Ventures to watch in 2013

Ventures to watch in 2013

A new year brings new hope to entrepreneurs, and for those looking for inspiring ideas, here is a list of ventures to watch out for this year:

TAPPRS is a photography rental company based in Bangalore. They run photography equipment rental as a flagship service. They also run a photography marketplace and a service to find photographers for any event. It is run by Prem Sagar, a passionate entrepreneur who started as a hobbyist.

is an art-cum-science factory that provides social media marketing, strategic branding, and research-based consultancy for the movie industry. It was started by Sharath Chandra and is based in Hyderabad.

ESPARSHA is a merchandise and apparel e-commerce retailer targeting colleges and young people across India. It was started by Nalin, Karthik and Satish, alumni of IIT-BHU.

Ablab Solutions: Bhubaneswar-based Harsh Wardhan started Ablab Solutions to train college students on robotics and technology areas.

INC42 by Utkarsh Agarwal is an online magazine for the country’s youngsters. It covers generic as well as specific topics of interest to young India.

SOCIAL BUZZAR: Mayank Jain started SOCIAL BUZZAR to cater to the demands of social media marketing and application development.

by Sheetal Kharka is a social enterprise with a purpose. It aims to highlight stories of heroes in our society who are overlooked by the mass media.

In this Odisha-based startup, Subrata Pandey has blended design and engineering to bring together ethnic products for customers.

ECCENTRIC ENGINE: Based in Mumbai, it is a full-fledged digital creative and content agency. Started by students, it has now grown to the next stage and has been doing exciting work for corporate clients.

PURPLLE.COM: Started by Manish Taneja, an IIT-Delhi alumnus, it provides beauty and grooming services (Industry size is `13,000 crore), which is a very integral part of the beauty industry. The company plans to list salons and beauty clinics in major metros.

Pencilcoders is an innovative startup by Sudheendra, a BITS Pilani undergraduate. It focuses on web 2.0 technologies and helps businesses build rich web experiences.

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Finding the right mentor

Mentoring is like the Krishna-Arjuna relationship in Mahabharata, where the mentor and mentee are connected Krishna does not fight the war, but his guidance is what wins the war for Arjuna. Similarly, for an entrepreneur to succeed in his venture, it is important to find the right mentor. Here are a few suggestions for you:

Why do you need a mentor?

A mentor will get some entrepreneurs’ funding, but that is the role of an investment banker. Some others feel mentor can get him customers, which is the role of the entrepreneur himself. Hence, it is important to note why you need the mentor. Do you need someone with expertise or someone who can help you scale up? Sometimes a mentor can help with building a network, or product development experiences, or in business development strategies. Do you require business, technology or personal mentoring?

Search vigorously

Your mentor may come from your college alumni network, or online social networks. Spend time researching on a mentor’s background, achievements, aspirations and go through references to get them. But do take note of their personal preferences, time limitations, etc. There are other professional bodies that provide mentoring like TiE and NEN. Email or call your fellow entrepreneurs and make a list of their mentors and ask for introductions. You can also choose industry professionals for subject expertise, even though they have no entrepreneurship experience.

Set expectations

Sometimes your mentor may impose his thoughts or expectations on you. It is important that you try to achieve your goals, and not your mentor’s. Hence, you should set clear expectations. If you have to reward a mentor, based on cash/equity, that should also be clearly spelt out upfront. Usually, mentors commit 1-2 hours a week for personal meetings, and more on phone/emails, and expectations can be in form of tangible (cash, equity, commission) or intangible (respect, recognition, pride, achievement). In India, we are highly respectful of our teachers and mentors, but it is always better to start a mentor/mentee relationship with clearly stated expectations rather than leave a bad taste later. Your mentor should not turn out to be TOR-mentor!

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