When compared with Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru, the growth of Kolkata’s startup ecosystem has been quite sluggish. The search for better opportunities has led many aspiring entrepreneurs to leave the city.
Srikrishna Ramamoorthy, Partner, Unitus Seed Fund said,
Due to a large number of technology companies and other knowledge-driven industries, cities like Bengaluru, Delhi, and Hyderabad have attracted a pool of talent resources. And it has taken longer for that to happen in Kolkata and the eastern region in general. Moreover, Kolkata so far has not seen a huge number of success stories.
But the perception has slowly started to evolve. Kolkata’s startup fraternity now seems to be slightly optimistic, with Calcutta Angels, NASSCOM, TiE, Unitus Seed Fund, and Indian Angel Network playing supportive roles in elevating the ecosystem. The support has borne fruit, what with some startups managing to raise money.
Food retail chain Wow! Momo raised Rs 10 crore from Indian Angel Network; price discovery startup Buyhatke raised $ one million from Kris Gopalakrishnan and Japanese e-commerce and investment company BEENOS; online fashion store Fashionove raised angel funding from cricketer Umesh Yadav; and Bengal Speech & Hearing raised about Rs 20 crore from Matrix Partners.
This year, healthtech startup Tiyo has raised $120,000 of angel funding and edtech startup Chikoop has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from two Indore-based industrialists.
Although Kolkata still has a lot to learn about fostering an environment conducive to startups, here are 10 startups from the city that have the potential to shine.
RupeeVest is a platform that provides a one-stop solution for wealth management (mutual funds, fixed deposits, etc.), insurance, loans, and credit cards. On RupeeVest, the user fills in a one-time registration form after which he or she receives a mail with a printed version. Signature on that form along with producing simple ID proof is required to complete the registration process, after which the whole process is online.
Founded in 2013 by Varun Mundra, Mayank Mundra, Mitul Daga, and Shweta Gupta Bothra, RupeeVest claimed to have its assets under management grow from Rs10 crore in December 2015 to Rs 25 crore in July 2016. It works on a commission-based revenue model and does not charge the user anything. The startup receives a brokerage from the asset management company based on the business they generate. (know more)
Santa Delivers is a foodtech startup which specialises in late-night food delivery starting from 5 pm till 3 am. One can order food via the portal santadelivers.co.in. They have also started delivering lunch from 12 pm to 3 pm. Currently, the startup has a team of 14 members, and receives an average of 2,000 orders a month.
Started in December 2014 by Adarsh Choudhary, Harsh Kandoi, Pulkit Kejriwal (BCom graduates from St. Xaviers, Kolkata) and Prateek Choudhary (he did his computer engineering from BITS Pilani), Santa Delivers will come up with a mobile application for both Android and iOS by the third week of August. (Know More)
Tiyo connects patients with doctors and facilitates appointment booking. One can call on Tiyo’s toll-free number to book an appointment. The platform provides a ‘Health View’ account wherein the patients can find all the essential information about the doctors and take their call.
With a team of 30 members, the company claims to clock 10,000 appointments a day. By March 2017, it expects to reach 10 lakh appointments and have two lakh doctors on board. Tiyo is currently available in four cities — Kolkata, Bengaluru, Pune, and Hyderabad — and plans to expand its presence to 10 more cities like Chennai, Mumbai, Chandigarh, and Ahmedabad amongst others, by the end of this year. It also plans to foray into tier I and II markets by 2017.
Tiyo was launched in May 2015 by Ranna Dutta, Sandip Bodak, and Sunil Mishra. By paying an annual subscription fee of Rs 700, patients can have ample storage capacity for their medical records. It operates on Software as a Service (SaaS) model for the doctors and the initial login is free for the patients, but a fixed fee is charged after the consultation. (Know more)
Hey Kolkata, listen up! We are coming to your city on August 25 as part of TechSparks city meetups happening across India. Get ready to listen and engage with us and tell us your stories. Book your spot for free here.
The grand finale event for TechSparks 2016, India's most loved startup summit, will be held in Bengaluru on September 30 and October 1. Interested in applying to be the TECH30, this year's top 30 early-stage startups? Apply here.
Interested in exhibiting at the event to 4800+ curated attendees? Exhibitor applications here.
Want to attend the event? Get your tickets to the Grand Finale here.
For anything else write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ornativa.com is a fashion jewellery brand by Ornativa Fashion and Lifestyle Pvt. Ltd. The company was founded in March 2014 by Suptotthita Neogi along with Nabarun Chakraborty. Apart from their own brand Ornativa.com, the duo also started selling jewellery through Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal and Voonik.
