After slogging through weekdays usually you would find people waking up late on a weekend morning. But the attendance for Jan 2015 session for SS Pune belied all that. People streamed in and soon participating in the session.

Arti started the proceeding with speaking about Headstart and its various initiatives followed by a round of introductions by the attendees. She then had me introduce the guest speaker whom i am fortunate to know for the past some years.

Yes Year 2015 was kicked off for Startup Saturday in Pune with an interesting speaker namely Sahil Khan who is already a serial entrepreneur all the age of 26. He took the stage and spoke impromptu regarding his entrepreneurial journey which is already since more than 6 years old.  This is because he became an entrepreneur at the age of 19 while still in college where apart from UG business management knowledge he picked up technical as well as design skills. His passion for food among other passions prompted him to start TOSSEDSALAD an online lifestyle magazine, a concept which was almost unheard in the ecosystem,  let alone run by a college student. ARTS, BOOKS, MOVIES, FOOD were some of the things covered by him & his team of volunteers. FOOD reviewing soon became a passionate profession as he began reviewing restaurants & hotels though at his own terms.

Seeing his entrepreneurial spirit and his knowledgeable interest in food he was offered to be part of YOLKSHIRE an egg specialty restaurant when just out of college. He put in social marketing and foodie skills to help grow the menu as well as customer base of the place within a few months. Eventually he moved out of the venture due to creative differences but food always remained in his mind.

This gave rise to the idea of creating an APP which could cater to desire of foodies to find a good place regarding a particular food item or trying to know what was the specialty of a particular food place. Eventually he found a co-founder who had similar ideas and they came up with a name DISHOOMIT. Due to possible copyright issues they had to change it to QUINTO but the subscribers base only kept rising.

All this was explained by Sahil in his typical informal style and made the audience quite receptive to the ‘GYAAN’ that he gave. Clearly the audience seemed impressed by his entrepreneurial abilities as well as took interest in hearing out his varied experiences during his journey as an entrepreneur. An elaborate Q &A session followed in which Sahil trying to answer every query to the best of his abilities.

It was followed by a presentation by Amol Ashtikar who presented his venture ChayaPurti which is a social entrepreneur venture. This he explained basically with resolving the issue of providing comfort to vehicle owners especially 2 wheelers who seem to swelter during the heat in summer months. The shelter placed high above near the traffic signal will provide them with protection from the sun as well as display advertisements from interested companies about the products. He has named this ‘ADOW’ which is an amalgamation of an advertisement board + the shadow that it would provide.

He has already applied for a patent and has a prototype ready for trials. Having met stakeholders from  the industry as well as govt. officials he is now looking for seed fund to take it to the next level. The Q & A that followed clearly showed that he had a great idea and a lot of people would be interested in adopting this technology.

 Following this Arti suggested an activity which got the audience involved actively. She first displayed a video where entrepreneurs meet an investor in an elevator and have 30 seconds to pitch right there before they have to exit. She then invited people who could try pitching to an investor (i volunteered to take this role) and impress the investor with their pitch.

Some enthusiastic potential entrepreneurs did try to pitch in under a minute and feedback was taken from the audience regarding their performance. The suggestions that followed from me and some other members helped to improve their pitching abilities when one of the guys pitched a second time around.

Clearly exchange of ideas got the energy flowing about this important aspect of entrepreneurship. This was indeed the +ve note on which the session ended and people were clearly enthusiastic about attending the next session.

To summarize it was a very useful Startup Saturday session and set the momentum for more engaging sessions to be held in 2015.

Write up by:

Amit Rawat

Headstart Pune Volunteer

IT Consultant (Software, Hardware & Networking), Technical Content Writer, Book Reviewer, Social Media & Promotions @PILF (Pune International Literary Festival)