From reinventing how sound is experienced in concerts to creating personalised content for businesses at the right time suiting customers’ demands, start-up teams on Sunday did not leave a single stone unturned to impress a panel of 12 investors to walk away with investments worth Rs 15 lakh on the spot. Eight teams of young entrepreneurs presented their business strategies in 10 minutes each at the IIT-Bombay e-summit. In the end, four among them split the prized investment money.
With an aim of helping start-ups raise funds, IIT-Bombay’s enterprenurship cell had launched ‘10-Minute Million’, an on-the-spot funding initiative, last year. Start-ups get 10 minutes each to pitch their ideas to a panel of ‘angel investors’ for raising Rs 15 lakh. According to organisers the money need not necessarily come from a single investor. Multiple investors can pool in to invest the amount. The initiative comes at a time when IITs are increasing their commitment to support entrepreneurship on their campuses.
This year’s panel of angel investors included heavyweights such as Ajeet Khurana – CEO, SINE IIT Bombay; Kunal Shah, founder and CEO, Freecharge; Anupam Mittal – founder and CEO, People group; Sanjay Mehta – director, Core media group; V C Karthic- founder of Buzzworks Business Services; Taha Nabee — Vice President, Sales and Distribution, Aromatan Cosmetics; Suketu Shah – JMD Mukand Ltd, Samir Shah – founder director, Sattva Asia opportunities funding; Bharat Banka of Sterlite technologies Ltd; Devesh Chawla founder and CEO of Chatur ideas; Srinivasan Swamy, CFO, Bridge; Anand Ladsariya – founder, Everest Flavour; Suneel Bandhu – COO, Tata Teleservices; Vikram Chachra – founding partner of Eight Innovate; Manish Gandhi of Asian Business exhibitions and conferences ltd and Miten Mehta of social impact ventures.
Out of over hundreds of entries and registrations, eight start-ups were shortlisted. The start-ups that won seed funding were Bangalore-based Strike, a mobile-first email productivity platform for Gmail; Chennai-based Maaxmarket, which creates personalised contents for businesses thus claiming to increase their sales; and Gurgaon-based Gamooz, which claims to be amongst India’s very few start-ups that deal with augmented reality. They specialise in building augmented reality applications for mobile phones, desktop, screens and kiosks. The other winner was Mumbai-based Soundsurround that claims to have re-invented concert music by building a system that connects up to thousands of wearable speakers to give a highly immersive experience.
Lenin Srinivasan, founder of Maaxmarket, said, “The idea behind participating is not just to grab the investment but also get recognition. The overwhelming response that we got from investors was itself very encouraging.” Maaxmarket received the maximum commitment of Rs 1.8 crore, breaking last year’s record when one of the teams managed to impress the investors and get a commitment of Rs 65 lakh.
“Raising money is difficult for most start-ups. Administrative formalities and non-standardised documents make it particularly irksome for first-timers. The initiative has revolutionised fund-raising,” said Shreya Gupta, media manager of the e-Summit of the Entrepreneurship Cell of IIT-B.
Ajeet Khurana of SINE IIT Bombay and organiser of the event said that the 10-Minute Million is a great place to locate fresh talent for investment opportunities and evaluate seed funding deals. “At an early stage, even small bits of assistance that we, as angel investors, can provide to the companies can cause a significant turn for these young entrepreneurs,” he said.
In association with the Society For Innovation And Entrepreneurship (SINE), and IIT Bombay as the Corporate Partner, the initiative was part of a two-day event on January 30 and January 31 called The Entrepreneurship Summit (E-Summit)-2016, an annual business plan completion of IIT Bombay.