9 college startups that went on to become big companiesDivya Chandra
Launching a startup is like an aircraft flying in bad weather undergoing a lot of turbulence. You have to be headstrong, keep your stomach tight because there are highs and lows. The lows are really low, but the highs can be really high. You have to fly through the journey you started. And where else could somebody experience these hurdles that come your way than college.
“Your first office could be in your very own hostel room,” says Rashmi Bansal.
Many students pitch their ideas, start a venture, have a decent clientele and it is all fine till the time they do anything in college. Once college is over, there is a very competitive world waiting outside. Above all, parental pressure forces students to give up their entrepreneurial spirit and sit for campus placements. Despite all this, here is a list of nine campus startups that went on to become big companies:
Fabence: Anshul Gupta evolved as an entrepreneur at a very early stage while pursuing Bachelor of Commerce at Shri Ram College of Commerce. A football and house music fanatic started his venture Fabence which is a personalized fashion discovery engine and shopping assistant. Clicking on “Buy Now” and piling up products in shopping carts is just not the same as shopping in real time. Fabence aims to bridge that gap by personalizing the products that you buy. By implementing and incorporating various algorithms and technologies, it eases the ability of a user to decide as to which product to buy.
Notemybook: While pursuing Computer Engineering from Vivekanand Education Society’s Institute of Technology in Mumbai, Divyansh Saxena co-founded Notemybook with Vikramank. Inspired by their senior who implemented a similar idea during their college days, they wanted to carry it forward and hence Notemybook came into existence. They aim to minimize the cost of education by providing a platform to the students where they can sell or/and buy books at low prices. Already functioning in 10 colleges of Mumbai, they plan to expand in major cities in Maharashtra.
Mechjunction : Satwik Mishra founded his first startup, Mechjunction at the age of 21. During his student life, he faced many challenges with respect to fulfillment of his educational needs. Hence, he came up with this idea where mechanical engineers could get everything in one place thereby promoting his field of interest. Funded by International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology (icreate), Mechjunction is live in colleges like IIT Bombay, VIT University, and MIT Chennai, etc.
Bluegape: Ayush Varshney and Co-founder Sahil Baghla were usual IIT Kanpur students who started Bluegape from their hostel rooms. Funding wasn’t really a problem for them as Sahil had an internship in the US. Printing posters fascinated them as a potential startup idea and they kicked off with buyers limited to their campus. By the end of three months they were able to get a turnover of Rs. 1 lakh. Initial stages do have a lot of flaws and they had to undergo the same that is copyright issue. It was difficult for them to check if the picture was genuine or not. Soon they started launching their own products like coffee mugs, cushion covers, laptop skins, and Tshirts and hit the Rs 1 crore title. Since then, the company has pivoted. Bluegape is now a visual blogging platform for the social age, where users can create lists and engage in a dialog with others.
Strados: This young mind believes in understanding the classroom concepts more efficiently with the help of practical knowledge of a startup. Nishanth Samala, while studying at Illinois Institute of Technology created an app Strados that translates a car’s data into emotions. It detects the car’s problem, gives a solution along with an estimate of expenditure involved which makes it easier for the user to know the problem with the car.
TunePatrol: Artists are only recognized when their music reaches out to the public. Carrying the same idea forward, a group of 4 BITSians: Brijesh Bharadwaj , Saurabh Gupta, G Karthik , and Pronoot founded TunePatrol. It gives artistes a platform to showcase their music by just uploading their song and album for the users to listen. What began as a journey in the final year was sold to a group of music executives and the founders headed in different directions.
Practo: Some real life incidents mark the beginning of huge entrepreneurial ideas. Shashank ND who Co-founded Practo with Abhinav Lal wanted a second opinion for an operation his father was about to undertake. He couldn’t track the required doctor which led him to set up a platform where patients could search for their doctors, gather information about them and book appointments. What started in final year of engineering at National Institute of Technology Karnataka, Surathkal now plans to expand itself to overseas markets and tier 2 cities apart from the top cities in India. Today, in terms of market share, Practo is the best in its sector.
Bewakoof brands: Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur. Prabkiran Singh and Siddharth Munot, civil graduates of IIT Bombay, began printing bulk t-shirts for college fest and received decent amount of orders though they didn’t want to continue doing this. Once they finished college, they racked their brains to different ideas and hence Bewakoof Brands was created. Doing justice to the humour sector, they brainstorm their creative ideas based on what the current trend is. They started with getting orders worth Rs. 25000-30000 everyday.
Dolojo: Vijith Padmanabhan is the Co-founder of Dolojo who believes in connecting people. He and his friends pursued engineering from Modern Engineering College, Ernakulam. He started with bluebag.in providing solution for cloud bookmarking. Vijith created Dolojo which is the short for ‘do, love and joy’ – all that makes a person a better human being. Vijith and his friends have created a lot of social networking websites.
College graduates know the feeling of living the college life. Nobody remembers the class time but all the conversations they had at the coffee shop or in OAT which are filled with ideas. Ideas that are spontaneous, fresh, unique, and cheap. For a campus startup to be successful, it takes a lot more than just having that awesome idea and the belief that it will grow. It requires patience, business smartness and determination to turn the hostel room nuisance into a profitable business.