Pranav Bhatia has been involved with startups for more than a decade. He worked with a few educational test prep startups and took the plunge to start his own venture ZIGEDU Learning Solutions to leverage technology in educational methods used in colleges across the globe. Later, ZIGEDU acquired the Indian operation of a UK- based group, and Pranav founded Lemon Interactive Inc, which provides tech solutions and develops internal proprietary products.
With over seven years of experience in educational ventures and guiding more than 20,000 students across classrooms, Pranav strongly felt the lack of platforms which help grow and nurture early entrepreneurial minds, creatives and freelancers. In August last year, he launched Stirring Minds, a co-working space-cum-incubator for startups in Delhi (NCR).
Stirring Minds has an 8000 sq ft co-working space at Asaf Ali Road near Connaught Place (Delhi). “Being next to the Delhi Stock Exchange we are in the midst of some of the biggest Indian corporate houses. That makes us one of the only co-working hubs located at the centre of the capital with easy access to resources, clients, vendors, employees, interns etc.,” says Pranav.
Pranav believes that internal co-working environment should not be too isolated from the outside corporate environment, as it does bring in benefits which play a big role in a startup’s success.
Stirring Minds is equipped with facilities like flexible workspaces, conference/meeting rooms, cafeteria, printing, lounge and event/workshop areas. “We are open 24/7 and provide admin/tech and HR support to our startups and co-workers,” adds Pranav.
At present, around 21 startups and 53 co-workers are working from Stirring Minds. “With promising dollar-funded startups to Ivy League alumni, we’ve seen some of our co-working startups getting noticed globally,” reveals Pranav. Over the past six months it also hosted couple of entrepreneurs and investors events, including hackathons and skill based workshops.
Stirring Minds leverages its physical presence in the Bay Area, California, to offer connect and support to the Indian startups on a global level. Besides Stirring Minds, we are also working on creating an online product to connect startups, mentors and investors online,” adds Pranav.
The company generates revenue via membership fees and intends to build its valuations on the exits from their investments into startups. The startup has not launched a formal incubation/funding model as of now but it exchanges equity for services which differs on a case to case basis. For co-working plans, it charges on individual basis and has flexible part time (Rs.2,999) and full time (Rs.5,999) plans, including day passes (Rs.399) and virtual office services (Rs.1, 999).
So far, Stirring Minds is a self-funded venture, mostly from the exits of Pranav’s earlier ventures. Like evolution of any other startup, it has grown from a small co-working area to a fully functional 8000 sq ft area across multiple floors.
Initially Stirring Minds did face challenges considering people are still not aware of the co-working concept. “To ensure a healthy knowledge sharing community, Stirring Minds had to reject some ventures which did not fit into the culture of the place, and it was tough to take those decisions when we were just starting up,” says Pranav. Another challenge was furnishing and renovating the unused areas while co-workers were working round the clock.