‘90% of the employment contracts are not enforceable by law’ said the mailer to the event. The theme for August’s Start up Saturday was ‘Legal’ and till the point I read this startling fact (mind you, 90% is like almost every contract) I never even thought of questioning what’s written in a contract. It’s written in my contract, so has to be enforceable by law, isn’t it? “Not really”, says Ramanuj Mukerjee, co-founder of ipleaders.com. Interesting. I had to attend the event to know more.
The event kick started with a quick round of introductions. We had entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, students and professionals from sectors as diverse as healthcare to ecommerce.
First up, Deepak spoke about his venture, craftedkids.com, http://craftedkids.com/ a platform to discover talent among children below 13 years of age. Deepak, an NIT Bhopal graduate was working in IT industry for 13 years when he decided to pursue his passion of starting up. Not counting the infinite reality shows that restrict themselves only to singing & dancing, he reckoned that there is no credible platform for spotting talent such as painting, drawing, essay writing, playing musical instruments, puzzle solving etc among kids and this is how the craftedkids.com emerged. Craftedkids.com hosts competitions for children below 13 years, where the best talent is spotted both by a panel of experts and the parents themselves. The uniqueness of this platform is the registration for events is absolutely free and there are plans to speak to confectionioary giants like Cadbury, Nestle for sponsorship. It’s been great progress for company that is barely 4 months old.
Next up the most awaited lecture on ‘Psychedelic contracts – How to negotiate like a boss’ by Ramanuj Mukherjee, a law grad from the National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS), Kolkata a top law school in India. After having worked for a corporate law firm in Mumbai on PE, M&A deals, he co-founded ipleaders.com, http://ipleaders.in/ a website that helps make law more accessible and believes that ignorance of law is not an excuse. Every start up has a story, and even ipleaders.com has an interesting story to tell.
Back in 2007, Ramanuj was interning with a reputed law firm in Bangalore and an IT company that was unable to control attrition consulted this firm to enquire whether they could add a clause to employee contracts that would prevent their employees from leaving. Ramanuj’s team looked up the law and said such a measure is impossible and that every employee is empowered by the Constitution of India to leave at any point of time. Six months later, a young IT professional consulted Ramanuj’s firm with a employer-not-letting-me-go problem and when Ramanuj had a closer look at the IT professional’s contract – imagine his shock when he realized the professional worked for the same company he had clearly advised that they could not put in clauses that the employee had to pay for the damages, and that he cannot join competition. It was then, Ramanuj realized that like the young IT professional, many of us are unaware of our legal rights, and in an effort to make law accessible, the idea of ipleaders,com was conceived.
In the next one hour, Ramanuj educated us about contracts, about their widespread presence in every day life. He spoke about stamp duty, about the facility of e-stamping contracts, restraint of trade contracts with employees/channel partners. He then moved on to negotiation of contracts and let out trade secrets like how lawyers always make a heavily one sided contracts and that you should give them just what they need, and fight everything else!
After a myth shattering lecture, we had a demo by Joseph who explained to us his product called Scrum Organizer, http://scrumorganizer.com/ a tool to improve productivity in companies. For companies that do not wish to invest in ERP and expensive project management software, Scrum Organizer offers alternative software that is simple, effective and convenient.
Concluding the day’s events, we had an interesting product called Mistakeopedia.com http://www.mistakopedia.com/. Srinivas, the founder opined that there is a mind boggling amount of information that is generated everyday on the social network, and his idea is to organize this data, which essentially goes waste. This knowledge waste management tool encourages users to be brave and share their mistakes, on topics ranging from politics, computers, confusion, children and many more. While Srinivas is still figuring out how to monetize his product, Mistakeopedia.com has already generated waves in the start up space.
All in all, a wonderful session with interesting product demonstrations and the networking that followed encouraged introductions and ideas to be share. And a lucky few, even found a potential co-founder for their start ups.
~ written by: Aditya Ravi
Aditya is a graduate from one of India’s top schools, and works for an exciting biotech start up in Bangalore. Outside of work, he likes traveling, reading, learning languages, analyzing sport and doing the occasional sprint in the neighborhood gym. Sooner than later, he hopes to start up in the healthcare space.
Amit Singh is the co-founder of Headstart – India’s largest early stage startup community. He has a keen interest in startups, technology and design. He runs an award winning product engineering firm called Wow Labz in Bangalore, India. He has invested in multiple startups via Wow Labz as well. He has also cofounded Design Day – a pan India design community