The march of Entrepreneurs Continues

Date:   Thursday , August 06, 2009

Startup vibrancy reverberated during the last week of July as Proto launched its sixth edition in the city. This one day event featured 14 promising startups from various sectors like automobile, design, clean tech, manufacturing, and high-tech media along with the most favored sector of Web and SaaS. Pune, as the destination for this edition of Proto, proved a good selection as 50 percent of companies were from the Mumbai-Pune region.

Several brainstorming sessions gave insights to the young geeks who attended the event. The hot topic of the discussions was whether there is a need of IP (Intellectual Property) in Indian startup businesses. According to Prabuddha Ganguli, an IP expert, since many new startups are coming up fast, startups need to innovate in order to be ahead of competition. Startups need to work strategically to work out how they protect their content, and this is possible through patenting their product. However, Vishal Gondal, CEO Indiagames, believes that IP can be time consuming and expensive for a startup. He says that executing ideas is more important.

Many companies are confused about the copyright laws and think it is too complicated. Ganguli says that copyright laws are pretty simple. “According to the law of copyright you don’t have to register anywhere. Once a work is created it becomes copyrighted.” Both the speakers agreed that there should be a guidance system for startups to handle IP related problems.

It was then Zensar CEO Ganesh Natarajan’s turn to give a presentation on the role of government in relation to startups. He says that the notion that NASSCOM only helps big organizations like Wipro and TCS is not true. “Government won’t come and hold your hand and tell you how to run a startup but they have funds, human Resources, and support.” He further added that things are changing very rapidly for India. He says “The reality today is that there are no jobs in traditional industry. People are now ready to invest in startups and job seekers don’t mind working for startups.”

14 startup companies showcased their products and innovative ideas through presentations. There was a lot of excitement created by the automotive sector when Vardenchi Motorcycles showcased two modified motorcycles on stage. Automotive Robotics was another company in this sector, which portrayed the use of technology to make performance of cars excel. From the Internet and mobile sectors,, eMart Solution, and Vigyaapan technologies attracted many questions from the audience. The education sector had most startups, which included Time Vision Info, Vrixx Education, Enterux Solution, and Compark Education. The software sector included ThinkCore Technologies and Aerosoft System. There were three startups that did not fall in any category, and so their section was called as Outliners. Touchmagix showed in its presentation how far technology has come by portraying its innovative sensor and touch screen technology. The other two companies were HyCa and Intsolvers Technologies.

In the concluding session, Rajeev Vij, Breadth Hosting Lead, Microsoft India explained how important it is for startups to be equipped to be successful. He feels that a company should always have their SLA in place and should review their losses. In a paneled discussion with Mahesh Murthy, Managing Partner, Seedfund, Vij answered many questions on the basic problems a startup faces. Murthy has funded many Internet based companies, and he opined that e-commerce is going to be the next big thing in India.

Platforms like Proto provide a good exposure to startups who struggle to find VC funding in the initial months. Many big companies are coming forward to help startups, and events like this will continue to help maintain the momentum for a healthy startup ecosystem.