Shining bright at Campus Spark


Sparking up – II

A productive Sunday, with Campus Spark seeing a bigger crowd with more people joining in to experience knowledge and network to grow their team on Day Two.

By Sneha K. Sukumar from Commits, Bangalore

Campus Spark, in association with TiE Bangalore and NEN, the biggest platform where ideas, startups and initiatives stand a chance to get mentoring, support and funding, had a successful day two.

The Startup Jam II consisted of a panel which came together to discuss the support structures required right at the outset of starting up. With Shashank P.S., analyst at Bessemer Venture Partner facilitating the discussion, the panelists who provide these support structures for young entrepreneurs went on to discuss the importance of incubation, mentorship, funding and accelerator programmes. Although some jargon was thrown around, the participants seemed to know their stuff as they nodded away, making notes.

“If you have an idea, just start,” says Shashi Kiran, Incubator, TiE, one of the leading organizations geared towards speeding up the growth and success of startup and early stage companies. Talking about the advantage of being under an incubation programme, Revathy Ashok, Coordinator, Indian Angel Network & COO of B.PAC says, “It gives you the chance to take your business beyond the office space and access people you would have never met otherwise.”

Mentorship is important because it helps monetize a model. Uday Bhaskarwar, Founder, Thinking Hut Solutions says, “Mentors are important people to have. But you cannot let them run your company.” Advising the up-and-coming entrepreneurs on choosing their mentors, Shashi Kiran opines that they should be people with an understanding of the idea and growth stages.

The big question for every startup is this – We have the idea, where is the money? “The business plan needs to be spot on,” says Revathy. “But don’t be fooled by the ingeniousness of a simple idea,” says Rajnish, Microsoft Ventures Acccelerator. “A simple idea when well executed can be a brilliant one,” he says. What is more important than the idea according to the panelists is “passion,” says Revathy in one word. “Do they have the guts to take this forward and to put a winning team together? That’s what matters,” she says.

The Think Build session that began on Day One saw the top four ideas on stage, delivering those ideas to the panel in a pitching session. Ideas ranged from renting books and hiring vehicles to IT skill training programmes, science panaroma, presented by Vidyadhar Sharma, CEO, Dayanandsagar Institutions, Booksonhire by Thakur Rahul Singh, from NIT Surathkal, Rentop by Piyush Chandak, from Dayanandsagar Institutions, and SkillSchool by Minhaz Kazi, from KBN College of Engineering, Chennai. The panel discussed the high-points of the ideas and the potential problems they may have to work on.

The Wall Art was something that all of us looked forward to. Although it became floor art due to some glitches, a blank canvas with silhouettes of people which were traced when some volunteers decided to sleep on it, turned into a magnificent work of art once the bottles of paint went berserk on them. The participants had a field day autographing it like it was their piece of art and photographing it like it was something they didn’t want to forget.

Post lunch saw a talk show with Hemant Sahal, Founding President, Kairos Society India as the interviewer. Anoj Vishwanathan, co-founder, Milaap shared his story of the good times and bad as a social entrepreneur. “It is crazy,” he says. “We started out in my fellow co-founder’s house and he was married only 3 months,” he laughs, reminiscing. Anoj was specific about what it takes in his field, “Courage, exposure and good decision making,” he says. “The important thing is in the small victories,” he adds.

The grand finale of Campus Spark saw Red Bull pumping the crowd with a beat boxing session by Antony Antony, CEO and co-founder, Freakitive. His bass lines included several favourites like Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat it’ and Black Eyed Peas’ favourite, ‘My Humps’. Antony engaged the crowd by teaching us the simplest way to beat box by saying "Put This, Cut This" to various sounds that could be made with the mouth.

“I want to come up with a grand idea and showcase it to other entrepreneurs,” says an enthusiastic participant, capturing the essence of Campus Spark. To questions 'if we’ll return soon?' – Sure we are, with some more support and fun.