I am quite overwhelmed by the initial response to my modest initiative, and I thank everyone for their best wishes and support. A few of you have also very politely asked me what I am really doing right now, besides writing a blog, updating Facebook posts, and running every week to Bangalore.
Well, my primary reason to start Startopia™ was to structure my involvement with entrepreneurs and startups. Another great reason, frankly, was to be the master of my own time, schedule and conference calls! Well, while the former has had some great initial traction, thank the God of Crossed Fingers. However, I certainly cannot boast of the latter – I am certainly doing more conference calls than I have for a while!
Some of you, who have had a discreet look at my LinkedIn profile would know all that Startopia™ is doing, but for the rest, here are Startopia’s and, therefore, my current commitments :
Qwikcilver (www.qwikcilver.com ) has been a hidden gem, and is not so ‘hidden’ anymore. The next billion-dollar startup from Bangalore, it is India’s largest gift card company, and has raised Series A investments from Accel Partners and Helion Ventures. Amazon has recently invested in a Series B round, making Qwikcilver the first Indian company that it has invested in.
Startopia™ is helping Qwikcilver devise its all-up consumer and mobile strategy, including go-to-market, brand architecture, etc. I am working as Advisor to the Founder-CEO, and working with the CMO, on this initiative.
Mahindra & Mahindra
M&M (www.mahindra.com ) is one of India’s most progressive and aggressive conglomerates. While it has been successful across almost all the businesses it is in, its retail business Mom & Me (www.mom&me.in ) has not set the world on fire. Yet.
Recently, Mom & Me has got a new, dynamic, turnaround-oriented CEO, and has acquired India’s second largest baby products ecommerce company, BabyOye (www.babyoye.com ). Startopia™ is helping the company to develop an integrated omnichannel strategy, new go-to-markets, rationalise store operations, and develop a new brand architecture. I am working with the CEO, and his core management team, on this initiative.
Co-founder, Stealth Startup with IDIOM DESIGN
Idiom Design (www.idiom.co.in ) is one of India’s best design houses, in the area of product design, retail design, interface design, etc. We have formed a core founding team, which has their founders and key employees, another entrepreneur, one of India’s foremost VCs and I. The team is working on a super-exciting idea, around product design, of which I will talk about more very shortlyJ
Mapmygenome (www.mapmygenome.in ) is a Hyderabad-based startup, in the area of molecular diagnostics and personal genomics. It’s flagship product is the brilliantly-named Genomepatri, which analyses your DNA and lets you know what medical conditions you might be susceptible to. Mapmygenome is in the process of raising smart seed funding from marquee investors.
Startopia™ is helping Mapmygenome on consumer strategy, business plan, fund-raising, key people and partnerships. I am an Advisor to the company and its Founder-CEO, Anu Acharya.
Thatspersonal (www.thatspersonal.com ) is India’s leading ecommerce player in the intimate and personal products space, and of the very few ecommerce companies which is PAT +ve!. I am on the Board of the company, and have advised it through its last 2 year journey on people, partnerships, funding, etc.
Link is a bootstrapped startup (website under development), which will help ecommerce companies manage their supply chain better, through tailored products, technology and services. Startopia™ is helping Link with its business plan, investor pitch and story, fund-raising, putting a management team together and its marketing/PR strategy and implementation. I am on the Board of Link, and own Founder’s equity
Startopia™ and/or I are working with a few other startups in advisory/Board/consulting capacity. They are:
Nowfloats (www.nowfloats.com ) is one of India’s hottest startups, which creates hyper-local, SEO-enabled, web and mobile presence for SMEs in an ultra-simple and superquick way. I am on the Advisory Board of the company, and have advised it through its last 2-3 years on people, partnerships, funding, scale-up, etc.
Power2SME (www.power2SME.com ) is in the business of helping SMEs source their input requirements better and cheaper, and manage their cashflows better. The company has raised three rounds of funding from marquee investors – Accel Partners, Kalaari Partners, and Inventus Partners. I am on the Advisory Board of the company, and have advised them through its last 3 year journey on people, partnership, consumer strategy, PR, etc.
Mindhelix (www.mindhelix.com ): Founders equity and advisory, more about this fascinating company and its Kickstarted product, Rico, later…
Wooplr (www.wooplr.com ), currently an investor; will start working with it more closely
Other affiliations and partnerships
- TiE (www.tie.com ): Charter Member, TieCon Organising Committee
- Internet and Mobile Association of India (www.iamai.in ): Evangelist, App Foundation of India and Mobile 10X initiative
- Investopad (www.investopad.com ): Mentor
- Blume Partners (www.blume.in ) : Venture Advisor
- Global Superangels Fund (www.gsf.com ): Mentor
- Etailing India: Advisory Board (To be announced)
- Business World Accelerate Program: Mentor (To be announced)
It is a reasonably full plate, and a couple (or more) of them are on the way. As I go further, I will talk about these companies a little bit more, and how, I believe, most of them will change the world!