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Meet the 30 finalists of the Anthah Prerana startup competition and answer these 40 questions

Madanmohan Rao
posted on 18th December 2015
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TiE Bangalore wrapped up its third annual Anthah Prerana startup competition this week with a three-day jury round for early-stage startups. Startups less than three years old were eligible to apply, if they had not received any angel or VC funding.

Winners get a two-day boot-camp at NSRCEL in IIM Bangalore (see YourStory profile of the incubator), a 90-day accelerator program with access to mentors, and Amazon Web Services credits. Out of 219 applications this year, the 30 shortlisted startups were in a range of stages: ideation, private beta, public beta, proof of concept, early customers and steady revenues.

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Here are brief profiles and links to the 30 finalists; stay tuned for the announcement of the winners next week! The three-day jury round with a dozen experts included incisive and thought-provoking questions which will be very useful for other aspiring entrepreneurs as well; here are some of the questions in the form of a question bank. See also YourStory’s compiled question banks from earlier TiE Bangalore jurors for startups in health retail and mobile space.

Startup Question Bank

The questions posed by the jurors address the founder’s motivation, vision, team, market assessment, ecosystem partners, skills and operational achievements. If you are an entrepreneur as well, see if you can answer these questions – quickly! (See also the YourStory Changemaker Story Canvas as a powerful visualisation tool.)

  1. What is there about this problem that makes you devote yourself to solving it?
  2. From Day Zero to launch, what have been your key accomplishments?
  3. How do you plan to replicate and scale your vision and passion?
  4. If you are an outsider in this space, how will your team build up the domain knowledge?
  5. What unique IP do you have, and how can you leverage it?
  6. What is the depth of relationships you have with the key stakeholders in this ecosystem?
  7. What experience and skills do you have in negotiation and co-creation with other players?
  8. What are the various process maps involved in your customer’s activities and decisions?
  9. What is the competitive map in this space, and how do stack up against other players?
  10. Is your product totally unique, or do you just have a few features that your competitor doesn’t?
  11. What is the product-service mix in your offering, and which works better in the short run or long run?
  12. What are some ways you can work together with your competitors to grow the overall market?
  13. What are the current government regulations in this space, and what changes are coming?
  14. What are the industry standards, benchmarks and awards in this space?
  15. What are your key market segments and customer clusters?
  16. How will you cross India’s complex social and digital divides?
  17. What is your key marketing message to get customers on board?
  18. How are you using technology to automate the business processes involved?
  19. How are you using technology to get new data intelligence about your customers?
  20. How are you using crowd strategies to get new tech and design inputs?
  21. What experiments have you conducted to improve your offering, and what have you learnt?
  22. How are you improving the quantity and quality of predictive insights?
  23. How are you planning to improve the way you articulate your position and pitch?
  24. How do you ensure that your app or website looks good for your customers and not just for yourself?
  25. Beyond the app or platform, what are your offline outreach strategies?
  26. What is your strategy for expansion to other geographies and languages?
  27. What are your growth hack strategies for scaling in a frugal manner?
  28. What are the unit costs and revenue streams, eg. rental, ad-support?
  29. What are your revenue strategies beyond the freebie and discounted stages?
  30. How much time, effort and cost did it take you to get your first customers and partners?
  31. What are the top three reasons why your customer may choose to quit?
  32. How are you dealing with customer complaints?
  33. How will you deal with non-paying customers, fraud, security breaches, and other such risks?
  34. What are your key success metrics?
  35. What kinds of revisions or pivots have you executed so far?
  36. What are your criteria for staying focused on your product or customer and not drifting?
  37. How will you define your brand name and identity so that it will last in the long run?
  38. What ‘failures’ have you had so far, and what have you learnt to prevent them from recurring?
  39. What are the key challenges you face today, and how are you prioritising the solutions?
  40. Is this business self-sustaining, or do you need crowdfunding or VCs to launch and scale?

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Startup profiles

Twenty-two startups were in the ‘for-profit’ category at the Anthah Prerana 2015 competition, and eight startups were in the ‘social entrepreneur’ category. Points were awarded by the jury on criteria such as the merit of the original idea, market opportunity, social impact, competitive differentiation, team competency and presentation.

Vehola is a platform that helps people connect with others in the neighbourhood to discuss locally relevant issues and get recommendations on local businesses, services and events. It enables neighbourhood commerce.

School of Fish Technologies offers mobile-enabled workflow products and services for retailers and neighbourhood stores. The solutions also offer analytics and insights from data patterns.

