Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Startups

There are some who spend their entire stay in IIT trying to do things not out of interest, but just to add points to their resume. As the placement season approaches, most IITians spend sleepless nights worrying about high pay packages and secure jobs.

And then there are others who believe in following their passions irrespective of the risk involved, who prefer creativity over security and have the courage to pursue their dreams.

We decided to talk to three such IIT Bombay alumni, who passed out recently and founded their own start-ups: Rohit Sai from Youtopia, Kunal Sharma from Aakar and Ankit Mehta from IdeaForge. Here is an overview of what we found on how to go about starting your very own start up.

THE IDEA

You don’t really need a path breaking idea to start with, but something you truly believe in. Your idea should not only evoke passion in you, but it must also be something that people want. The initial few months are just to enrich your experience. Most of the times, what you end up with evolves completely differently from what you started off with.

THE RIGHT TEAM

The success of start ups depends on the initial 3-4 people, nothing less and nothing more. The team should consist of an eclectic combination of people. They should possess complementary skills and leadership qualities. Most importantly, they have to be good friends so as not to buckle under the immense work pressure.

THE RIGHT AGE

Right after graduation or probably during the last year is the ideal time to start working on your idea. This is the one time when you can live on a shoe-string budget, can afford to take risks and have enough stamina to put in the amount of effort required.

FUNDING

In the development stage, start ups are usually either funded by friends, relatives or by angel investors. Angel investors are affluent people who provide some capital usually in exchange for equity. When you reach a stage where you have a fully developed product or service, you can approach VCs (venture capitalists), who usually invest large amounts of money from a professionally managed fund, in exchange for shares.

IIT AS A PLACE FOR STARTING

IIT is the best place to begin a start up. You have a huge resource pool which helps you in working on your idea or product. A large network of contacts makes it the ideal place to find your co-founders, people who have similar passions and think on the same lines as you. In fact, IIT Bombay has its own incubation center called SINE, which provides support for technology based entrepreneurship by IITians.

Not everything is rosy. In fact starting your own venture is like compressing your entire working life into a small number of years. There are problems: bills to be paid, no security, family opposition and expectations to be lived up to, but eventually it’s all worth the struggle. The satisfaction and sense of independence experienced is immense. It can be tough at times, but exhilarating all the time.

Life is very short. The only way to respect it is by abandoning your fears and following your dreams!

Rohit Sai and Gaurav Tripathi have founded Youtopia. Youtopia works in 3 fields-web based applications, mobile applications and wireless technology.

Kunal Sharma, Saurabh Saxena and Rohit Jain have founded Aakar. Aakar is an educational consultancy which provides user based services to clients.

Ankit Mehta, Ashish Bhat and Rahul Singh have founded IdeaForge. Currently, they make alternative energy based solutions.

-- Article by me and rutika for insight

1 comment:

wdp said...

nice article :)