The month of October was a remarkable one for the Headstart team. We had the PitchCity event in Jaipur, which was part of the Rajasthan Startup Fest; and Startup Saturday events in 8+ other cities. Here’s a detailed overview of the October initiatives of Headstart:

Jaipur

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Headstart, in association with Startup Oasis, hosted the ‘PitchCity- Pitch wow, Start now’ event  in Jaipur on the 8th and the 9th of October. A massive 2-day event, PitchCity  saw around 500+ startups registrations from all over the country, and had more than 20 investors, mentors and  speakers participating in the event.

The day began with a welcoming talk for the 25 shortlisted startups and mentors by Paresh Gupta, Country Lead , Headstart Network Foundation. This was followed by a talk on funding and legal issues of startups by firms Ah!ventures and TMT LAW. After lunch and networking sessions, the startups were given an opportunity to individually meet the mentors and investors with their pitches, and receive some valuable feedback from them. This was followed by the pitching session – ‘Showcase 25’, where the 25 shortlisted startups from different cities across India, and some selected Jaipur-based startups, had an opportunity to pitch their ideas to the crowd. The session was followed by a gala dinner by Headstart at the Grand Uniara Heritage Hotel, where the winning ‘PitchCity top 7’ startups(selected from the 25 shortlisted startups) and the 3 elevator pitches(selected from the Jaipur-based startups that showcased at the event) were announced and awarded with trophies and gifts.

The top 7  winning startups were: iData Sciences, Wholesale Box Internet Pvt.Ltd , MeraFoodChoice Pvt Ltd, Shishugram, Mobien Technologies P Ltd, Gamezop, Living Greens Organics Pvt Ltd ; and the 3 elevator pitch winners were: Ic labs (Awakey), My delivery express and mVikarsha Mobile Solutions Private Limited.  The 10 selected startups had an opportunity to pitch themselves to another large panel of investors on the 9th, at the Rajasthan Startup Fest.

 Bangalore

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Organized on the theme ‘The Age of Hyperlocal Products’ the October edition of Startup Saturday Bangalore was attended by 250+ people that included a mix of entrepreneurs, early-stage startups, software developers, students, and marketing consultants. The event featured interesting demos by startups PracticalCoding.in, Streetappy, and Pillocate.The presentations were followed by an insightful Panel Discussion session, moderated by Rohith Veerajappa (Co-founder, Wow Labz) and featuring panel speakers: Mohit Agrawal (Growth,Roadrunnr), Karthik Vidyanathan ( Co-Founder at Momoe) , Mayank Kumar (Co-Founder at Opinio), Saurabh Kumar (Co-Founder at Solvify) and Rohit Bhat (Vice President at Sequoia Capital).The event also had various startup stalls, including stalls for the Headstart Initiatives, so people could learn more about them, and register for the upcoming events.

Some Interesting Insights from the event :

  • India is ready for hyperlocal businesses, including the tier-2 and tier-3 cities.

  • The best ways of marketing hyperlocal businesses are through Facebook ads, Physical ads at the offline stores, word-of-mouth marketing, and vendor referrals.

  • To ensure user loyalty, build a hyperlocal business that offers great product experience and excellent service quality.

  • We are seeing the trend of hyperlocal in every company because of on-demand services and productivity gains.

  • The cashless payment mode is gaining popularity, with the convenience that it offers, and with the growing trust of consumers in online/mobile payments.

  • Supporting multiple languages for better user experience, is one of the major challenges that hyperlocal businesses deal with, especially in metropolitan cities where the users speak various languages.

Testimonials from the participating startups:

“We had a great experience speaking to several early adopters at Startup Saturday Bangalore. We got new insights into the customer product and service expectations, which has helped us refine our approach and the product”

– Vidit,Co-Founder of FashNear, which had its stall at one of the SS Bangalore events

“We’ve been participating at Startup Saturday Bangalore since July and the sheer enthusiasm of the community keeps us coming back for more. The varied mix of participants, who come from diverse backgrounds, is what makes Startup Saturday an ideal destination for entrepreneurs who want to test customer response to their ideas. Kudos to the Headstart Team for putting together a great property and beating themselves to it, month on month.”

