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Investors’ zone is centre of attraction at COEP’s Pune startup fest

The Gamification Company offered games to the attendees at the festival and aims to use them to test their app before they launch it.

pune Updated: Feb 24, 2019 15:09 IST
Namita Shibad
Namita Shibad
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune startup fest,COEP,investors' zone
A total of 110 startups displayed their products and services at the Pune Startup fest at COEP on Saturday. (SHANKAR NARAYAN/HT PHOTO )

The busiest room at the first Startup Festival organised by the Bhau e-cell of the College of Engineering Pune (COEP) on Saturday was the Investors’ zone.

Thirty investors trooped in to check which businesses offered them the best investment opportunities. Carl Ambrose of The Gamification Company (TGC) was looking to raise funds for their SkillMuni an app that aims to democratize corporate hiring.

He said, “Too often big corporates go to big institutes in big cities. As a result the small guys do not even get an opportunity. But that does not mean that there is no talent in small towns. Our app through gamification aims to address this problem.”

The Gamification Company offered games to the attendees at the festival and aims to use them to test their app before they launch it. A happy and surprised Ambrose stated, “We wanted 75 students, however we have received 200 applications.” The amount of funds he requires is not revealed. “We don’t want to get into the numbers game just yet. That often leads to equity, stakes and so on. At the moment we just want to communicate to investors about the potential this app has to access skilled and talented students in smaller towns.”

Soubhik Dasgupta of SDG (Skills and Demographic Governance) helps in skilling of MSMEs (Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises). “There are several consultants who focus their energies on skilling for large companies. Yes there is where the money is but no one really helps small companies. We help them with soft skills training, leadership, assessment, counseling and so on.” Dasgupta currently has 30 customers and is looking for Rs 30 lakhs to expand his business onto the digital platform. “I aim to provide learning material in Hindi and later in other Indian languages. We need to train people in languages they understand best.”

Vikas Patel founder e-riyaz helps people who want to become singers. “We have designed an app where our (so far) 20,000 users can sing, learn singing from teachers and even enter into competitions. We have a You Tube channel that has got over two lakh hits. Patel needs Rs 70 lakhs to expand team of developers and marketing

Mohnish Awade was looking for Rs 10 Cr for marketing and expansion of his training services. “We teach Python and Note JS which is required for Machine Learning, IoT, blockchain. There is huge demand for people trained in these languages but not many are available.” Money rings all around the room as investors listen in carefully trying to judge which one to bet on. Who will win who will not will be known much later after the numbers have been crunched. Meanwhile startups wait with bated breaths.

Students and their startups

Gaurav Patil 21, of VJTI has started Foodiez that aims to provide home style food to students. He said, “Home food means different things to different people. We are focusing on Tier 2 and 3 cities but will launch this service in Pune and Mumbai as well.”

#Karo is a startup founded by eight people between the ages of 19 to 21. Mishri who is one of the founders said, “We aim to help youngsters spend their time productively. The hobby culture is dying so we organised an event where one could learn various hobbies like colour styling, indoor gardening, zumba, make up and so on.”

The youngest entrepreneur stall was by 14-year-old Nitish Joshi. This Class 9 student from Chinchawd Malayalee Samajam school has developed a prototype of a folding electric bike. He says, “I got the idea from a Chinese company. I improved on the folding bike and made it smaller. My bike is 14 inches in length. This means that my folded bike can be put into a laptop bag.” Nitish is looking for ₹6 lakh to develop the product. He said, “This bike is meant for last mile transport, solves the public parking problem as you can carry your bike, needs no license or registration and is environment friendly.”

First Published: Feb 24, 2019 15:07 IST