Startup News: Magicflix Wows At Techstars Demo Day 2014

We love Magicflix!

–> From Startup Next to Techstars: Magicflix is bringing safe video content to your mobile device

After their Techstars demo day, we’re glad glad Geekwire agrees.

–> Techstars Seattle Demo Day 2014: Our 3 favorite startup pitches

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Indian Footwear Capital’s Debut in B2B Tech Startups

This post is written by Supriya Rathi. 

It was their last semester (Jan 2014) pursuing Economics Hons @ Delhi University , when Siddharth  & Chaitanya felt an urge to start something of their own, create something that brought value to businesses around them and that’s when it all started !

Siddharth Vij, hailing from Agra – which apart from being famous for Taj Mahal is also India’s biggest footwear manufacturing capital, had this innate desire to revolutionize this industry. Chaitanya Rathi, hailing from a business family from Gwalior – which is known for the Scindia Fort & many other historical sites, had realized that there was a need to bring in technology to revoke the growth of local businesses and make them flourish beyond their current reach. The entrepreneurial juices had been flowing inside their nerves for some time now, as both had already set on that path much earlier. While Chaitanya was learning business & strategies from his endeavors at Economy Decoded (Core team member) , Leotaur (Founder), Media Is You, etc. , Siddharth was building management skills & social circles at University Express (Co-founder).

It was with all this amazing experiential learning and most importantly a TEAM of friends – Fashion forward Charuka Arora, Graphic designer & techology enthusiast Siddharth Rastogi, and Researcher & creative writer Aditya Madhusudhan, that the making of Agra’s 1st B2B tech Startup – Bizcrum began.

It was all well planned since the inception. They knew that what they needed to build is a platform where businessmen could connect, exchange & grow Glocally (globally + locally). It was not just the need of the market, but also the founder’s personal connect and the market scope, understanding of the domain, that led to the decision of choosing the Footwear Industry as the first segment to start with. Shoekonnect was conceptualized as a business social network for the footwear industry which aims to bring together component suppliers, footwear manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers on a single platform.

The team started brainstorming on their ideas, doing everything beyond their comfort zone to get to the point where they had successfully validated their concept by talking to over 200 footwear business owners, understanding their needs, designing rough mockups of their platform & building strategies around the business model. They did not wait for help in matters of technology as they could clearly see a lot of ground work was required before even starting to worry about that concern. Instead, they created something which added more value to their future product – Biznista.com:  e-Magazine that delivers fresh news, trends, insights about the global footwear industry – Manufacturing  , Fashion , Brands, Retailers,Interviews etc.

 

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The Bizcrum Team

[From left to right] Aditya M. | Charuka A. | Chaitanya R. | Siddharth V. | Sumat N. | Siddharth R.

It was already June 2014 by the time they had launched Biznista & the time had arrived when they were struggling to achieve their self-imposed deadline for their key product. Shoekonnect was ready to materialize from prototype to an actual product but there was a deep trough to be traversed to reach the crest. After meeting countless number of techpreneurs in Delhi, Bizcrum finally found it’s Kohinoor back home at Taj city. An old friend – Sumat Nanda, an assiduous & passionate tech entrepreneur joined the founding team and that’s when Bizcrum felt complete. Looking for an entrepreneur and that too with experience in technology in the small city of Agra, was almost like searching for a pin in a hay stack. But, as they say – “Those who believe, sure do achieve”.

Though it was tough but they continued to work during their final exams, only to realize that what came next was 3x tougher than that. College was over by June 2014 & it was the next 2 months when the entire team had sleepless weeks, field studies, meetings with businesses & some even had to take up jobs to support themselves and the technology infrastructure costs.  Building the product was one herculean task but creating awareness about it’s presence was much more and that’s where the entire team functioned like a well-oiled machine. While Charuka & Aditya took charge of Biznista.com, Sumat, Siddharth Vij , Chaitanya , Siddharth Rastogi ensured that they worked day and night to address all technology & business challenges faced by ShoeKonnect.

While parents supported the risks taken by these young entrepreneurs, prominent public figures/organizations such as – Rakshit Tandon (Cyber Security Expert), Puran Dawar – Chairman of Dawar Group (Leading Indian Footwear manufacturer) & AFMEC (Agra Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters Chamber) etc. encouraged them by guiding & expressing their confidence in the product. The whole endeavor couldn’t have been grand without the help of seniors such as – GP Sharma, Ravi Saini & Rittwick Visen , the creative team of – Rishav Kumar, Varun Gupta & several bright student interns.

It’s been just a month since it’s launch in September 2014, and Bizcrum’s Shoekonnect has already on boarded 50+ businesses including some international users. Bizcrum also conducted events in association with NASSCOM’s 10,000 Startups (India’s most promising Startup Program) to spread awareness about entrepreneurship in small Indian cities such as Gwalior & Agra and has been covered by National & Local Media houses such as – Hindustan Times, Amar Ujala etc.

#Bizcrum became the fourth most trending tag on Twitter in India leaving behind Anushka Sharma, Virat Kohli, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber!

Bizcrum is a Business Social Network – a connection centric B2B portal that is created to facilitate communication amongst entrepreneurs. BizCrum derives its spirit from the word ‘fulcrum’. Fulcrum literally means ‘to raise’. Bizcrum aims to become the fulcrum for business enterprises which they can use to raise themselves to great heights.

LIKE BIZCRUM ON FACEBOOK

Going forward the team aims at building similar solutions for other industries so as to accomplish their mission of bringing the about the next big evolution in building & growing business relations as well as global commerce.

With immense belief, team work, hard work and little savings one can build a startup out of anywhere !