– Ashish Vaswani, Co-founder of VRFirst. which had its demo at one of the SS Bangalore events.

Navi Mumbai

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The October edition of Startup Saturday Navi Mumbai was on the theme ‘Customer Engagement’. The event was attended by an audience of 50+ people, that included an interesting mix of IT programmers, businessmen, consultants, students and startups such as 91Springboard, Ihavereadthebook.com, Bon appétito, and onspon.com. 95% of the audience at the event were first-timers. The event featured talks by Moksh Juneja, Founder of Pee provider; Rajveen Khandelwal Founder of Wear Your Opinion, and Avesh Singh, Co-Founder and CEO of WebEngage.

Some Interesting Insights from the event :

  • People don’t have an attention span more than that of a goldfish, when it comes to Facebook posts. –  Moksh Juneja

  • If you build your own content you will become successful.  – Moksh Juneja

  • Sell the sizzle and not the stake.  –  Moksh Juneja

  • Come up with a concept and sell the concept. Don’t sell the product.  – Moksh Juneja

  • We need to have a story for all of our products. No story means no product. –  Rajveen Khandelwal

  • When you goof up, own up your mistakes. Tell your customer that you have screwed up and rectify it. – Rajveen Khandelwal

  • We don’t study how to do viral posts and try it out. We use our greatest instrument – our creative brains.- Rajveen Khandelwal

  • Make your customer your salesman. – Avesh Singh

  • You don’t sell to a company. You sell to the people. Even in B2B companies, you are selling to a person. It might be the CTO/CIO, the HR, or the marketing head of the firm. – Avesh Singh

Kolkata

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Organized on the theme ‘The Age of Hyperlocal Products’ the October edition of Startup Saturday Kolkata was attended by 70+ people that included a mix of entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, students and software professionals.The event featured an inspiring talk by Paritosh Sharma, Founder of PayUMoney; and startup pitches by Hitesh Agarwal, Founder of Lazyshopr; Rachik Murarka, Founder of DoDukan; Utkarsh Lohia, Founder of JustShop24; and Vikash Bhotika, Founder of Felicity.

Some Interesting Insights from the event :

  • If you want to connect with your consumers, investors, and stakeholders; then put forward a powerful story. – Paritosh Sharma

  • Have a story ready even if you do not have a product ready. –  Paritosh Sharma

  • An investor does not merely invest in a company, he invests in the person. – Paritosh Sharma

  • A customer is someone who has the same problem as us, so one should emotionally engage with the customers and their problems. – Paritosh Sharma

  • Persistence is the key to success as an entrepreneur. – Hitesh Agarwal

  • Customer loyalty is the biggest challenge for a startup. – Rachik Murarka

  • Your idea should solve a problem or address a need. – Utkarsh Lohia

  • Make your problems your strengths. – Vikash Bhotika

Testimonials from the participating startups and the audience :

“I really liked the event. I would prefer the event to be more diverse. Startup pitches could be from different background”

– Amit Kumar, software engineer at TCS

“ A great platform to  enhance network and connection. I was looking forward to Paritosh Sharma’s speech, which turned out be extremely beneficial”

– Priyanka Bajaj, Founder of MeraTiffin

“ The event has a great layout. Some veteran speakers like Abhishek Rungta should be invited in the upcoming events”

 – Hitesh Agarwal, Founder of Lazyshopr.

