Top 100 Karnataka based start-ups get wings to dream big

100 of the most innovative Karnataka start-ups have got a license to dream as Karnataka government opened floor to the two-day grand finale of India’s first comprehensive entrepreneurship platform, ELEVATE 100 at the Lalit Ashok, Bangalore on Tuesday, August 29, 2017.

Image for representation purpose only. Image credit: lynda.com

A brainchild of the Government of Karnataka, ELEVATE 100 programme is a combined initiative of the Start-up Cell, Karnataka Biotechnology and Information Technology Services (KBITS) Government of Karnataka. ELEVATE 100 roadshow traversed the length and breadth of the state in a rigorous hunt to pick the 100 most innovative start-ups and help them turn their ideas into successful businesses. This initiative will give them access to the Government’s INR 400 crore start-up fund as well as offer mentoring from industry experts, idea validation, advisory and legal support.

"The efforts of Karnataka government doesn't stop at elevating the chosen 100. We see ELEVATE 100 as a continuing process where the best ideas from the state gets the support and guidance it deserves," said IT, BT & Tourism Minister Priyank Kharge.

"Karnataka is home to the world’s fastest growing startup ecosystem. The government is trying to nurture this ecosystem with strong policies like the IT Policy, Start-up Policy, BT Millennium Policy, ESDM Policy and the KAVGC Policy, giving the ecosystem a strong foundation to help entrepreneurs and established industries to flourish,” Kharge said.

Delivering the welcome note, Mr. Gaurav Gupta, IAS, Principal Secretary Department IT, BT & ST, recounted the year-long journey of ‘ELEVATE 100’ roadshow, through the length & breadth of the state in search of the next big idea. “This is just one of the many initiatives aimed at creating the largest pool of talented entrepreneurs in Karnataka. Sub segments such as AI & Robotics are already being nurtured through various Centres of Excellence. A harbinger of great things to come, the target is to create 20,000 successful start-ups by celebrating and supporting them through continuous engagement,” he said.

This was followed by a chat with Bhavish Aggarwal, the CEO of Ola Cabs, hosted by KK Natarajan, Chairman, Mindtree. Attending entrepreneurs got a first-hand take of the nuts and bolts of starting up. “The Karnataka ecosystem fosters entrepreneurship and celebrates failures. Startups here need to move forward, learnings from failures and balance passion with rationality. They need to engage with the community at large," Aggarwal said.

Bhavish Aggarwal, Co Founder, OLA Cabs 
Krishnakumar Natarajan, Chairman, Mindtree 

"Valuation and value creation are two different things. Capital isn’t the end, it is just the beginning of the journey.” he added.

Shruti Mishra of CNBCs YoungTurks fame anchored ‘Stories of Success’ segment, where successful entrepreneurs Vikas Malpani, Co-Founder, CommonFloor and Pavithra Y. S, CMD, Vindhya Infotech, shared their experiences from the road not taken. Pavithra stressed on the need for inclusion in organisations.

"Beyond valuations, there is a larger social role that startups play. Startups expand the space for those with dreams to become job creators and ultimately contribute to the empowerment of society at large," Pavitra said. She recounted her efforts in bringing philanthropy and business together by employing the disabled and how she plans to set up a skill development centre that will scale up to become a community in itself.

Manish Sharma, Co-Founder, Printo, spoke about customer validation of an idea in the early stages of product development, in a segment titled ‘listening to the customers’. “Don’t react to price early in the game; the proposition will evolve,” he told the  entrepreneurs in attendance.

Startups attending the ELEVATE 100 finale were part of power-packed discussion on learning from failures by entrepreneur and celebrated author of ‘Failing to Succeed: The Story of India’s First E-Commerce Company’, Mr Vaitheeswaran K and Suhas Gopinath of Global Inc.

While startups are all the rage and many have scalable business models with the potential to soar, not everyone gets the chance to live out their potential. This valuable lesson was a part of the session by Anjana Vivek, Founder-Director, VentureBean Consulting, who detailed the science of startup valuation, with nuggets on best practices, models and real-world examples of good and bad valuations. Jawahar Bekay of Captive Aide took a ‘Masterclass on Sales for Start-ups’ which was a lesson for startups on what sells and what doesn’t.

TiE Board Member Sanjay Anandaram moderated a session on big corporates working with startups where industry captains like Nipun Mehrotra, Chief Digital Officer, IBM India & South Asia, Madhurima Agarwal, NetApp, Alok Kumar, Swiss Re, Amey Mashelkar, Gennext Fund and John Kuruvilla of  Brigade Reap spoke about the rules of engagement for startups working with the big boys.

The Pitching Sessions were held in Mysuru, Kalaburagi, Mangaluru, Hubballi and Bengaluru, where 1,700 startups pitched to elevate their ideas to successful ventures. ELEVATE 100 is the largest pool of funds that has been offered by any State Government in India for startups. It also highlights the startup climate in Karnataka, which also has the distinction of being first in the country to launch a dedicated startup policy for budding entrepreneurs and a Startup Cell that provides extensive services like legal and accounting advice, mentoring, incubator options, subsidised tariffs, and seed funding, among others.

Day 2 of Elevate 100 will hold 'The Women Entrepreneur Summit', aimed at supporting women entrepreneurs with access to mentoring and funds earmarked for women entrepreneurs. More than 300 women entrepreneurs, mostly from Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mangaluru, Hubballi and Kalaburagi areas of Karnataka, are expected to participate in the event.

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