Woofyz Pet Services is a platform for the pet owner community, bringing together providers of services such as grooming, medical checkups, pet foods and related products.

Cheripo Tech Solutions has developed an app called LetsPool, which helps consumers pool money and share expenses with friends. Merchants can also avail of the service to promote group purchase and gifting.

Talking Street helps foodies discover the best street food in any city - locally and while traveling. Foodies can explore street food trails, and also invite street food vendors to cater for their parties.

Cushy Wallet is a mobile wallet solution which works in offline mode or online mode. It works on WiFi and mobile networks, and is QR-code enabled to get merchant information.

Yoga Bimba has come up with a range of healthy beverages called Yoga Jal, based on ayurvedic ingredients and yoga principles. Samples so far have flavours of hibiscus, ginger and wood apples.

Exclusive Marketing from Kokata has developed a membership card scheme for diners, which allows them to get exclusive deals from local restaurants.

FRS Labs has developed authentication solutions based on voice signatures of consumers. This forms the base of management solutions for fraud, risk and security, which can be used in telecom, banking and other sectors.

BendFlex Research and Development has developed patented technology for the In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) process. Based on ‘compliant mechanisms,’ the micro-grippers can grasp cells for testing and other activities.

ShopAdSpace.com bills itself as the 'Uber for advertising,’ and enables SMEs and startups to place ads in malls, apartment complexes, movie theatres and digital media such as popular websites and apps.

Cutkorners rides the wave of the rental economy by allowing cost-conscious aspirational customers to rent home appliances and electronics appliances. It has developed technology to track appliances and can switch them off if the consumer does not pay the rent.

SuperText is a personal concierge service to get tasks done through via simple text messages. It taps the wave of ‘conversational commerce’ by embedded services like delivery and errands into chat and messaging.

Eventosaur helps individuals and families organise traditional ceremonies such as poojas, by booking venues, catering, and the services of priests.

Gamatics India is an e-commerce site geared specifically for professional swimmers, with high-end swimming gear and footwear. There are also community services for mentoring, training, and talent hunts.

Marmam Publishing is an e-book aggregator for Indian-language content. Its offerings include MeraLibrary, for readers to download e-books on a rental basis.

SchoolSecure offers security solutions based on wearables and Bluetooth scanners to keep children safe at school. The movement of children is tracked, and emergency buttons can activate rescue teams from a command centre.

MeraFoodChoice allows passengers in trains to order hygienic vegetarian meals which are delivered right to their seat. Payments can be made in cash or online, for delivery in over 170 stations.

Traveo Soft offers corporate solutions for managing the travel needs of employees, based on company rules as well as employee preferences. It also provides analytics on travel patterns and recommended choices.

ShedSmart offers products and services for retailers to manage sheds and godowns. The dashboards and analytics enable pattern detection, to effectively manage space and routes.

Chai Tech offers affordable hardware and software solutions for traditional retail stores to digitally improve their productivity and risk management.

CloudBash Technologies has developed a product called ExpertRec, which offers ‘machine learning as a service.’ Retailers and publishers can leverage real-time analytics to track users and make recommendations.

Bit/Bit Solutions has developed a product called Corpool, a car-pooling solution for corporates. Companies can offer unused seats in their corporate buses to commuters, thus reducing the number of vehicles on the road.

HaqDarshak is a multi-lingual mobile technology platform used by citizen entrepreneurs to educate villagers about the benefits of government and private schemes, and how to avail of them.

ProgrammedV is cloud platform for companies to connect with NGOs for CSR initiatives, and engage employees in such activities.

Superheros Incorporated leverages mobile technology for life skills and technical training for the youth of India (see earlier YourStory article).

AccessFood helps businesses donate their surplus food at corporate events to those communities those who need it. Restaurants and hotels can also use the app to connect with NGOs who deliver food to needy communities.

Citizen Cane offers ‘transparency through technology’ for monitoring of construction and infrastructure projects. Companies can manage timeline and delivery with every contractor, engineer and employee on-site.

ProWaste Concepts offers process training and awareness workshops for citizens and organisations to segregate their waste and give it to recycling centres, rather than just throwing it away and creating environmental problems (see earlier YourStory article).

WeDoGood is an aggregator of individuals and organisations who want to create social impact. Their recent examples include youth citizen service in Delhi and volunteer coordination in Bangalore.

Anthah-Prerana

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