The data had crashed long back. So, the interesting stories so far written had gone. Anyhow I am getting it back from my backup and shall be posting the old stories here. Shall need to do this weekend.
Please stay tuned. As I complete re-publishing the old stories, I shall start the process of interviewing further entrepreneurs and publish interesting stories for you to read.
Our rural India does have a huge talent pool to be groomed to make it achieve global strides. And, here is a man who made this a reality by generating high tech employees in the rural arena.
Kajal Goswami started Sajal’s Info Solution Pvt Ltd., at his native town of Malda near Kolkatta. The self funded 200 seat BPO by 35 year old Kajal provides rural folks a high tech job which caters to clients from USA, UK, Australia and India. A 65 people strong team manages the UK and USA processes and their BPO has enough provision to accommodate another 200.
The absence of qualified work force in the rural area does pose a big challenge for Kajal. The poor knowledge of rural folks does get its polish for a shine with an expert team from Kolkota inculcating necessary knowledge for the employees to get them fit for this job. Boys and girls working during night is a new phenomenon in this locality. Kajal feels rubbed with salt when the locals criticize the hard working BPO people with nasty comments synonymising the night shift job with illegal work. Even political parties raise their eye brows.
Though he makes efforts for his ark to be guided towards a distant light house, his forward sailing ark got struck with one of his clients from Bhutan making a hide and seek game with a whopping Rs.48 Lacs. Kajal is on the mouth of a giant squid, and fears that his venture could sink down the sea if not for his coffers to realize the huge sum of money. Even though Indian embassy did take efforts, Kajal is yet to see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. He express to Startupstory that he is planning for going into hunger strike till death with his family. Little respite in his life now of getting an offer as General Manager in Vishnu Assets group, which makes foray in software business.
His financial situation is so bad that he is neither able to pay his employees nor renew the website of his company. But rural Indians have their own human touch. 28 of his employees are still sticking to his company for the past some months without any salary but with their only goal is to work and make the company come back gushing with full steam. Once he tried to sell off his personal assets to pay them, but there was a stiff opposition and they swore not to take a single rupee until the company regains back into good health. Is this the power of rural India!!
Wishing him success in his business and I salute the efforts of him and his employees to make their hard work realise its goal in the near future.
Address: Sajal’s Info-Solution Pvt Ltd Bachamari, Palpara Malda, West Bengal, India 732142 Mobile: +91 9733213073, 9832048292 Contact:firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: www.infosolution.co.in (now it is not working since he is not in a position to renew it)
Their passion for creating something from scratch made this young couple from Banglore to do a part-time weekend project to provide a Web 2.0 platform for sharing and discussing music. This was apart from their full-time work at a startup company involved in embedded solutions, where he was in Engineering team and she in the HR team. But the company scraps down the product due to funding issues. On the other side their hobby project had been gaining steam with ever increasing number of users. This gave them the impetus to make their hobby into a full time venture.
The key idea of their project is not just promoting music, but to provide a place to add fun in the process of creating, exchanging and discussing music. In a true Web 2.0 style, users can upload their audio and share with others for free. Muziboo.com started during August 2007, has a healthy mix of people right from sound engineers & short film makers to composers & label owners and plays as a ‘one stop huddle’ for anybody with aspirations for music. The users showcase and make their work better with the help of their peers adding constructive criticism similar to the commenting system for a blog article in a Web 2.0 style.
The self funded Banglore based company has no employees. Nithya takes care of marketing while her husband Prateek does the coding and there are no official designations yet. It is a classic example of a bootstrapped venture. On their marketing strategy, Nithya tells “Customer service is marketing”, I hope this dedication will keep their brand to be well known in the days to come.
In response to their users’ feedback, they have introduced added benefits like high bitrate streaming, private sharing, unlimited photo uploads etc., for a premium professional package of $25 per year. With half a million page views per month, they are scaling the absolute size of Muziboo.com to hit sustainability with their model.
The site is quite interactive and there is a 24 Hour internet radio which plays songs prepared by its members. There are different bands and you too can create your own band at the website.
“Always hire quality people” is the rule followed by Siddharta Govindaraj, the 29 years old founder of Silverstripesoftware.com, a Chennai based self funded startup which has just two employees including the founder himself.
Though many companies want to stick to this rule, they get desperate after looking around for a while and eventually lower their hiring standards. “We are comfortably waiting till we find the right people” tells Sid who started his company in March 2007.
