The economy is slow, big business shying away from investing, but the startup scene continues to see plenty of action. The excitement was visible at the Global Superangels Forum or GSF.
The economy is slow, big business shying away from investing, but the startup scene continues to see plenty of action. The excitement was visible at the Global Superangels Forum or GSF. GSF was founded by Rajesh Sawhney, the former president of Reliance Entertainment, GSF's objective is to spur innovation and entrepreneurship through angel and seed investing. At the recently held GSF forum in New Delhi saw 15 startups pitch to a large group of investors.
The highlight of this year's Global Superangels Forum 2012 was the GSF Accelerator program, a funding mentoring platform for Indian startups. It was launched in Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi, this multi-city initiative was setup to identify support and fund promising Indian startups.
Rajesh Sawhney, founder GSF, says that there is too much talent and potential in Indian companies, but they are not exposed to the local and global investor community. So, I came up with this platform last year and executed it. In the process we made a new angel group called Superangels of India, now known as GSF Superangels, which is the group of iconic founders. I invited them to co-invest with me in these companies. After some months we decided to do GSF Accelerator essentially to help younger founders with smart product ideas.
First batch of 15 companies in the Accelerator program cut across various segments, from mobile to the cloud, but only five were selected as winners. Here is the list of sdome of the winning companies.
Zapr: Three IIM Ahmadabad graduates set out to refine the process of viewer engagement with television advertising. Sandipan Mondal, Deepak Baid and Sajo Mathews founded Zapr early in 2012 with an initial capital of Rs 15 lakh. Through Zapr, anyone can seamlessly interact with their favourite brands and discover fresh content. The Zapr app gives television viewers a chance to focus on the ads that they want to in real time, get product reviews and even order the product online. With the app in place the team is gearing up to go commercial next year.
Little Eye Labs: Bangalore-based Kumar Rangarajan founded Little Eye Labs in May 2012 with an aim to build the next generation of tools for mobile app developers. Joining hands with Kumar were Lakshman Kakkirala and Satyam Kandula. Little Eye Labs innovative tools helped mobile app developers refine their offerings and spot issues that did not look obvious. To put it simply their tools act as testers for performance analysis and diagnostic of applications, pretty much like a CT Scanner. The team sees a huge potential for growth with the mobile app market on both the Android and iOS platforms booming. Having reached out to 300 app developers and ventures like Flipkart, the team hopes to capture global market by 2013.
SharedCab: SharedCab is solving the problem of the regular urban commute by offering a cost effective comfortable and shared travel solution for the masses. Its innovative systems efficiently pool commuters and match passenger routes in real time. The idea is to combine the benefit of car pooling with a professionally run radio taxi service. So what inspire cofounders Prakash Sikaria, Co-founder of SharedCab and NV Subramanian to come up with the concept.
Pokkt.Co: Founded by Rohit Sharma, Co-founder of Caramel Marketing Services (Pokkt) and Vaibhav odhekar, Pokkt brings together two of the biggest drivers of digital business in India; e-commerce and the customer. Pokkt.Co is India's first transactional advertising platform which rewards customers with exclusive offers from online and offline retailers. But Rohit says being the first mover has its advantages and challenges.
HackerEarth: Twenty-two year old Sachin Gupta, co-founder of HackerEarth and Vivek Prakash cofounded HackerEarth in March this year, an innovative platform that hopes to make the hiring process for tech companies more efficient and cost effective. So HackerEarth tests and evaluates jobseeker using a range of matrix to filter the best. Ironically Sachin says finding the right talent for this niche talent hiring service was not easy.