Network to Succeed

Network to Succeed.
Browsing Entrepreneurial Spirit

TiE the Knot – Call for Applications – Apply Now


“TiE the Knot” in its third edition, will provide high potential companies an exclusive platform (tech & non-tech) who have demonstrable products/offerings to raise their first seed investment. In the last edition held at TiEcon Delhi 2014, four high potential companies post extensive screening raised on-spot invest commitments in a high impact televised format anchored by CNBC TV 18.

Why Apply:
Opportunity to pitch to a highly renowned & hand-picked group of individual investors
Opportunity to receive investment commitments on the spot
Service providers & experts to facilitate deal closure & documentation
Extensive mentoring/prep for the final pitches

Application Criteria:
Registered Indian entity in operations for at least 3 months
Preference for early revenues and if pre-revenue should have developed a demonstrable fully functional product or prototype which can be demoed.
Looking to raise up to maximum of INR 1 crore (equity)
Preference for startups who already have a pre-existing investor lead or are sponsored by an Angel network.

The final shortlist of 5 entrepreneurs will get 10 minutes to make a pitch to the investors. The investors will ask pertinent questions on the business and take a call whether they would like to invest or not.

See last years show coverage here: TiE the Knot

Priyanka Agarwal (Wishberry) TiE the Knot is essentially India’s “Shark Tank”, but, with much friendlier “Sharks” who aren’t just angel investors but also valuable mentors and advisors. The true value of TiE the Knot isn’t in the funding but in the tremendous PR & brand building it offers on a national scale, which would otherwise be unaffordable for fledgling startups. Wishberry is proud to be the only startup to have raised Rs. 4 crores at TiE the Knot 2014 with unanimous participation of all the “Sharks” on the show!”

Pawan Gupta (Curofy) “Finding the right Angels is very important for an early stage startup. But at that stage their energy is best focussed on building the product than find-ing Angles and investments. TiE the Knot provided us with the perfect platform to reach out to some of the very best entrepreneur-turned-Angels in the industry. The sheer pace at which we could raise our funding round from amazing people was unbelievable. We also received great publicity through TiE and CNBC telecast helping us create a buzz. Tie the Knot is highly recommended for early stage startups.”

Zuhaib Khan (Shopatplaces) “TiE the Knot provides a wonderful platform to bring startups in front of the entire nation and the right investors. It does a stupendous job of crafting fairy tales out of sheer air. One moment you could be a small team which be-lieves in your idea and in the next you could have intelligent money backing you, the right mentors on board and the entire nation cheering for you, to disrupt entire indus-tries, to put your own dent in the universe.

Date Milestone
20th February – 31st March 2015: Call for Applications Open
15th April 2015: Top 20 shortlisted companies selected for Prelim Round
15th April – 25th April 2015: Mentoring & Refining of Pitches of Shortlisted Applicants
27th April 2015: Prelim Round with Interested Investors
4th May 2015: Final Five Finalists announced
8th May 2015: TiE the Knot Session

Interested entrepreneurs are required to submit a brief 5 minute video pitch and their business summary to Amit Verma at For any queries please contact Amit at +91-8750847502.

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Going Beyond Business – Foundation to Successful Entrepreneurship Part 1.


In over 12 years of experience with start-ups either working directly in one or being part of entrepreneurship accelerator organizations like TiE & Ennovent. I have observed for successful entrepreneurship while the technical elements like business model, market opportunity and product-market fit are important – what essentially does get looked over by most entrepreneurs and founding teams is the behavioral aspects and attitudes of the entrepreneur or the founding team.

With this background I wanted to cover couple of key aspects over a small series from my observations on founding team mindsets, their vision for the enterprise and in turn their behaviors which actually drive the business and leads to scale.

In this post my focus is going to be on the VISION of the enterprise and more importantly of the founding team. My observation on vision is not so much about what the organization or start-up will be and what impact it will have the typical jargon we see on vision statements but more on “WHY DO YOU WANT TO DO THIS” this is a question that the lead entrepreneur and the core team have to ask themselves not only before plunging but also in the journey.

Even sitting on the other side of the table in running an investor group we are now constantly asking entrepreneurs on:-

- What made them take the plunge and start this venture?
- Why they would give up something equally if not more lucrative to plunge towards entrepreneurship?

Typical responses I have seen on why I want to be an entrepreneur range from “I want to be my own Boss” to “I want to make lots of money” or “I want to be famous like Richard Branson”.

Other more mature responses are “I want to create meaning” or “create a large scale impact” or “leave a legacy”. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with these motivations and drivers and has lead to success – for long term success it’s very important for entrepreneurs to be clear as to why they want to do this. I’m not talking of about the vision of the enterprise or the business models or the product/service offering what I’m referring to is more fundamental – WHY SHOULD I START A VENTURE & CAN I SEE MYSELF IN IT FOR THE NEXT 10 YEARS?