 Delhi

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The October edition of Startup Saturday Delhi was on the theme ‘Growth Hacking’. Attended by 100+ people that included a mix of entrepreneurs, early-stage startups, digital media marketing professionals, and consultants; the event featured talks by Snehal Samant(Product Manager, Wingify) and Shivankit Arora( Founder, MarketingMasala.com). There were also startup pitches by Lovneet Tyagi(Founder, Cellar Door Productions), Lomesh Dutta(Founder, Near.in) and Pushkar Singh(Founder,BookMyBank). From November onwards, Startup Saturday Delhi would have stalls for the startups, entrepreneurs, and small business owners to come and demonstrate their business, while the event takes place.

Some Interesting Insights from the event :

• Understand how a human mind works to make your website’s copy better.

• Talk to your audience in a language that they would understand.

• Pay attention to AARRR: Awareness – Activation – Retention – Referrals and Revenue, for a successful digital outreach.

• Focus on re-marketing. Biggies like Amazon.in and Flipkart are reaping all benefits out of it. There is no reason why you should not.

• Lastly, love social media! Be present and active on all the platforms. For a good start, pick up 3 social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Google are your best friends here) and be regular with your posts.

Testimonials from the audience :

“It was an amazing exposure that we received from Startup Saturday Delhi. Some of the questions did catch us off-guard but it was a great learning experience nonetheless. We understand our startup much better now, along with the nuances of how to pitch it better.”

–  The Team of Cellar Door Productions

“Ours was a grilling pitching session! It was amazing connecting with such young and enthusiastic   entrepreneurs and professionals.”

– Lomesh Dutta,  Near.in

Kochi

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Organized on the theme ‘Startup Funding’ the October edition of Startup Saturday Kochi featured inspiring talks by Madan Padaki( Founder of Merit-Trac and CEO of Head Held High Services), and Anup Mohan( Cofounder & CEO of Styl, and a serial entrepreneur). The event also had an informative Workshop on ‘Funding’ by Madan Padaki; and the Panel Discussion Session, moderated by Ruby Peethambaran(Co-Founder, Fourthambit) and featuring panelists: Madan Padaki, Anup Mohan, Dr. Jayasankar Prasad( CEO of Kerala Startup Mission).

 Some Interesting Insights from the event:

  • Investors gain trust on entrepreneurs who are committed to the project, rather than trying it out behind the safety of another job.

  • Most Investors are less likely to invest if the entrepreneur can’t back the idea with customer feedback – at least 100 for B2C and around 25 -30 for B2B in a month.

  • Fall in love with the customer rather than with your product

  • Your Investment should be so simple that when presented to an investor, they should jump off and say it’s so natural that they want to invest in it.

  • Angels are very high risk-takers often investing even when the business does not have its first customer. VCs, on the other hand, have less risk- taking appetite. They look to invest in proven business models and after the business had gained some level of traction from the customers.

Hyderabad

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The October edition of Startup Saturday Hyderabad was on the theme ‘Hyderabad, enabler for Healthcare Startups’. The event featured talks by Suman Kapur( Prof, xBITS), Ravikanth( Founder, PlanYourHealth), Md. Abubakr( Founder, Dochood), Rahul(Co-Founder, Nutrifi), Suresh(Co-Founder, Nutrifi), Niranjan(Founder, Healthisall), and Venkat(Founder, eVaidya). The event also had a panel discussion moderated by Ramesh Loganathan and featuring panelists: Dr. Anthony Vipin(Consultant – Comprehensive Ophthalmology Service, LVPEI), Surya Rao(MD, BITS Incubator), Dr. Ramesh Byrapaneni(MD, Medwin Hospitals)

Some Interesting Insights from the event:

  • Hyderabad’s healthcare sector is poised to grow really big in the coming years

  • Speaking to and getting feedback from doctors would help startups understand the challenges that exist in the healthcare domain.

  • In order to boost the healthcare sector with more technological innovations, engineers and medical professional should collaborate, so they could understand the problems and brainstorm on the ideas leading to the solution.