One of the leading causes of project failure is the poor communication between stakeholders and teams. Silverstripesoftware.com specialises in software that eases this pain in making software deliveries.
During his 4 years stint as an employee with a startup in Singapore, Sid got the experience in a process called Agile Software Development. Since the process was new at that time, there was a lack of quality tools available for developing this software. Sid had the vision of filling this gap and started off his own company back in India.
Offering their basic version for free and advanced version for a premium, their target customers are SMEs and medium size development shops abroad. Now a toddler in its development, the lack of money is the real challenge for this baby to grow, but this company does selective projects to get the revenue for funding their product development. With a record 3000 downloads of their software and with positive feedback for a couple of added features, they are making a few changes in their current version.
Though they manage revenues from custom projects, marketing is done through the internet and by actively participating in the Agile Software Development community in India. Since there are a very few established companies in its niche and their competitors being in business for less than two years, Sid finds it a level playing field to be won at the right possible time and achieve profits by middle of 2009. Sid a visionary of Chennai Open Coffee Club is pepping up his engines for achieving a break even by end of 2009 by concentrating on marketing and sales.
From his own experience he finds that many people while plunging into entrepreneurship have many doubts hindering on pursuing their entrepreneurial idea. Though many people opine that the right way is to clear all the doubts beforehand, Sid makes it a strong point that entrepreneurs should go ahead and make a plunge on starting up on their own.
“There is no way to clear everything upfront before starting. First start and then tackle each challenge as it comes on your path” tells Sid.
Sid’s personal blog: http://siddhi.blogspot.com/
“The Fallen Tomato Cart” an article authored by Subroto Bagchi inspired this man to taste entrepreneurship. Having run his local tabloid at Nanganallur in Chennai and his college magazine at the Madras Institute of Technology, he had a head-start on using entrepreneurial skills to raise funds at an early age.
Though he has IT experience in Infosys for 8+ years and short career stints in USA and @ Cognizant & MindTree, the entrepreneur inside him gave him the guts to make the jump off the cliff, but with self imposed conditions like: my venture should add value to everyone in India; mine will not be just another services company; will not just be doing another job; it should be a legal and highly ethical business.
In the year 2004, he designed and built his own feature-rich house at a cost of Rs.700 per sq. ft., but builders were charging upwards of Rs.1,200 per sq. ft. A back-of the envelope calculation showed that Rs.500 per sq. ft. is being sucked by the builder from your pocket in an invisible way. For a nominal 1000 sq. ft. basic house, the ‘extra’ benefit for the builder is a whopping Rs. 5 Lakhs.
“If proper planning is made at the micro level, you stand to get more for your money, if you find it difficult to do micro planning for your home, I am there to help you…”, tells Virupakshan, the founder of www.homeplanguru.com the self funded start-up from Chennai.
In a scenario where most of us, while buying a house go by the blind reliability of a builder, here is a guy who is setting the mast to hoist the “AWARENESS” flag for buyers on quality aspects of a house to be looked into while buying the service of a builder.
Since the concepts of “quality aspects in buying a home” and “micro planning of construction activity” are hardly heard of, Virupa finds it a big challenge in convincing his customers. On the other hand, for the customers who are willing to implement the suggested changes, there is resistance from the builders on implementation of these quality concepts as it results in hitting their profit margin.
Running the company single handedly, Virupa claims it to be Number One with a niche offering that has no competitors. “Electrical switches come with 10 years warranty and plumbing items come with 7 years warranty…”, these are the facts being thrown out by Virupa, but most of us have never ever got to hear from a builder or plumber/electrician. He gives out services like “3D plan”, “Wall plan”, “Comfort plan”, “Safety plan”, “Futuristic plan”, etc., at charges ranging between 50 paisa and Rs.3 per sq. ft. Though this start-up is at an early stage, it already has 50 happy customers.
To complement his concepts, he is preparing a book titled: “‘ABCD of getting your Dream Home…”
Though the economic slowdown is giving cold feet to many ventures, Virupa is in cloud nine since the market is bound to shift from being builder driven to a customer driven one.
His future plan is to reach customers throughout India apart from partnering with a good company to be a “Certifying Authority” for newly constructed houses. Having seen the quality of homes during during his career in USA, he is in a mission to make Indian Homes on par with developed countries in terms of comfort, safety and quality and at right cost.Address:
HomePlanGuru.com Virupakshan Krishnamoorthi
C-1, Raj Paris Apts, 82, Kamaraj Street,
Virugambakkam, Chennai – 600 092
Tel: +91 9840 847872
During his teenage and having just completed his 12th Standard in his native, a three tier coastal town called Cuddalore, he indulges in entrepreneurship by starting a company in the year 1992. The company did IT training and also attempted to churn out projects for the factories setting up shop at the nearby SIPCOT area. Though it had its initial successful days, the experiment was not promising and he along with his partners disposed it off for Rs.1 Lakh during 1995.