It launches minimum three new collections every month has recently partnered with Swarovski. Suptotthita claims that all their jewelleries are made with Swarovski crystals and 18Kt gold plating along with 92.5 silver.
The startup sold 1100 units in July 2016 and earned monthly revenue of Rs 7 lakhs between April and June this year. Currently incubated and funded by Spark10 Accelerator, Ornativa.com has a team of eight members. (Know more)
The Yellow Straw
Founded by Vikram Khinwasara and Piyush Kankaria in May 2014, The Yellow Straw is a chain of fresh-fruit juice centres. Their core offerings include fresh juices, fruit shakes, fruit salads, fruit sundaes, and light munches like toasties and sandwiches. With five outlets, they sell 800 glasses per day.
Currently bootstrapped, they are witnessing a month-on-month growth of 15 percent, with a 25 percent overall growth. Working on a B2C model, the company claims to have around 70 percent repeat customers. (Know More)
Zeroinfy is an interactive education platform where students can buy video lectures made by teachers. Started in January 2015 by Abhishek Bajaj, Aditya Bajaj, and Rohit Bajaj, the startup also provides peer-to-peer learning opportunities and encourages students to share their personal notes with other students via their platform. It offers courses like CA, CS, CFA, UPSC, and IIT-JEE.
It has tied up with teachers from Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Jaipur, and Jodhpur, and has so far attracted the attention of more than 15,000 users. One can buy a course on individual topics or the entire course, which varies from Rs 500 to Rs 10,000. Currently, Zeroinfy has 15 employees and 40 instructors from different fields who serve as content creators and ensure the quality of the content. (Know more)
Kolkata-based entrepreneur Indrashish Chatterjee led the foundation of Need-Websites, a self-funded global IT service oriented company. It specialises in website designing, website development, digital marketing, and application and software development.
Incorporated in December 2013, Need-Websites has acquired above 300 clients globally. It also has operations in Victoria, Australia and Virginia, USA. (Know more)
The Dorm Shop
The Dorm Shop is an e-commerce platform which allows college students to pre-order all their supplies and find them in their room on the day of their arrival, even if their room allotment has not been confirmed.
The startup has tied up with colleges like IIT Kharagpur, Amity University, Ansal University, and Sinhgad University. This year, The Dorm Shop has been able to help 1,500 students and now expects a business of around 5,000 orders with a ticket size of Rs 3,000. It generates revenue from selling packages and products, course-related products, textbooks, and quirky products to new students. (Know more)
An online pharmaceutical company, SpeedMedicine claims to simplify the medication process by providing customised medication refill management. Its patented product ‘Speed Pac’ (innovative packaging) sorts daily medication according to time, date, day, quantity, and meal preference. Moreover, SpeedMedicine’s server sends patients free SMS reminders to take their medication on time.
Founded in December 2015 by Chetan and Navneet Makharia, the startup has so far served 1,500 orders per month and has a user base of above 5,000 with a 60 percent retention rate. The average order size is Rs 1,000. The startup claimed to cross a turnover of Rs 50 lakh within a span of nine months. Speed Pac provides health insurance and medical devices companies a platform to advertise directly to their target audience. (Know more)
MyCampusing is a marketplace for campus internships and entry-level campus jobs for students and new graduates. MyCampusing allows users to create professional profiles and connect directly with employers. It also helps students to become campus-ready. More than 1,100 campus job and 2,300 internships have been made possible through their community. (Know more)
“Since few fundings have been successfully executed in Kolkata, not many entrepreneurs know how to pitch a business plan or idea. Lack of mentoring and strong association among entrepreneurs prevails. The government, too, has not been able to market the fact that it is pro-business,” said Sagar Daryani, Co-founder, Wow! Momo.
Investors are of the view that startup events, knowledge sessions, entrepreneur/VC meetups will help boost the Kolkata startup ecosystem. Investor networks should regularly hold sessions for these budding entrepreneurs and give them a proper platform to present themselves. Moreover, popular B-schools should organise regular seminars and interactive sessions to encourage more students to take up entrepreneurship.
A big shoutout to all our sponsors - Zendesk, Axis Bank, Sequoia Capital India Advisors , Digital Ocean, Microsoft, AWS, Akamai, Target, Verisign, Kerala Startup Mission, Brand Launch Centre, Tork and Blink.