Birth of an idea!

Ambitious minds
Last Updated : 24 October 2012, 16:12 IST

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Until Brijesh Bharadwaj, a final year student of five- year integrated programme in BE and MA economics at BITS Pilani, participated in a business plan competition ‘Vincenza’ in MDI Gurgaon last year, he didn’t believe that the legends of corporate world would pay heed to what a 22-year-old had to say.

His business plan called Tunepatrol which offers a social networking platform to the struggling music bands not only gave formidable competition to other contenders but also emerged as a numero uno, thus awarding him a humble prize money of Rs 70,000.
Around eight months after his first brush with victory, Bharadwaj — along with three  peers at BITS Pilani — got the seed funding of Rs 10 lakh for the same business plan from Angel Investors Consortium.

Tunepatrol came into being because the founders were intensely driven by music and they aim to provide a platform to scores of music bands who are talented but remain ‘unheard’. 

Like Bharadwaj, there are several young people who are cashing in on changing social paradigms while fulfilling their innate desires. Most startups revolve around web portals, social media and e-tailing, while a few of them are driven by social objectives. For instance, Nikhil Jaisinghania, who studied at John Hopkins University and University of Virginia, left a well-paying job at USAID to co-found Mera Gaon Micro Grid Power along with Brian Shad, who is a  product of London School of Economics, in 2010 with a vision to provide electricity to unpowered villages of Uttar Pradesh. 

“We provide electricity to 2,000 households in 100 villages at a cheap rate of Rs 25 per week,” said Jaisinghania.

After the noteworthy success of snapdeal and flipkart, a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs have drawn towards e-tailing for obvious reasons. Manoj Chandra started www.allschoolstuff.com to sell stationery products to school kids of urban India.Though he is 43-year-old but some venture capitalists (VCs) believe that the age of entrepreneur is inconsequential. “Those who provide seed funding appreciate the entrepreneurs — regardless of their age — who are visionaries, incredibly stubborn about their vision, and are aware of their limitations and strengths,” Puneet Vatsayan, co-founder of The Hatch.   
Lately, the ecosystem of startups has got a fillip because of ready availability of mentors. Anchal Jain, co-founder of 99labels.com says, “Entrepreneurial environment is quite fertile and friendly in India now as there is early stage funding available, one can even seek help from incubation centres which was not the scenario until a few years ago.”

Still, a there is a lot to be done to change things drastically. “In India, only 250 startups take birth every year in comparison to 800 in Israel and 1,500 in US,” said Jaspreet Bindra, who resigned as regional director (retail, entertainment and devices) at Microsoft India to work as mentor to startups.

Published 24 October 2012, 16:12 IST

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