Testimonials 2010

1. Cofounders: Samir Kamat and Swapnil Dharmadhikari

Splashgain Technology Solutions Pvt Ltd (www.Splashgain.com)

We are learning and improving each day. We started with annual turnover of Rs 3 Lakhs during 2010, the time we participated in POI, and we are on our way to achieve more than 3.5 Crore turnover.

It was our privilege to participate in ET Power of Ideas of 2010. Acquiring first few clients is always a difficult task. We managed to get reference for prospective clients from various prospective clients from various startup events, startup helping entities like TIE Pune. It was then where we have just signed couple of customers to prove the worth of our idea. Amongst the 17,000 entrepreneurs participated in that year, ePravesh® was awarded India’s Top 35 Best Ideas. It was our further honour to get felicitated at the hands of honourable Mr. N. R.N Murthy. The whole rigour of the process of selection & subsequent award, gave us the morale boost that was nothing but the conviction to march ahead on the chosen path of entrepreneurship. The award helped to build the credibility among the prospective customers. Also, investor’s fraternity took a notice of us & at least the doors were opened for receiving funding for the venture. Eventually, we blossomed & went on to receive more accolades putting pat on our back.

We are still in continuous process of learning about our product improvement from client feedback. School/ college registrar, university provided certain inputs for our product. Even end users like students, parents provided useful suggestions. We believe the urge to grow, learn and execute are important for everyone who wants to lead their own path.

2. Founder Arpita Ganesh

Buttercups www.buttercups.in

“Believe in your dream, put together a plan, be prepared for every aspect of your business /idea being questioned and just go for it. “

It’s been a long and hard journey since POI 2010. But, I owe a lot to POI and CIIE. I will never forget the experience and learning. Following a passion that is still a ‘taboo’ in India has been challenging. I am fighting myths, changing mind sets and educating even the most educated women in an area of their life that they have never given thought to or never openly talked about. Trying to explain to investors, many of them men, is a challenge because there will never be a relation to my product or offering. Also, there is a huge focus in funding towards ‘top line’, ‘mass’, ‘quick growth’ businesses rather than ‘profitable’, ‘niche’ and ‘exclusive’ businesses .

Currently having more than 1000 customers across India, Buttercups is aspiring to do a Rs 5 crore turnover. In August 2015, Buttercups has launched it’s own brand after pivoting being e-tailors for international brands such as Chantelle, , a brand that caters to over 50 bra sizes

In six years, the market has evolved and changed unbelievably. Online shopping has a lot to do with this. So does the evolvement of the Indian women. Over the years, women here have become more aware of themselves, take care of themselves, want better things and are going out and getting them. This nature of growth of Indian industry has given me confidence to take up the crowd funding route. As a struggling entrepreneur in India, you have to create a new eco system of self-fund raising because the investment community in India is still very risk averse and asks for proof of concept. A lot more entrepreneurs should take the crowd funding route as I believe it gives them an advantage when they start talking to investors by already having orders for products/ services that have not yet been launched.

3. Cofounders: S.Vijay and M V Shastry

Etravelvalue India Pvt Ltd

Started in 2007 as a bootstrap project by S. Vijay and MV Shastry as India’s first corporate travel portal. Etravelvalue is growing with over 65 corporate clients spread across India with 18 employees and profitable since 2010. With an urge to redefine the corporate travel space to make it more efficient by inventing new practices and solving business needs of corporates which they face during travel bookings.

Being a winner at POI, gave us recognition, besides the capital, it provides etravelvalue a stamp of “our model is unique” and made us feel that we stand out in the crowd. Our stint at POI was very self-assuring and it boosted our confidence especially because it came during a time when customers were slow in adoption of the self-booking model and the sign ups were few, banks were refusing to extend a credit line even after being convinced that the revenue model was good. During such time being a winner at POI gave us recognition that our model was here to stay.

4. Founder : Rakesh Sidana

MeriCAR.com

MeriCAR.com is helping car owners to search nearest Car Service station and Repair Shops and small car garages in India. Launched in 2008, there was no online marketplace for car mechanics and MeriCAR become the first of its kind to explore this "unorganized car aftermarket" in India. Starting early gave us an edge and time to go through all pivoted models that became "research" and "learning" for the team to build something Unique Business Model. The venture got seed fund in 2011 from My First Cheque and later in 2013 from Rajan Anandan, the journey remained exciting. In 2014, MeriCAR expanded across India by associating with local entrepreneurs and reached today 50 entrepreneurs partners in 35 cities. Recently, launch of Mobile App in 2015, the venture is trying to capture the aftermarket with the value proposition to provide choice, comfort and support.

POI program helped to touch base with senior entrepreneurs and helped in networking. It helped knowing the “realities” of “real” startup business from scratch to build. It also augmented our business model by helping us understand the value of technology upgrade for a growing company.

