In one of the most needed avatars, New Venture Creation is an elective course at BITS Pilani that provides aspiring student entrepreneurs a framework to pursue their startup dream. Students take their nascent idea, form a team, imbibe from lectures, get mentored, build their MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and give flight to their entrepreneurial dream. The effort is recognized and the most promising teams get access to the on-campus incubation and pre-seed funding. The BITS alumni have played a monumental role in making the course available for the students.
What started out as an effort to create a seed fund ended up in NVC. “I was looking to create a seed fund to invest in BITSian startups. But when I spoke to the students, I learned that the real problem was a lack of education and coaching for the young entrepreneurs. And what better way to get students involved than offering a hands-on course to create their startup”, says Abhinav Khushraj, one of the NVC initiators.
Three batches comprising of 24 teams in total have graduated in the three years. There have been a couple of huge success stories. Frame Bench won the Economic Times Power of Ideas and was also incubated at IIM-A recently (a detailed story about which can be read here). TunePatrol is currently being incubated by The Hatch program. Entrepreneurship can bloom at any age and the program allows any student from any year to apply. “It requires students to identify an idea, form a team and submit a detailed application in April. Last year we had 90 applicants from which we selected about 30 students. The course is offered in the fall semester and runs from August to November. The 4th batch is going to start in August this year. So far it was offered only on BITS Pilani campus but starting this year it will also be offered in Goa and Hyderabad campuses”, adds Abhinav.
How Does it Work?
The main motive behind the course is to prepare the young students for the future so that they don’t go on to reinvent the wheel. The course is designed so that student entrepreneurs learn by doing. Each team is required to develop and launch their startup by the end of the semester. They have significant milestones along the semester which compels them to self-learn the various aspects of starting up. Further, each team is assigned a mentor that coaches the entrepreneurs and their startup. There are two lectures each week from eminent speakers in the starup ecosystem and this adds a lot of value. Some of the past speakers and mentors include Anurag Jain (Founder Laurus Edutech), Raju Reddy (Founder Sierra Atlantic), VT Bharadwaj (Sequoia Capital), Rahul Chandra (Helion Venture Partners), Vish Bajaj (CEO, ValueFirst), Anand Daniel (Principal, Accel), Gautam Gupta (General Catalyst Partners) and Sharda Balaji (Novo Juris).
The institute is not involved with the company directly after the course. However, BITS alumni recently launched a program called BITS Spark which provides continued access to mentoring and angel funding.
The Final Word
“There is a shortage of coaching and exposure that is required to create high-quality world class startups. As a result many students fall short in their ambition and don’t dream big enough. Our hope is to build the confidence in these entrepreneurs to think and achieve big!” exclaims Abhinav.
Steps like these add unprecedented value to the reputation of the institution as well as the development of the startup eco-system. More about the course here and for similar stories, check out IIM-A’s recently concluded iAccelerator Program.
– Jubin Mehta