Then he searches for a full time job with a vision to learn things and gets an important career break at Hewlett-Packard, in Bangalore. Gets involved in developing software that detects fraud on the cell phone network for Vodafone and from there moves on to work for a US Based, specialized, rule engine company called Selectica. Proves his mantle and gets two successive double promotions leading to Director of Engineering of eInsurance Division. Meanwhile the eInsurance division got sold off to Accenture.
But the steam inside this man with passion to work on products had enough energy to make an uphill drive. “Why not we start on our own?” this question laid the foundation stone of OrangeScape.com. He along with his former tech. lead makes the plunge to start the company @ Chennai in 2003, which has now grown to serving around 40 enterprise customers from around the world apart from establishing their own office in USA & Germany.
The entrepreneur we are talking about is Mr.Suresh Sambandam, the Founder & CEO of OrangeScape.com which churns out a unique, patent pending approach of using a spreadsheet like interface to develop sophisticated enterprise class web applications. Their product called DimensionN is a Do-It-Yourself platform which eliminates the gap between the business and technical knowledge. Without the knowledge of programming, one can make a powerful web-based business applications using their simple spreadsheet interface.
Suresh tells “OrangeScape platform would be the most easy and simple to use, yet it is comprehensive enough to build any type of business applications and neutral to vertical or domain! “
This Chennai based angel funded, public limited company employs around 50 people. Suresh feels a real challenge in finding the right employee and referral based employment works out fine for them.
Achievements of OrangeScape include, being recognized as the Top Innovator by NASSCOM for the last two consecutive years and being one of the 3 companies showcased as EMERGING companies in the NASSCOM Product Conclave. With 15 years of industry experience, Suresh has a passion towards entrepreneurship & technology startups and gets tied up with spending his time in the startup eco system. He mentors budding entrepreneurs at the E-Cell of IIT Bombay and he is one of the Advisors of NuVeda Learning.
Address:OrangeScape Technologies Limited.,
114, Velachery One way Road,
Chennai – 600 015.
Tel : +91-44-3068-6500
Till date in-text Ads are somewhat the usual thing used in the websites to make those extra bucks. Though there are a number of in-text Ad networks in the world, there is no control for the owner of the web site over the Ads being served at his/her own web site.
“We change it all !!”, triumphs Arun the CEO of hover.in. Arun & Bosky the founders of hover.in are churning out a new technology of its kind wherein the web site owners can decide on what Ads will be served on their website.
Boasting of the fact that they are the world’s first, this Pune based Indian startup Hover.in provides a new platform of in-text customized content and Ad delivery platform. The demand should see an expanding trend since the advertising model gives more control for the advertisers and the publisher. They are moving towards an action based online advertising model.
On the branding perspective Arun is optimistic that the viral concept in the product which is now in beta will make the selling by itself. Little or no marketing is needed to make the selling. The demand expands for an advertising model if the advertisers and publishers are having more control, tells the 33 year old entrepreneur.
Way back in the year 2007 when Arun was in USA, he stumbled with Bosky’s (Bhasker) pet project on in-text technology. After initial brainstorming for a couple of months the two decided to build a prototype to look at the feasibility of the project. Thus rolled out hover.in.
With seed funding for this Pune based start-up coming from a media company in April’08 they plan to reach the Indian market in the first year and subsequently going global.
While Bosky handles the tech side, Arun takes care of the business side of the company which now employs 8 people, with a former Google intern being their first employee to churn out the crawl engine. While employing people, Arun believes in attitude of people rather than skill sets. He believes that skills can be acquired, but not attitude. Of course he looks for the flexible and willing minds to take on new challenges to make hover.in create waves in the online advertisement segment.
Now in beta, hover is offered to select publishers. With more positive feedback from the beta users, hover will be public in a couple of months. Its available for free to any online publisher / blogger.
Arun’s blogs @ trak.in
Bosky blogs @ bhaskervk.com
Address:Hover Technologies Pvt. Ltd.,
203, Empire Landmark,
Kedari Nagar, Wanowarie,
Pune – 13