Entrepreneurship is a marathon and not a sprint before we plunge we should think around:-

- What I’m really passionate about, what turns me on is it temporary or permanent?
- Can I commit between 5-10 years to do this venture day in day out?
- Can I accept failure not just if the venture fails but when thinks don’t work out in day to day operations?
- Will I be fine if things don;t go as planned and more importantly at the necessary speed?
- Can I put skin in the game – capital, resources and whatever else is required to see the venture through? Essentially close my back door?

- Is there size able number of customers who would be willing to pay for the solution?
- Do I have the write team/expertise to pull it through?
- Is the market opportunity large enough?
- Is my service/product offering a more of a can have or a must have for the customer?
- Is there a real differential in my offering can it lead to creating of entry barriers.

So before you plunge in or have already plunge in think as to why you started, what was your vision and what changed along the course :)

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Power to Empower 2013 Challenge – Apply Now!


Power To Empower (P2E 2013), a national skills development challenge organized by NSDC and India@75 recently launched it’s third edition in mid-September 2013. This challenge is supported by managing partners Ennovent, TiE Delhi NCR and key outreach partner National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN).

The objective of this challenge is to find and promote innovative and sustainable solutions in the skills ecosystem in India. One winner and three finalists will be selected in each of the following categories:
• Idea: A solution concept developed on paper
• Operations: Solutions currently being executed on the ground

Winners of P2E 2013 will receive cash prizes of INR 1.5 lakh and INR 3.5 lakh for the Idea and Operations categories respectively by the Muthoot Pappachan Foundation, the CSR arm of the Muthoot Pappachan Group and capacity building support from Empretec, an initiative of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and IBF as well as nationwide visibility.

Additionally, the connector of the winner will receive INR 10,000 cash reward in each category and the applicant with the highest votes in each category will will INR 15,000 cash reward.

Apply or nominate solution now!

Deadline for application and voting is 1st, Dec 2013.

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Lessons on Entrepreneurship – MakeMyTrip & SlideShare


Over the years in the start up ecosystem I’ve had the distinct pleasure of listening, interacting and connecting with iconic entrepreneurs who have all demonstrated that its possible to achieve success. Stories of MakeMyTrip, RedBus,, Educomp, Slideshare prove just that :)

Last Saturday YourStory put together a fantastic event as part of its TechSparks featuring iconic entrepreneurs like Deep Kalra of MakeMyTrip & Amit Ranjan of SlideShare. There hall was jam packed with over 300+ folks who braved the sweltering heat to attend the sessions.

Couple of key learning’s that I picked up from Deep & Amit’s talk:-

- Doing the Venture for the Right Reasons – Clearly passion is what drives iconic entrepreneurs, while we all know this conceptually but Deep shared how he was so passionate about traveling and then came the opportunity. Lesson – Don’t start a venture because its cool, you will make a lot of money (hopefully you will and its important) or just because your friend is doing it. Start a venture or a business in an area you are really passionate about and are good at :) Point is that you should start a business in an area which will play up to your existing skills and you are truly passionate about.

- Opportunity – Opportunities strike sometime when you are not looking for it. You need to have an open mind and listen :) Amit shared how when he used to organize barcamps a lot of folks used to keep asking for presentations – Ah opportunity was there and he his team quickly built out a product “SlideShare”.

- Conversions – On the business side Deep emphasized on the point of conversions. how its important to track conversions and keep an eye on cash.You don

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Is Entrepreneurship For You?


Over the last several years of being actively engaged in the entrepreneurial ecosystem I’ve had the fortunate experience of meeting some of the most high potential entrepreneurs in India. My own experience of working predominately at start ups right from graduating from college has allowed me to see a very unique perspective. Today as an social impact investor I’m often asked what do you look for in an entrepreneur or what makes an entrepreneur successful?

Is it that very unique idea? Access to funds? the innovative model? or a rocking team?? While these are definitely the essential ingredients that are very much needed for running a successful enterprise – eventually it simply boils down to one thing – Your Passion and how committed you are to go against all odds to see your dreams materialize.

The above thoughts are nothing scientific or path breaking but the purpose of this post is to remind ourselves that whatever idea or business opportunity we pursue first ask yourself – Are you really passionate about this? Are you willing to bet everything you have today and perhaps in the near future on making this work? Are you prepared to sacrifice, forgo a lot of your current comforts including perks, high salaries, opportunities to pursue your idea?

So before you start even building a business plan or approaching investors or quit your job. Ask yourself are you 300% passionate about your idea and willing to pursue it against all odds!!

