A lot of tech startup activity is taking place in Hyderabad. The city continues to grow as one of India’s tech startup hub destinations. We spoke to a few players of the city’s tech scene and here’s what they had to say about what’s moving and shaking in Hyderabad.
Of late, Hyderabad has witnessed the emergence of a new era of angel activity. A week ago 50k Ventures had its first public appearance at TiE Smash Up – TechStock. The new venture firm met some very exciting startups, two of which they chose to invest in. The first was VioletStreet.com, which offers social fashion shopping; and the second is Zify.co, an app which makes commuting simpler by connecting people for car pooling.
Why did the fund choose to invest in these two startups?
50k Ventures Managing Partner Sanjay Enishetty says, “We took a lot of factors into consideration while choosing these two startups. But we especially loved the team of VioletStreet.com, which is a perfect blend of technology, fashion, social media and business. We were impressed with the idea behind Zify from the very beginning, and when we saw how the execution was progressing, it was a simple decision to invest in them.”
50k Ventures is not just an investor, it aims to be a startup growth partner. The vision is to provide a platform for startups to find seed funding, mentoring, connect to co-founders, find talented resources and maybe even collaborate with other startups. It would eventually be a one-stop shop for early-stage startups, which is necessary because there is a gap in the ecosystem when it comes to seed funds and early-stage guidance.
The smash hit event
President of ITsAP, Progress Software MD & VP (Products) Ramesh Loganathan, says, “The TiE SmashUP on May 10th — fifth in the series that we started two years ago — was a great success. We had over 100 people attending. We had about 25 angels, investors, incubators and mentors, and about 75 startups, mostly founders and some soon-to-be founders. Additionally, we also had a good number of journalists attend and interact with the startups and the investors. The best part was the phenomenal interest in the Startup Seed Fund pitches at the instant decision event. And quite contrary to normal expectation, we actually had more people post lunch at the TechStock part, than we had in the first half.”
The city is buzzing with entrepreneurship activity which is seen as a viable career choice for youngsters. The ecosystem is run by self-driven and passionate people.
Startup Saturday, TiE Hyd and Hyderabad Angles have been playing a pivotal role in augmenting and supporting entrepreneurship in the city. Most events are customized and packaged keeping in mind the needs of the current and upcoming entrepreneurs and is aggressively marketed for maximum participation.
Hyderabad Angels, Director Sasidhar Nandigam says, “Entrepreneurs see immense value in these initiatives as we follow it up on each of our commitments at these events with time bound action plan. We are proud of our self-driven and passionate people involved in these events who make all the difference. We all work with a single motto of treating and serving entrepreneurs as our customers.”
“Since the last 2 years, we are witnessing significant increase in tech based startups coming out from Hyderabad. Entrepreneurship is still dominated by youngsters in the age group of 25-35 but the trend of experienced senior management coming out of big corporates is slowly picking up.”
Founder Institute in Hyderabad
The world’s largest entrepreneur training and startup launch program Founder Institute (FI) has come to Hyderabad to help aspiring founders in the city to build enduring technology companies. Nearly 17 local accomplished entrepreneurs are mentors in the Founder Institute. The mentors are selected based on their ability to convey lessons in the curriculum and sharing. After Bangalore, Hyderabad is the second city for FI to launch its program.
What does the Founder Institute coming to Hyderabad mean for the city?
Ramesh Loganathan remarks, “I am extremely excited about this. One of the challenges we see in the ecosystem is the preparedness of the founders starting the venture. While the zeal and enthusiasm is there to do a startup, and they quit their jobs and actually embark on a startup path, the relevant experience and effectiveness is not always there. And by the time they get access to serious mentoring and guidance, many precious months would have passed by in a path that is probably not the best. The startup’s idea opportunity may not have been fully validated, the differentiators not established, or GTM (go-to-market) avenues not clear, and the effort is not with a clear immediate market/revenue focus. And by the time they learn the strings, they would have gone long on a not-so-effective path and will cease to be appealing to seed/angel investors — further hampering their chances to succeed. The accelerators surely help, but this is still after the startup is in existence and has traversed some distance. It is in this light that Founders Institute is a perfect fit for us here in Hyderabad. FI is focused on the founders. It prepares the founders to be good founders. It works with them through the four months of grooming, refining, sharpening, and identifying markets and GTM, identifying revenue avenues, and taking it further along to actually incorporate, plan the organization and start off on the MVP. Essentially, FI targets enablement right at the start. It hand-holds them through actually starting up with a very sharp and validated focus.”
Hyderabad Angels (HA) receive 40-45 deals per month, which shows the amount of action that is taking place.
“HA has come a long way since its inception 2 years ago. Our member base is swelling by each passing month. We feel happy to see high quality and successful CXO wanting to be a part of this network with a sole objective of helping the ecosystem. We are very grateful to Srini Koppolu and Pradeep Mittal for their unflinching support and guidance to make HA a great success in a short period of time,” says Sasidhar Nandigam.