Five fledgling companies—from agricultural warehousing, customer bargains, business analytics, online legal help and educational training—who would otherwise make for a motley set of businesses, won the day at the first Tata NEN Hottest StartUps finals on Friday.
Also See Winning Five (PDF)
Bangalore’s activecubes Solutions Pvt. Ltd, Lakshya Institute from Patiala, Jaipur-based Star AgriWarehousing and Collateral Management Ltd, Takeovercode.com run by New Delhi’s Corporate Professionals (India) Pvt. Ltd, and Mumbai retailer The Loot (India) Pvt. Ltd were the five chosen from a shortlist of 30, which were selected from 588 entries, at the awards function here.
Laura Parkin, executive director of NEN, short for National Entrepreneurship Network, described the response as “tremendous”. “Hundreds of experts reviewed the nominations, and during the contest over 200,000 voters engaged in supporting their favourite start-ups,” she said in a statement.
The competition, of which Mint is print media partner, was launched in August last year.
None of Friday’s winners has raised institutional capital from financial investors. They all run on personal savings and angel investment. With the exception of activecubes, which caters to both local and global markets, the remaining focus on domestic opportunities.
The Tata NEN awards, billed as the first time public votes were counted in such an event, aimed to showcase entrepreneurship across the country, by going beyond technology and big city-based start-ups.
Friday’s winners showcased not only the geographical spread but also a diverse set of businesses.
Activecubes, reviewed in Thursday’s edition of Mint, deploys analytics solutions to help companies in India, Australia and the US solve business problems and improve performance. Takeovercode.com provides online legal and financial consulting to help companies navigate through Indian takeover law.
Star AgriWarehousing offers warehousing services to farmers, primarily in Gujarat and Rajastan. Lakshya Institute coaches students applying to the aspirational Indian Institutes of Technology. The Loot sells branded clothing at discounts ranging from 25% to 60% through sophisticated sourcing.
Tata-NEN will provide support and guidance to each of the five companies through a number of partnerships within the start-up ecosystem. “We are combining a series of activities to help finalists address key (growth) issues,” Parkin had said in an earlier interview.
This includes consultation by the Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship, which is the incubation cell of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A), free admission to a three-month entrepreneurship programme at the NS Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIM-B) for two members of each start-up, and software support for small businesses from Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.
In addition to the top five, Tata-NEN also announced special awards to four short-listed companies. Chennai’s asset tracking company Enabling Innovations and Technologies Pvt. Ltd (under brand Ennovasys) wins a mentorship award from IIM-A. Delhi-based recruitment solutions company IT CONS e-Solutions Pvt. Ltd wins the Microsoft BizSparks award. Two companies—restaurant supply chain management company Wyn Brands from Bangalore and Belgaum’s embedded systems tool company Vayavya Labs Pvt. Ltd—will be incubated at the IIM-B campus.