[Startup Roundup] Patna or Patiala, small towns mean big gains

[Startup Roundup] Patna or Patiala, small towns mean big gains

Sunday October 29, 2017,

5 min Read

With increasing internet and mobile penetration, the lure of the small towns should become irresistible to our tech startups. In fact, since 2015, there have been many startups that have pitched their tents away from the glitz and glamour of the metro cities.

Take the startup train to the hinterlands. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Some are trudging along while others have failed. But that’s not the point. We keep writing about them, and if I may say so, are even partial towards them. So, if you are a startup based in Patna, Patiala, Jaipur, Ajmer, Coimbatore, or Salem (you get the drift), you just need to say that in the subject matter while pitching for your startup story to us; our hearts will skip a beat, I assure you.

There's no arguing the fact that startups that are making inroads into unchartered territories need everyone’s full support and encouragement.

Here are the five startups -- among a host of others -- that we uncovered this week.


This week, we brought to you the story of a Kannur-based startup ArticBot that is betting big on machine learning. Founded by 26-year-olds V P Rahul and Rijin Ramesh, the platform offers customers virtual chat assistant in 100 different languages to address business queries without delays.

The ArticBot team

Vishal Krishna writes that the idea of building a machine learning platform to address queries was born out of the duo’s personal experiences. He quotes Rahul as saying, “It is a pain to call the customer service centre of an organisation if you are doing business with them. A machine or software can do a job several times better than a human being.”

The company competes with several others building chatbots in India. Find out how they are trying to stand out from the crowd in the story here titled: ‘Kannur-based startup ArticBot bets big on machine learning’.

The Bling Stores

Here’s another startup that we uncovered this week that has its sights set on tier II and III cities. And according to Athira Nair, that’s their unique proposition to stand apart in the crowded online marketplace for women’s accessories.

Raj Khatri, Co-founder and Chairman, The Bling Stores

The four co-founders of The Bling Stores — Raj Khatri, Manisha Khatri, Moonmun Kanoi, and Amitabh Chandra realised that even the customers in tier II and III cities are willing to spend on fashion accessories which they did not have access to otherwise. To reach out to them through e-commerce was the obvious option.

Their biggest challenge is to gain the trust of customers and inspire them to buy products online. Raj says, “When we started, this concept was new and most were still used to physically checking any product before investing. So we partnered with Shiprocket for logistics and for providing CoD.”

Read their full story here, titled: ‘The Bling Stores aims to make trendy fashion affordable for all women’.

Crusaders Technologies

Entrepreneurs should be like sea men, who can decipher what the wind is telling them. The founders of this startup took this learning both literally and metaphorically.

Kapil Chawla (left) with his team

To combat indoor air-pollution, Delhi-based Crusaders Technologies is manufacturing air purifiers and anti-pollution masks. News of how bad the Delhi air becomes during this time of the year especially is not hidden from anyone.

The air purifier market is a profitable one now. Crusaders Technologies has been developing pollution control products for years and offers air purifiers, ceiling mount unit, car air purifiers, ozone air purifier, fruit and vegetable purifiers, refrigerator ozonator, air quality meter and filter. It is interesting to see them compete with global players in this market.

According to Kapil Chawla, Founder and Managing Director, “Our USP lies in our research, which is done keeping in mind the Indian environment. Over the years, it has helped us develop products with the best filtration technology at the best price.”

Read the full story here written by Libza Mannan, titled: ‘Crusaders Technologies is helping people breathe easy with ‘Made for India’ air purifiers’.


We at YourStory love to eat and take the saying, ‘hungry for more’, quite seriously. It is not our fault that someone or the other is always starting up a food business, making foodtech an evergreen sector.

The core team of 'Be Bhukkad'

Now, who does not want to give up everything and start a cafe or a food truck business (I secretly do)? These journos made their dream come true when they traded their pens for pans. Pranshu Sikka along with his ex-colleagues Shehzada Sodhi, Arpita Ashara, and Sumeet Saurabh started Be Bhukkad, with ‘Love For Food’ as its core value.

Writes Neha Jain, “With little to no understanding of the food industry, Pranshu and Shehzada started deliveries and soon got to be known as the ‘Fortuner-waale’ and ‘Bullet-waale’ boys. Sumeet shared meals with retail customers to get feedback, while Arpita conceived algorithms and their integration with business to understand customer behaviour and commercial viability.”

Read their full story here, titled: ‘From covering news to serving up butter chicken, these four want you to Be Bhukkad’.

FOOM—First One On Me

Can there be a better cocktail than a serial entrepreneur and a food and drinks business? In my opinion, it’s a cracker of a cocktail if done well.

Lokesh Bevara is no stranger to starting up. Founder of four startups – myprepaidtaxi, 360Cabs, 360ride, and Sendthrume, he often found himself at restaurants and pubs to catch up with friends or for business meetings.

The FOOM team with Lokesh (second from right).

His fifth startup, FOOM for First One On Me, is a subscription-based platform that allows a customer to get free drinks at registered bars and pubs. Lokesh and his team have tied up with a number of pubs and restaurants where FOOM users can avail free drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

Read Sindhu Kashyap’s story of FOOM here, titled: ‘Serial entrepreneur gives tech twist to a drink on-the-house with FOOM’, to know more.

For more startup stories you can click here. And do not forget to write to me [email protected]. If you are in Bengaluru, do drop by at the Bangalore Literature Festival today, I’ll be happy to meet you.