India’s startup story is being celebrated across the globe. According to the latest NASSCOM Startup Landscape report, India is the fastest growing and fourth largest startup ecosystem globally. Angel and VC investments have hit their highest levels ever with the first half of 2015 alone seeing over $3.5B being invested across 380 deals, which is more than the total number of deals in 2014! In contrast, during the same period, Gujarat saw only a handful of seed and angel investments and no notable VC deals.
That said, we at CIIE firmly believe that Gujarat has all the right ingredients to be a meaningful player on the country’s startup landscape. Gujarat has always been known for it entrepreneurial energy. We have some of the best universities in the country with amazing talent being groomed in management, technology, law and design. We have a wealthy consumer base and experienced entrepreneurs who can invest in startups. We have a dense network of incubators and the country’s first state-sponsored dedicated venture capital fund – Infuse Ventures. Not to mention that it is a highly livable state with stable governance and good infrastructure.
From our unique vantage point in the ecosystem, with access to both savvy investors looking for the next interesting idea and innovative ideas looking for capital to reach the next level, we could sense that Gujarat is at the cusp of the hockey stick curve and can really take off if the right kickers are provided. With this in mind, along with TiE Ahmedabad, we decided to create “#PitchAhmedabad”, a platform to connect local startups and local investors, as a part of an integrated strategy to catalyze the regional entrepreneurship ecosystem.
In the few weeks that we had between genesis of the idea and the actual event on June 25th, we met with dozens of local startups, helped them refine their product strategy and investment pitch and finally selected a cohort of eight promising technology-enabled startups from Ahmedabad to present before a group of 35+ investors and HNIs. A list of the teams along with short bios can be found below:
- Almamapper: A free & open Knowledge Networking and Collaborative Learning Platform for all the alumni and current students of any Campus across the Globe. http://www.almamapper.com
- ReMaterials: Develops and utilizes innovative materials with the goal of providing superior shelter for slums and villages in the developing world. ModRoof is a modular roofing system for slum and village houses in the developing world. http://re-materials.com
- Sharehero: A mobile and web platform that enables users to share resources (real things) within their community. Users can make their community a better place by sharing and donating resources. http://sharehero.co
- Merapharmacy: An ecommerce platform for pharmaceutical products, with integrated medicine and prescription refill reminder services. http://www.merapharmacy.com
- Plexus MD: An online professional network for medical professionals and healthcare organisations. https://www.plexusmd.com/
- OneHop: A social-mobile platform which aims to connect India’s 10 million+ local retail stores to their 1.25 Billion+ users.
- Trukky: Integrated online marketplace platform for mini truck hiring, offering need based logistics solutions. http://www.trukky.com
- Gridle: cloud-hosted collaboration platform with tools for file sharing, timeline, instant messaging, task management system, groups and planner along with Dropbox, Google Drive and Skype integration. http://Gridle.io
The event started off with a very engaging panel discussion on ”Entrepreneurship trends: India & Ahmedabad”. On the panel were Dave Richards, Co-Founder & Managing Partner – Unitus Seed Fund India, Vijay Raghavan, CEO – ESpark-Viridian Accelerator, Priyanka Chopra, Director (Portfolio Operations) – CIIE-IIMA and Chetan Parikh, Co-Founder & CEO – ezDI LLC. The discussion was moderated by Mohsin Bin Latheef, Program Manager – CIIE-IIMA. It was clear from the lively discussion that the panelists fully endorsed the potential of Gujarati entrepreneurs and had big plans for supporting the Gujarat entrepreneurial ecosystem. The panel was unanimous in its recommendation that startups, be they from anywhere, need to focus on creating true value for their customers, rather than to aim for soaring valuations.
The panel was followed by short 7 minute pitches + 5 minutes of Q&A per startup in the afternoon. The quality and ambition of the startup teams and the strength of the ideas had the investors palpably excited as evidenced by the robust Q&A and animated discussions post the pitches.
It appears that some serious investment discussions had already been seeded before the end of the evening! As of date, 2 startups from the Pitch Ahmedabad cohort have already raised their angel rounds and 4 more are in advanced discussions with investors. The overwhelming response to the initiative has encouraged us to make Pitch Ahmedabad a regular event on the Gujarat Startup landscape, with the next edition planned for December 2015.
Looking at the enthusiasm of both investors as well as startups founders – or #Gujpreneurs, these are truly exciting times in Gujarat’s startup space. Tapping into this energy the we have partnered with SAP India to launch a 3-month accelerator programme focused on promising tech-enabled startups in Gujarat. More details on the Gujarat Accelerator can be found here: http://gujarat.ciieindia.org/ Apply by 23 Aug: https://www.f6s.com/gujarat-accelerator/apply
We look forward to scripting the next leg of the Gujarat entrepreneurial journey and would love to have you on-board!