Ahmedabad

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The theme for Startup Saturday Ahmedabad, October edition was ‘Opportunities in Food Industry and FoodTech’. The event was attended by an impressive crowd of 100+ people that included budding entrepreneurs, early-stage startups, students and professionals from various industries in Ahmedabad. There were three insightful talks by Amar Patel, Co-Founder of ButterCup; Esha Shah, Co-Founder FoodAHolics of Ahmedabad and by the Founders Rajiv Sharma, Niraj Harlanka and Khushboo Sharma of Jolly Food Fellow. The event also had a new segment – the Quik Pitch, where a 10-minute pitching opportunity was given to a pre-selected startup less than a year old. Yash Thakkar, Co-Founder Foodella, kickstarted this new segment and gained some valuable insights and feedback on his startup from the audience.

Testimonials from the audience:

“Easily the best networking value across all the meetups in the city. Thank you so much for the high quality content that you guys serve and the ease of accessibility. I keep coming back month after month and there is something new I learn always.”

“Really great efforts by the organizers and efficient speakers! It boosts our souls to follow what we love. Thanks a lot for the wonderful evening.”

Pune

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The October theme for Startup Saturday Pune was ‘Design – UI/UX’ The event was attended by 40+ people, and was held at the NCL Venture Centre. The event started with a talk by Harshit Desai, Head of Digital Transformation at KPMG India. Having previously served as Director – User Experience, Harshit shared insights on design and user experience with the entrepreneurs in the audience, who were looking for the right kind of design guidelines for their products.

Nisarg Desai, Founder of DesignTells was the next speaker. He spoke about his experience of designing interface for clients. He also displayed some of the ingenious products that he had the pleasure of presenting to his clients as the Director of Sales and Marketing at There4 Virtual Media Pvt. Ltd.

The talk was followed by a pitch by Harshawardhan Wani, Founder of a cake delivery startup called FoodyTreat. He briefed the audience about how he went about researching the market and planning his venture accordingly. There was also an elevator pitch by SocialHelpouts, a startup that helps employees find employers through a social networking platform.

Volunteer Heroes of the Month

 

Volunteers – Team Jaipur

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“The youngest team of Headstart India made a huge impact with their impeccable efforts and efficiency in managing one of the biggest pitching and funding event by Headstart -PitchCity Jaipur. The whole team did an amazing job right from inviting 500 entries, talking and calling them tirelessly till late night, making their travel and stay arrangements, managing investors, mentors and experts, inviting audiences, sponsors, partners and affiliates. Time management, to food to entertainment, everything was so well thought out that many startups mentioned that they have never attended such a well managed event ever in the past. We applaud all of them.”

–  Paresh Gupta

Himanshu Chanda

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“Himanshu was working at TCS and was super keen on startups. He started volunteering sometime in 2009-10 and super-charged the Mumbai chapter. For a long time the audience in Mumbai had a host that was fun-loving and thoughtful. Someone I personally loved watching from the sidelines. Himanshu is now running his startup ProjectHeena and working very hard for it.”

– Annkur Agarwal

Shri Harsha

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“Harsha used to sit very quietly on a corner chair in our month end volunteer meets. After about 3 months of him being there, we arbitrarily decided to change the leadership of Startup Saturdays and randomly selected 3 people to lead it. Harsha was one of them. His first reaction was a nervous – “no no no…”, but we pushed him none the less. Rest they say is history.

Although an introvert, Harsha is an outstanding executor. He earned the respect of his colleagues and became the SS lead that month. It became the month that saw the highest turnout in SS Bangalore. The month after that, broke the previous month’s record! By the 3rd month there were digital campaigns running and brand HS reached over half a million people on FB alone. That SS saw over 650 people participating. Now this is what I call consistency.

Of course it’s all teamwork, but let’s give this guy credit!”

– Amit Singh

Content Contributed by: Vyomini Katta, Apoorva Pandey, Arun Kumar, Annupreeti Verma, Sahil Verma, Ajoe Joseph, Srikanth Soni, Harshal Gupta, Amit Rawat

Edited by: Swati Ramnath