310 projects. Milaap is not an NGO but a mission-driven startup for a social cause. They have helped in saving lives of many kids, in setting up art schools, music classes in poverty-prone areas, helped children pursue their dream of playing sports. Our small contribution to this venture can help us change someone’s life.

  1. Practo


Practo Technologies is a unique startup which was found by Abhinav Lal and Shashank ND in 2008. Practo aims to be the one-stop destination for patients to find their doctors, pharmacists, gyms, etc. Patients can easily locate suitable doctors and today, over 2 million people are already using Practo. Doctors from over 310 cities in India are a part of this base. Their app helps you book appointments within seconds. Nearly 30,000 appointments are booked by patients through Practo. The application helps you to stay fit and healthy always. You can immediately inform your doctors about your health conditions and immediately get your doubts solved online. Practo Ray is one of the largest online clinic management software provider in Singapore when it comes to market share, Practo has achieved this in less than 2 years after its launch. Practo has provided a very efficient and easy way for a common man to get in touch with medical practitioners.


Anup Mehta

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

Find Your Guardian Angel Investors

Angel Investor is a term used to signify a person, business or a group that provides financial backing for small startups or entrepreneurs. The capital provided can be one time of seed money or ongoing support to carry the company through difficult times.

There are professional angel investors who own sophisticated businesses and want to extend their own experience in their field of expertise. They think beyond money. They might actually believe in what you do and update you with connections, ideas and some wisdom. Then there are others, they might not be professional investors, like doctors, lawyers or dentists. They have wealthy incomes and disposable finance. They sit on cash cushions, searching for good investment options or might just invest to get some excitement.

Angel investors invest in early stages of the company in exchange for an equity ownership. They are visionary people and care about the quality, commitment and integrity of the founders. Use of futuristic technology and early traction towards your plan might attract angel investors to invest in your business.

Angel Investors Vs Venture Capitalists

VCs Vs Angels | Z Nation Lab

Angel Investors

  • Invest their own money.
  • Invest in the area of expertise or interest.
  • Invest around 10k-250k$
  • Invest in the early stages of the startups.
  • Don’t want to join the board of directors.
  • Lower ROI expectations.
  • Slower business growth expectations.

Venture Capitalists

  • Invest other people’s money.
  • They have their specifications and criteria. They target a range of companies from various domains.
  • Invest over a million dollars.
  • Invest in later stages. They do not invest in pure startups. They will only invest if they see real opportunity.
  • Want to join the board of directors.
  • They expect a minimum of 30% ROI per year.
  • Rapid business growth expectations. They look for tech-based companies since they have fast growth rates.

Z Nation Lab Partners with Access Silicon Valley to Build a Virtual Bridge for Startups in India

Z Nation Lab has partnered with Access Silicon Valley to provide a virtual accelerator platform for startups in India. Startups will now get to access Silicon Valley angels, VCs and serial entrepreneurs in real time, which they otherwise wouldn’t get the opportunity to see, hear or possibly connect with.

In addition, Z Nation Lab has put together valuable workshops to provide entrepreneurs with a perspective on building scalable startups.

“This community will act as a group to provide a link to Silicon Valley ecosystem or “mindshare” as we like to think of it,” the company said in a press release.

Z Nation Lab assists start­ups to scale up not only in India but globally. Its network includes global prodigy mentors and investors with specialization in the fields of IoT, Sensor Technology, big data, robotics, med-tech, education, mobile and payments and are working in collaboration with the Indo-­US corridor.

With various patents registered in their name and having worked with fortune 500 companies including venture capital funds, they bring in over 150+ years of collective work experience. Not just experience, Z Nation Lab strives to bring people together from each and every domain.

Z Nation Lab selectively invests seed capital, provides strategic and technological support to startups. Thus, enabling them to accelerate in the right direction.

Neha Jain, Co-­Founder, Z Nation Lab said: “Access Silicon Valley is an extension of the overall global vision to build “virtual bridges” between cities in India that have great startup communities and potential to scale. The virtual bridge will enable Startup ecosystem in India to evolve to the next level, bridging the gap between ideation and implementation.”

Z Nation Lab is launching its first live streaming breakfast session in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Startups will not only get a chance to hear veterans from Silicon Valley but also pitch their next big idea to Z Nation Lab. The details for the same have been published in local community pages on their website.