5. Founder: Brijesh Rawat

Rural Renewable Urja Solutions Pvt Ltd

Urja is a social venture which is catering to pain areas such as rural unemployment, Forest Fire, Environment issues, rising prices of fossil fuels. Being a new product to the market, capturing the confidence of initial clients was a hard job. POI helped me in building my confidence and encouraged self-belief and self-starter approach towards my venture. All the topics discussed during the program were improbable and knowledgeable, but the topic on negotiation was the one which impressed me most as I could relate it with my real time experiences. Since, our business model is to put every stake holder in a win-win situation, idea was to manufacture biomass briquettes (Energy Source) from forest waste, our sourcing is done by rural areas which in turn generates rural employment and end market is industries which are using coal with lot of carbon emissions. This involved multiple cros functional team management and negotiations. POI helps us by providing better understanding of business rules and importance of employee experience while they are on the job. Our product is renewable source of energy and usage of our product helps industries to attain their pollutions certificates easily which is mandatory for operations. Hence, my advice would be to be on the top of your product knowledge and regular training and learning is paramount if you wish to fulfill your dream and idea.

6. Founder: Rishabh Gupta

Letsintern.com

Letsintern.com is India's leading platform to connect college students to organizations - helping them start young. Presently only focused on India, letsintern.com partners with 15000 organizations with over 2 million students visiting the website in 2014, we plan to go across Asia.

We started much around ET - Power of Ideas 2010, and formed our company in 2011. Struggled two years with technology as founders were non-tech and we had a lot of assignments being offered to us which were making us a lot of money. So with poor tech and distractions marred us till 2012 end with little growth. By 2012 end, we had built a tech team - got a great CTO - Ankit Saxena and launched our first full blown product to 10,000 users in 2013 and grew 20x over next 2 years. In 2015, our focus has been building revenues as no investor would fund us (they find monetization in internships really low), but we see a different future. We want to build tools and platform to connect every college student effectively with companies across the world over next 5-10 years. We are bootstrapping ourselves to success as we believe that there's no way that uniting college students on one platform to enable their first step in corporate is a bad business idea. High traffic on our website has given us the confidence to pursue it further and with more and more brands willing to partner with us, we are sure that we are on the right path.

7. Founder: Annu Grover

Nurturing green

We started our entrepreneurial journey in 2010 with the idea to promote gifting of plants & replace dead flowers and other monotonous gifts. Over the years we have expanded the verticals from Green Gifting to decor to landscaping now. We currently have 28 stores across 9 cities (DelhiNCR, Bangalore. Chennai, Jaipur & Ahmd) & also sell through online channels with all poster boys like Amazon, Pepperfry, Snapdeal . Flipkart etc. We are growing almost at 2-3X year on year & have a current runrate of 8cr pa (Grown 40x since we won ET POI in 2010).

For me, it all started in 2009 (though the spirit of entrepreneurship come through in my genes as my generations above all are first generation entrepreneurs ) when one of my Croatian friend gifted me a Zodiac Plant on my Birthday which made me really think about the idea. With a billion plus population I thought it could be a great idea where gifting is in our Indian genes. So after coming back to India , I quit a 3 month old job in an Austrian Consultancy co & started Nurturing Green . It was a huge decision especially when I had an opportunity to stay abroad & also join my dad business which was doing good at that time. Some of the friends called me jackass & some thought I have gone crazy . My father actually didn’t talk to me for 18 months & conveyed through my mother ‘ Ped bech ke kitna kama loge, Kya zarurat hai yeh karne ki” & we talked first after we won the ET POI & my photo came on front page of ET with Narayana Murthy.

I only had few lacs left from previous job. I feel this time is the most crucial time when you are going through a huge emotional void, you have no money & investors are only seen in the newspaper, your friends leave you, people even your own family doubts if you are doing the right thing. It breaks or makes the entrepreneurs. Perseverance, strength to take challenges, never give up spirit , passion for your job all of these come in this phase. For me too it was a great experience. When I look back upon time, I feel I have been lucky enough to go through rough days & survived & came out stronger as a human being.

The starting is always tough. But it gets tougher as you grow up & stakes become high. Today also every day is a challenge with new problems & new risks which are now higher. We have 60 families dependent on us. One wrong move can change the game now. Further, another important concern being an entrepreneur is when you have started the company somehow & after 1 year of existence things are still not all rosy. Every time I had to pay salary or buy stocks, I had to beg from my sister & brother. I did it blatantly for several months. I stayed for almost a year with my Girlfriend (now my wife) who was also earning just 15k a month in 2010 for almost 1 year because I had no money to take a PG or manage my food expenses. This was a tough time. Today we have other challenges, I have got immune to such small perils, today the challenge is to grow by multifold, and be cautious to look for sustainable growth and raise funds if required.