Archive for February, 2010

UnPluGGd – The Event for Entrepreneurs

Ah well, before you ask me, why another startup event?, here is the core philosophy behind the event:

  • Focus on Business – Over the last three years, we all have seen great products not going anywhere. Some of the companies who became the next hype, are now figuring out the survival route.
    Ofcourse, that’s how startups evolve, but if one does not focuses on business (rather, dhandha),  your kickass product will not go anywhere. And that’s easier said than done. It’s time we bring in these business/dhandha companies and have them share their experience/insights.
  • Serious entrepreneurs have stopped attending startup events in India. Serious entrepreneurs who care about their business are happily building their business and have stopped being part of the hype events.

At UnPluggd, we are bringing in startups who managed to build substantial business (they are not a startup anymore, but are small business) and have them share their insights/experience with the audience.

More details @ UnPluGGd website.


Date: March 6th, 2010 [9 AM – 6 PM]

Audience: Angels, VCs and Entrepreneurs.

Venue: Bangalore.


For any info, please feel free to email me [ashish at],

We have limited seats available and if you are interested, please grab your ticket now.

Morpheus announces dates for next batch. To invest 5 L per startup

Its really good to see a bunch of active initiatives and discussions around providing support to the young entrepreneurs who are just getting started.

The Morpheus (previously known as, Morpheus Venture Partners) is one such initiative. The Morpheus is a business accelerator and we work with companies at idea / early stage. Thus far in our Business Acceleration Program, we were investing only sweat capital. We did 20 deals in that model and have worked with a group of exciting startups.

Based on our work with these 20 companies we have raised a small corpus and will start investing INR 5 Lakhs (approx. USD 10,000) as financial capital, beginning with Batch 4 in Mar 2010. We believe that our Business Acceleration Program along with the investment could give enough momentum for startups to take off. However, we may not be the right partners for folks who are looking only for funding.

Click here to read the complete announcement on our blog. Last date to apply for the upcoming batch is March 10, 2010.

DreamCatchers! Call to Action

I am very grateful to you all for the response to my previous article: Funding for Real Innovation in India ! Unavailable. Many of you wrote to me as well as extended action/offers to the DCE AUV team. What was however in my opinion the best outcome, happened right in the beginning: Bharat (Delhi/VIN Industries) and Sameer (Mumbai/Nomura) reached out quietly and fast and helped the team with what they needed – a small cash infusion and a 15 day marketing outreach that brought up a sane view of where the vehicle would make commercial sense – and all of that without any contract, without a termsheet!  I understand now that the DCE team, very depressed, when I wrote then, is again energized and for that let me take back the last word in that headline! Hats off to you Bharat and Sameer. What I gained during my three trips to DCE so far is an enormous amount of goodwill, a deep sense of personal aha and a large number of new friends and fellow travelers!

We need a billion entrepreneurs. One of the things we discuss often in forums of young IITians like me is the idea that we must act on an issue if we are able to act, as the capability for action is a responsibility.

One Billion Minds is not a VC firm and I am not an Angel Investor. But when I spoke to some of you who wrote to me, I realize there is a need for a tier of support specially designed for early stage innovators. This tier is not about funding. It is more about helping them because we can. We brainstormed about young entrepreneurs like Bharat and senior executives like Sameer to come together in a group and help early stage innovators in small, simple ways without looking at returns at the start and in the typical way.

I have now spoken with a few friends while in Delhi and Bangalore and we are putting together DreamCatchers – a fraternity of entrepreneurs who would help early stage innovators with mentoring, access to funding and more importantly, a pilot client, working within and beyond the DreamCatchers network.

What is an early stage innovator? A simple qualification – a team that can change the way we work or live and is less than one year old as an entity.

Some of us are meeting early stage innovators in Bangalore between March 1 – 5. If you are one with a dream in your eyes email me:

If you are an entrepreneur or senior executive and wish to join us and have fun, write to me and let us start a fire. Remember, make your money elsewhere!

GrowVC – community angel investing

Interesting concept here – – entrepreneurs can now raise money from the community, kiva style. And they can invest their money into other startups to diversify their risk. With some strong on-ground facilitation (and an incentive model for the same) this can work…


Building the Green Entrepreneurial Ecosystem city by Indian city

“The nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. “ This is what President Obama said in his recent State of the Union address. Building the clean energy economy is not easy. Entrepreneurs have to start building businesses, investors will have to understanding them and professionals will have to get excited about the opportunities.

Transitioning to a cleantech economy means creating an entirely new entrepreneurial ecosystem. TiE Bangalore, CIIE and New Ventures India collaborated in hosting the Cleantech Mentoring Workshop in Bangalore, India’s original entrepreneurial city.

The workshop focused on helping entrepreneurs starting greentech companies connect with seasoned entrepreneurs who have invested in and built (mainly IT and consumer) companies and professionals who are getting excited about opportunities in start ups in this sector.

The first take away of the workshop was this: Innovative ideas in the greentech sector are around. The organizers had been careful in screening businesses that showed substantial traction and even then there were 17 companies who presented their business ideas to an audience of seasoned mentors and experienced professionals. The key sectors covered were renewable energy (solar thermal & PV biomass), energy efficiency, recycling, organic farming, water, micro hydro and green building materials.

Most gratifying, however, was the participation of professionals willing to help out greentech entrepreneurs. I counted more than 20 of them who came up to stage and introduced themselves. Given that it was Bangalore, there were several “start up” consultants who provided services around finance, accounts, IP and marketing and who had lots of experience in working with start ups. There was also one person who provided power point presentation training. But there was also participation from folks working in Wipro, IBM and Infosys who had come to understand how their companies and they themselves could plug into an emerging business. And then there were folks from India’s premier institutions – ISB and IIMs – who had come there just to volunteer their services to anybody who needed them.

And of course there were the investors and mentors Bangalore is so famous for. There was Mohanjit Jolly, Pavan Krishnamurthy and Anand Daniel, who has just joined the community. But there were others equally passionate about start ups: Murlidhar of Merittrac, Sathya of Collbrant, Nandini Vaidyanathan of Start ups, Rajeev Goswami of Shore Consulting, Pavan Soni of Wipro and “Kimi” Krishnaraj, who was already involved in mentoring one of the companies that presented.

Click here for more details

It looks like there is a momentum to build green businesses in Bangalore. But we have to do this city by Indian city. If you are a green business owner or an aspiring green professional please do send an email to and you can participate in one of the New Ventures India workshops.