“If the Indian startup ecosystem has to evolve at all, seed stage investors need to start funding aggressively.”
Speaking to 70+ startup founders at BIGShift’s Nagpur edition, the cofounder of Nagpur Angels and one of the most active angel investors in the city, Shashikant Chaudhary set the mood of the evening with a rousing address to get the discussion flowing on August 3 at the Chaos Theory, a coworking space. As expected, BIGShift Nagpur was all about giving an opportunity of a lifetime to the startups of this rising startup hub.
Nagpur has emerged as a fast-growing regional startup hub in Maharashtra, thanks to the innovative and tech-driven platforms in the city. To promote these startups, Inc42 tied up with DigitalOcean to host the second leg of the 2019 BIGShift series in Nagpur.
Here are the key highlights from the event!
From 0 To 100: Accelerating Your Startup
The first session at BIGShift was all about the lifecycle of a startup, the challenges, learnings and finally, how to accelerate growth. CEO & founder of ShepHertz, Siddhartha Chandurkar, spoke about his learnings, driving B2B sales and more.
From setting up in 2010 as a platform for product development, cloud computing and SaaS to having 70K clients spread across 150 countries and backing from VCs like Blume Ventures and Kae Capital, ShepHertz has grown massively through its lifetime.
Recounting his experiences, the key takeaways from Chandurkar’s talk was about prioritising product-market fit, the business model viability and the holistic scaling, rather than one-dimensional expansion.
“The founders and the team both have to scale, and you might have to bring in leadership from outside to achieve this. This phase involves scaling up all the operations of your business.”
Seed Funding Playbook For Startups
There is no doubt that funding is the fuel that powers a business. For a startup in its initial journey, seed funding is a simple and effective funding solution which helps it get off the ground. The session cleared all doubts among early age startups about seed funding, led by Shashikant Chaudhary of Nagpur Angels.
“Seed is a very special class because this is the first institutional investor. After your typical three rounds, where first is your own round, where you fund your operations, second is your FFF (friends family or fools) and third is the individual angel investors. Seed funds are the funds that will actually help and aid your startup in surviving as well as scaling,” Chaudhary said.
Learnings On Scaling For Early Stage Startups
The last session of the evening was conducted by Prabhakar Jayakumar, Country Director, India, DigitalOcean.
During his session, Jayakumar talked about acquisition, engagement, retention and reference touchpoints in a user journey. Besides talking about achieving growth through content and through the right hiring at the time of scaling up, Jayakumar spoke about getting growth through freebies.
“We use paid ads to drive free trial offers. One of the trends today is that people want to get an idea of the product in a certain period of time and they don’t want to pay for this. So being able to create some form for a free trial, and not having them to pay on day one is also one of the other tactics that works from a growth hack perspective.”
Showcasing Nagpur’s Most Innovative Startups At BIGShift Pitch
The day’s final session with Jayakumar was the curtain-raiser for the highlight of the evening — the BIGShift Pitch.
The jury here was comprised of Fazle-Imdad Shirpurwala, founder and CEO, Healthy Limit, who has been an entrepreneur since the age of 16, and Shashikant Chaudhary, who has backed and mentored many startups such as Shephertz, Mobikontech and Etext.
Here are the six startups that got an opportunity pitch during the BIGShift Pitch:
Minocular, founded in 2016 by Mohit Sahu and Puru Agrawal, offers a suite of applications to work seamlessly in the mining environment, including hardware, mobile applications and more. The tools help mines manage, monitor and control the entire operation to ensure low fuel cost, easy supervision and quality analysis.
Founded in 2018 by Jasveen Khanduja, Healthalicious provides scientifically-designed and customised meals depending on one’s fitness goals. It operates on an on-demand or subscription basis and helps users avoid diet saturation or bland food. It’s present on major food delivery platforms for the on-demand orders.
Alignus was founded in 2017 by Tarun Arya and Deependra Solanky as a platform to empower small and medium businesses by countering problems such as high agriculture input cost, low farm productivity, low prices for farm produce and more. Partnering with crop buyers, processors, service providers and more, the startup says it is increasing incomes for farmers and opening up business opportunities for micro-entrepreneurs.
A platform for single-window purchase and accounting offering competitive prices, smart savings and more, Nagpur Wholesale was founded by Harish Pitulwar in 2016. It doesn’t only sell a wide array of items ranging from groceries to furniture but also connects manufacturers and wholesalers to businesses and individual customers. While the focus of the startup is on B2B model, it also provides subscription based B2C platform to its customers.
To satiate the cravings of all fitness freaks with deliciously fit food, Abhas Disawal and Akshay founded Calvays in 2016. It is an innovation-driven healthy food brand and has launched 6 products 3 EggRich and 3 VegRich. They offer these products in a sachet packaging to quantify the amount of nutrition (proteins and carbohydrates) that one is consuming and claim to have upto 50% less saturated fat in their products.
Founded in 2016 by Bhawana Chittawar and Kunal Gadre, FinEffi uses IoT and data analytics to reduce electricity costs for homes, hotels, hospitals, commercial buildings and MSMEs. It is committed to reducing 20 to 25% of energy costs and has ecosystem partners such as SBI, Startup India and more.
At the end of the day, Minoculars won the BIGShift Pitch in Nagpur and the six participating startups bagged a direct entry into DigitalOcean’s Hatch Program which offers infrastructure credits, priority support, training and access to the startup community.
“The passion and excitement among the startup and developer community gathered at the BIGShift event in Nagpur was palpable. The goal of this series was to shine a light on the less-frequently-told startup stories and development in the region and glad that DigitalOcean in partnership with Inc42 has been able to do that”, said DigitalOcean’s Jayakumar on the success of BIGShift Nagpur
After Nagpur, it is now the turn of Kochi and Kerala startup ecosystem, as the BIGShift bandwagon reaches the city on August 22. Join the BIGShift revolution in Kochi by registering right here.
The BIGShift editions for Nagpur were supported by Global Shapers Nagpur, IIM Nagpur- inFed, Nagpur First, eChai Ventures, Vruksh Ecosystem, Navayuk, Vcats and Startup India