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Get a real dose of the REALITY out there!


It was November of 2011, I was on my monthly trip to Mumbai meeting entrepreneurs, investors, innovators and other stakeholders working in the social impact sector. When my colleague suggested that I should get a real dose of “REALITY”!!! What do you mean by getting a real dose of “REALITY”, so before I knew it she booked me on a very memorable tour which I will remember for a long long time – a tour of “Asia’s largest slum,” Dharavi organized by Reality Tours & Travel!

So what makes Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum so unique and special? Well to begin with lets look at some stats:-
Spanning an area of about 223 hectares (550 acres), Dharavi is bordered by the Sion, Mahim and Matunga railway stations and two major roads (Sion and Mahim Link Roads) that connect the eastern and western parts of the city.

Dharavi is home to between half a million and one million people (no recent and reliable population statistics are available). A 1986 survey by the National Slum Dwellers Federation (NSDF) counted 530,225 people (106,045 households) living in 80,518 structures; the numbers have surely grown since then.

As is evident in the popular aerial images of the slum’s contiguous rooftops, Dharavi is an extremely dense environment. A recent survey by the Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture (KRVIA) established that a central area of Dharavi (Chamra Bazaar) contained densities of up to 336,643 people per square kilometer! Assuming a population of 700,000, the population density in Dharavi would be around 314,887 per square kilometer. This is 11 times as dense as Mumbai as a whole (the most densely populated city in the world with 29,500 people per square kilometer) and more than 6 times as dense as daytime Manhattan (about 50,000 people per square kilometer).

The key fact to Dharavi is that it is not only a residential space, but also a major economic hub representing the city’s vast informal sector. In fact, in many parts, it seems as if residential spaces have been carved out from the tiny surplus left over from economic activities such as recycling industries, leather tanneries, heavy metal work, woodwork, and manufactured goods like garments, shoes, luggage, jewelry. Industries generally serve all of Mumbai, and many products are even distributed in global markets. One conservative estimate places the annual value of goods produced in Dharavi at USD 500 million (“Inside the Slums,” The Economist, 27/1/05).

The tour left a lasting impression on me and my other friends who had undertaken the 3 hour journey. At every step they were obstacles literally – the streets were narrow (see picture), it was dirty, it was crowded, polluted, unhygienic etc. But what stood out in Dharavi was clearly the “SPIRIT”, the spirit to not only survive but to actually live!!! Despite the surmountable odds faced by the residents there is the never dying spirit to look beyond their problems and strive for a better life and most importantly be happy where they are!!

While there has been enough written and published about Dharavi and you can read more here the impression for me was simply the spirit of the place! I actually saw more smiling faces there then I usually do in an upmarket mall in Delhi, where folks like us have all the comforts of the world :) The other thing the tour made me realize is how much we take for granted for example just having your personal toilet, access to clean drinking water, a secure house and good quality food.

So next time you are in Mumbai and you want to get a real dose of REALITY take the tour, you can easily go there on your own, however if you want to take a guided tour I would recommend signing up with Reality Tours!

In the end folks experiences like these remind me that we are indeed fortunate and in a place to make a real difference – anyone listening?

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This is a forum for entrepreneurs and professionals to connect, learn and grow with each other. The objective of this blog is to give you access to relevant resources, business opportunities and networking opportunities to enhance your entrepreneurial and professional lives.

About Author:

Digbijoy has a wide ranging experience across diverse sectors, initially started his career in education marketing with reputed educational institutes and then subsequently joined the advertising and events industry to execute several projects including a state election campaign for a national party, conceptualizing and running a restaurant chain in Delhi and several other projects.

He joined the Delhi chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE Delhi), where he worked for over 3 years and drove various key initiatives like mentoring, deal flow, marketing, sponsorships etc and left his last position as Associate Director of the chapter in 2008 to pursue his entrepreneurial ambitions. He subsequently joined techTribe- India largest Career Networking platform where he served as director strategic relations and drove unique initiatives and partnerships for building and sustaining community engagement. Post techTribe he co founded an online supplemental education start-up – TenMarks Education INC. which was acquired by in October 2013.

Post TenMarks he lead Ennovent India as its country director which is an innovation accelerator. Ennovent provide services to accelerate innovations for sustainability in low-income markets in developing countries. It specializes in helping clients discover enterprises with novel solutions, develop business models to start-up enterprises, provide finance by facilitating early-stage investments and grow operations to scale profit and impact. Since 2008, Ennovent has worked with over 4,800 Network members, 15 Circle members and 10 Solution clients to accelerate over 80 innovations in 10 countries.

Currently Digbijoy Co-leads the Startup Program for Amazon Internet Services Pvt Ltd enabling the best startups leverage the power of cloud.

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