 

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This is the first hand version of how Bizcrum started up, as seen closely from inception till date by Supriya Rathi.

Supriya is a budding entrepreneur who loves to explore possibilities, converse, learn & implement ideas. She is a Gold Medalist & holds a B.Tech. in IT from VIT University Vellore, along with 3+ years of Business Analysis & UI Design experience at Standard & Poor’s Capital IQ – Mc Graw Hill Financials. Apart from working on her own ideas and designing, she spends her time helping & promoting Start-ups. Currently, she is a fellow at Startup Leadership Program Bangalore 2015.








The Wall Street Journal Reports: It’s a great time to be a founder.

David Cohen reports, via the WSJ, about innovation going on within the accelerator world. Even more interesting, what’s going on in the pre- and post-accelerator worlds.

Accelerator programs can be a strong fit for early-stage companies looking to fast track their business. But what if you’re interested in entrepreneurship and don’t know where to start? You have a great idea but don’t know how to bring it to life.

UP Global and Startup Weekend have put together pre-accelerator programs for hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs trying to turn their ideas into businesses. UP Global’s Startup Next program helps startups increase their chances of being accepted to an accelerator, while Startup Weekend is a short, weekend-long hands-on program that teaches companies about idea development, finding customers and building a minimal viable product. A recent partnership between UP Global and the Global Accelerator Network (GAN) created a new kind of event that gives startups going through Startup Next a chance to pitch themselves to more than 50 GAN member accelerators. These opportunities are a great entry point into the world of entrepreneurship, with very little upfront commitment on behalf of the startup (there is no equity transfer).

Then comes the accelerator program, a short term (typically three month) program that gives startups funding along with access to a wide variety of resources to build their business (investors, mentors, partners and other connections) in exchange for equity. The program culminates with a Demo Day, where each company pitches to hundreds of angels and VCs.

Lately at Techstars we’ve seen an increase in later-stage companies applying to accelerator programs, not only for the benefits of the program but because of the value of an accelerator’s network — thousands of successful entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and corporate partners for things such as M&A, biz development, customers and talent. That network value lasts a lifetime, whether you’re starting your first company or your fifth.

The challenge for companies that are a bit further along is that they may be skeptical of the value they will receive from accelerators. For top accelerators, the true value lies not only in the short-term program but in the vast network surrounding it and a lifetime of support.

We took this skepticism out of the equation when we rolled out our equity back guarantee. Why shouldn’t accelerators offer a “money back guarantee” in the form of equity? Now, if you’re a founder who wants to get efficient and focused feedback, challenge yourself to be better, build your network and leverage a massive accelerator network, you can do it in a completely risk-free way. Don’t you wish all businesses followed suit? Your cable provider? Your lawyer? Your chiropractor?

The early-stage landscape for startups is evolving. Founders now have more support and funding options than ever before. This extends from the time you have an inkling that you might be interested in being an entrepreneur through to accomplishing your dreams. It’s a great time to be a founder.

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Your Weekly Roundup: 10/28 – 11/1

Innovation Story of the Week:

Easy Taxi Lands $7M From iMENA To Expand In The Middle East.

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Rocket Internet and iMENA Holding have announced that they will partner together to launch mobile app Easy Taxi in the Middle East and North Africa.  $7 million represents the largest funding so far for a mobile app business in the region. In July, Easy Taxi received $10 million from Africa Internet Holding (AIH), a joint venture between Rocket Internet and AIH’s 35% owner Millicom, a telecoms operator. The two investors had previously invested $15 million in Easy Taxi in June in order to expand Easy Taxi in Latin America.”

Below is everything you’ve missed this week in the UP community: 

President Obama taps UP Global to support new entrepreneurs globally

“The government may be shut down. But you can’t extinguish the entrepreneurial fire that easy. In video remarks at the 4th Annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia today, President Barack Obama stressed the importance of entrepreneurship and he singled out Seattle non-profit UP Global (best known for its Startup Weekend events) to help carry the flame forward.”

Egyptian SW Team Eventtus (2011) Goes Premium with Vodafone Investment

“After meeting at Startup Weekend Cairo in 2011, the founders of event organizing platform Eventtus launched their startup in late 2011, quickly enabling event listings around the globe. Now they have just secured their first round of funding at EGP 1.2 million (US $174,145) from Vodafone Ventures Egypt and Cairo Angels, which they hope to use to begin formal marketing, launch a new monetization strategy, and expand their reach across the region and the globe.”

UP Global’s Marc Nager: ‘There’s no one way to build a company’

As the CEO of UP Global, Nager coordinates Startup Weekend and a number of other non-profit projects all designed to make entrepreneurship possible by connecting people and technologies, and helping innovation happen. In this episode of Nextcast, Nager tells his secret for maintaining a work-life balance, and shares his best tips for making it as a successful entrepreneur.

The AWS Report – Marc Nager Talks About Startup Weekend

I spoke with Marc Nager to learn more about Startup Weekend and how they answer the question, “where do you go when you have a great idea” He was me through the 54 hours of the weekend (which starts on Wednesday in some countries culminating in the stimulated investor pitch, and tells me about his new project, StartupDigest.

The Future of School, One Piece at a Time: Startup Weekend EDU and 4.0 Schools

“The iterative, fast-paced nature of what 4.0 and Startup Weekend are doing reframes the debate about how to make school better. Instead of huge, risky bets rooted more in politics and theory, our approach is to get as many curious people as we can iterating their way forward – together. Step by step. Around and around the loop – build it, share it, get feedback, tweak it or throw it out and go again. This is a radical shift in mindset, one that reflects the way kids will need to engage with the world, and one that educators everywhere need to embrace, too.”