5 Refreshingly OffBeat Ventures

When one mentions a startup, it’s not unnatural to picture two nerds tucked away in a garage coding away days at a stretch. A typical image of a startup venture is that which involves technicalities well beyond the grasp of normal mortals. Besides this, there are startups in the creative, green, financial and other spaces but all work with a very strong underlying motive of making money and they all have a ‘revenue model’. This, by no means is a matter of ridicule but I’d like to bring to notice some ventures which are there purely for the love of life. Via this post, I’ll try and aggregate some of the ventures which were started with a motive of blowing in a breath of fresh air into the world, few ventures that might put a smile on your face.

1)      The Gandhigiri Shop

Banking very highly on the value system, the Gandhigiri shop is no regular stationery shop. Why? This shop is unmanned and you can just walk in, pick up an item and drop in the amount you’re supposed to pay in the coin-box. Started with a Rs200 capital in his hostel, Narayan Palani, the man behind the venture has now extended the vision to many other corporates as well and has been recently put in place at HR Scholars.

2)     Seva Café

Coming from the land of Gandhi again, Seva  is an experiment in the shared joy that comes from humble giving and selfless service as they put it. Seva means as service and a person dining there is not viewed as a customer but is treasured as a guest, a part of the family. There is a predecided different menu everyday but with a support statement like this- “When you dine at Seva Café, your meal is offered to you as a genuine gift, already paid for in full by previous guests. You become part of a Circle of Giving, which is modeled more closely to that of a family. Here, there are no bills. We leave it to you to pay it forward with your heart,” the concept is just heartwarming.

3)    Jaaga

Founded by Archana Prasad and Freeman Murray, Jaaga is a community space built from Pallet racks in Bangalore. Jaaga aims to provide support and nurture innovative endeavors by making the basic necessities space, a sociable environment and core infrastructure available. Jaaga is supported by a nominal INR 500 membership fee which allows one to hold events, access to interent and an unlimited accessibility to space. With a very amiable environment, Jaaga has become the place to be for people interested in a wide spectrum of subjects.

4)    Photography On The Move

POTM is all about photography and travelling. Brainchild of Santosh Kumar and Supriya Sehgal, POTM holds workshops in exotic locales around India. POTM spends a lot of time researching about a place and all the unique destinations that have grand local festivals like the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland or the Sanke Boat race in Kerala. An absolutely delightful team and a salubrious combo of travel and photography, POTM is defeinitely one of the most refreshing venture.

5)    Rainmaker’s shack

‘Quirkiness’ is the word here. The smooth Pune-Mumbai expressway stretch is mostly known for the amount of time it manages to save but there is a very healthy distraction midway; Rainmaker’s Shack. Run by Danny and Matthew, Rainmaker’s shack is for the young at heart. More known as the Secret Lodge now, RS has gained a huge fan following and definitely has a story worth knowing.

There might be many other such ventures in India. Do you know of any in particular? Please do share, we’d love to know.

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About the author

Jubin is an old timer at YourStory. Deeply entrenched in the Indian startup ecosystem, he has written about and analysed more than 1000 startups. He operates from the mountains in Dharamshala where he plays with technology, farming and eco-construction. He can be reached on Twitter @jub_in and on mail at

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