Five students at PSG College of Engineering join hands to execute projects for clientsWhat will happen if five students start a discussion? It would normally first start with girls, then films, then studies, then profs and their pranks, and sometimes centre around the future plans, the restlessness to initiate and do something, maybe for fun or for making an impact really. Maybe all students are not the same. Some may be serious not to talk about profs, not about girls, not about films. With the entrepreneurial talk in the air now higher than ever, students now think startups and many end up starting one still in college.
The fivesome – Arjun Raman, Vishnu Rao, K. Balamurugan, Shyam Gopal Swamy and Rama Subramani – thought of learning something outside the classroom during their fourth semester. They are now in their fifth semester at PSG College of Engineering in information technology, theoretical software and computer science streams. They found that people buy off-the-shelf software for as costly as Rs. 10,000 and still some do not address their pain points.
Arjun, one in the group, says, “We felt that we could change this and help people while at the same time learn new technologies. Initially we created simple account management software for our relatives and later on got more projects through their relatives. For every new project, we try to use a different language so that we could learn new technologies every time. Initially even if we feel the project is beyond our capability, we take time to review the problem and discuss among ourselves to combat the problem in different ways. Internet has been our best teacher and we found a lot of help online. The learning curve has been high but we are happy for what we started almost 6 months back. We continue to work on projects and sometime down the line, we hope to start a company of our own. The best part of it is when we see it for ourselves that our software has made someone's life easier and that's what motivates us further.”
They now offer services like building websites, developing ERP solutions, creating mobile apps, applications specific to people’s needs such as VirtualCash (this is basically a cash management system that Arjun and Vishnu developed for my startup). On the final note, Arjun says, “We haven't given a proper name to our company. We are just a group of individuals but collectively work on the projects.”
What the overall discourse on entrepreneurship in the media, colleges, talks, seminars et al. has created is it has sown the seeds of confidence in students like Arjun and co. to think that starting up is possible. But they now execute projects for learning and perhaps are not aware of what it means to run a company. If adequate support services are available in colleges to encourage such students, many startups will spring up. The flip side of the coin is also that these students are not aware of the many initiatives undertaken in colleges by NEN and Technology Business Incubators. Now the question is how do you tie the knot? We at YourStory believe that by exposing these initiatives, an awareness is created among the startup community that someone may come forward to help and mentor these student initiatives leading to a viable startup eventually.–Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy