Tuesday, 6 December 2016

WittyParrot raises a seed series from Mumbai Angels Network and Silicon Valley based angel investors

                         
WittyParrot raises a seed series from Mumbai Angels Network and Silicon Valley based angel investors
Mumbai, December 2016: WittyParrot, a cloud based SaaS platform company focused on delivering Intelligent Content for Marketing, Sales and Support solutions, is announcing its Rs. 3+ Crore series seed financing led by Mumbai Angels Network with participation from silicon valley based angel investors.
The company headquartered in San Jose, California with sales offices across USA and development center in Bangalore India, is focused on the automation of enterprise content leveraging cutting-edge big data and data science technologies. Selected list of customers include companies such as Oracle, Citrix, Couchbase, etc.
According to research, the top issues plaguing companies are related to time wasted in finding right content, duplicative effort in creating or curating content and inconsistent information being delivered to customers. Sheer volume of silo’ed data and the pace at which it is produced in the enterprise is posing major challenge for sales and support to find relevant content at the point of use leading to delay and inconsistent response.
WittyParrot’s intelligent content delivery platform combined with collaboration and communication capabilities deliver contextually relevant content in the form of modular content blocks along with rich metadata that can be instantly found and consumed by sales and support.
Anil Jwalanna, Founder & CEO, added, "WittyParrotis built on a profound, but simple idea. To make it easy to find relevant information in bite-size and then to use it, so that anyone can communicate faster, more effectively, and more consistently. We will be utilizing funds to expand our sales team and grow footprint in the US as well as India.
Saahil Bhatia, Deal Lead, Mumbai Angels Network, added, “We were highly impressed with the management team at WittyParrot and the quality of the platform they have built. A study by IDC reports that an average “knowledge worker” spends over 28 hours per month trying to find and repurpose information. WP makes this process extremely simple and fast.
The company ran a case study at VM Ware and found a 2.5x increase in the recruiter’s ability to outreach, promote and share on social media. Such productivity improvement is a great customer retention tool. The company is focusing on increasing customer retention through their intelligent algorithm that is able to provide more contextual results to user searches and also provide recommendations on content that has worked successfully in the past."”
About WittyParrot
WittyParrot (www.wittyparrot.com) is a Cloud-based intelligent content delivery platform for marketing, sales and support that help companies to speak with one voice. We are deeply interested in solving the problems common to both small and large companies in communicating consistently and responsively. With WittyParrot marketing, sales and support professionals can find the right information, assemble it in the right order, share and track it with ease.

About Mumbai Angels Venture Mentors:
Mumbai Angels Network (www.mumbaiangels.com) is one of India’s largest angel networks with 250+ members across three active chapters - Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. Their portfolio comprises of 80+ ventures across multiple sectors focused primarily on seed and early stage companies.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Mumbai Angels Network at the Urban Venture Challenge




The Urban Venture Challenge was organised by the IIMB-Real Estate Research Initiative and was supported by Stanford’s The Center on Democracy, Development and Rule of Law and Asia Initiatives. The challenge aim was to identify entrepreneurs who are working on ideas and ventures that will transform India’s cities. Thematic areas of focus included urban infrastructure, liveability and inclusive cities.



The actual pitches by companies was preceded by a startup bootcamp workshop for the entrepreneurs. There was also a keynote speech by Professor Jagan Shah, Director, National Institute of Urban Affairs, and a panel discussion, hosted by urban expert V. Ravichandar, on which Mumbai Angels’ representative Abhishek Bhatewara (of Rohan Builders – a real estate and construction group headquartered in Pune) was also a panellist. The panel discussed the opportunities and challenges to make urban transformation a reality. Post the panel discussion, 12 organizations working in the social impact space made a pitch to the jury comprising of industry, investors, government, and academia. 

The winners included a start-up that channelises youth to locate problems in urban spaces and then work together to solve them. Another one had created innovative air quality monitoring solution helping actionable intelligence. 

Abhishek Bhatewara says, “Urbanization is happening at a rapid rate, not just in India, but most developing economies around the world. This no doubt unavoidable, but it comes with its set of challenges such as accessibility, pollution, safety. Solution to these problems although traditionally falls under the perview of the government, we cannot expect the government to solve them all. And this is where there is a need and opportunity of the social ventures. And some of these ventures, with the right business and revenue models, are definitely capable of giving superior returns on the investment.”

Monday, 7 November 2016

Mumbai Angels Network PUNE Startup ecosystem building workshop



Mumbai Angels Network is  a decade long story of transformation of StartUp ecosystem.

So, is Pune - this city is a story of transformation in the past ten years. And the biggest transformation is in the StartUp scene.

Like elsewhere in India, today the aspirations are shifting towards founding and working at startups focused on solving unique Indian problems, as well as addressing a global market. India is rapidly making the shift from being the world’s software developer to becoming a creator of software solutions and products in its own right. 

                                     

While Pune’s startup scene has been overshadowed by that of Bangalore and Delhi, it has quietly had organic growth. According to TiE Pune, there are now over 400 startups in Pune and according to iSPIRT, 21% of India’s product startups are from Pune.*



While still nascent, the startup ecosystem is gaining momentum on its own. There are grassroots organizations feeding the startup scene and local angel investors are active. High growth start-ups such as Druva, Pubmatic, and Airtight Networks are providing an anchor to the industry.

                                    

Mumbai Angels Network's Pune workshop sought to explore how to nurture and groom startups. The stumbling blocks to achieving success include a lack of early stage funding and startup mentorship.
*inputs from Mike Manson,Partner,Wesley Clover International

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Entrepreneur Speak: Chinmoy Mishra, Founder & CEO, AllizHealth

                                                     
About Allizhealth:
Building a consumer focused health and wellness platform for early identification tracking and management of health risk and conditions. Based out of Pune, our efforts are to help in the transition from curative to preventive care.Our platform looks to encourage user involvement and design health interventions which are preventive, prescriptive and persuasive in nature.
Chinmoy Mishra, Founder & CEO, AllizHealth
Chinmoy has about 15 years’ experience in the healthcare space and has worked with some leading groups such as - Infosys Technologies and AETNA US healthcare. Post his masters from Babson College, he headed back to India to start his entrepreneurial journey.
At Babson, he was awarded with Babson fellowship and also global student leadership awards. He is a voracious reader and loves reading any under the sun. He loves to cook and if not an entrepreneur, would have surely tested out his culinary skills. 
Please share how it all started and the inspiration or the idea to start?

I have always been in the healthcare space, so you could say I was a bit myopic in my choice. I had always wanted to do something in this field and in early 2013 a very close family member of mine was diagnosed with a debilitating condition; it proved to be the final push for me and my elder sister – Rasmi to venture out and start something of our own. The tragedy brought a sense of sobriety and gave us a very clear direction and vision to move ahead.

Describe the early years and the preparations?

We were always of the opinion that to build our technology platform, we needed to do it in house and would not be outsourcing the same. So before we got started, we wanted to get on board someone who could take care of the entire technology aspect. We were very lucky to have found that person in our partner - Gaurav. We did some preparation in terms of the funds we could put in and the areas we wanted to focus. At the end of the day, when rubber hits the road, all those preparations seemed a bit amateurish.

What has changed since you started the business between then and now?

The journey has been absolutely humbling. We all start out hearing the garage to valley stories and start believing that startups are the fastest way to achieve three commas.  It took LinkedIn 14 years to be an overnight success. So I guess more than anything else, the journey changes you as an individual and on how you look at the world. It turns you into an eternal optimist and be appreciative of all works - small or big, because we come to know the work and sweat that has gone into achieving that overnight success. It makes you a better person.

What are the most important ingredients that make your business successful?

Team - My team is the dearest thing to me. I have a wonderful bunch of people that I have the pleasure of working with and who I know I can trust with my eyes closed. Secondly, we look to move away from traditional B2B models and instead would like to call it more of a B-for-B model. Unless we enable our partners to derive value by pushing the offerings to their end users, we would never be successful. So we look at a model of collaborating and working more closely with our partners to ensure their success.

What are the major success drivers that you believe worked for you?

I believe it is our honesty with the pitch that got us our early adopters and the traction. The space that we are in, is also witnessing a bit of a revolution with regards to adoption of technology. At the same time, our understanding of the domain and technical expertise has helped get the early adopters and traction. I would attribute the success to a combination of changes happening at both macro and micro levels.

What word of advice would you give to young entrepreneurs embarking on the Startup journey?

Be ready to sweat it out, be ready to forget that Hawaiian vacation, be ready forsleepless nights. Yes, the journey is as tough as all the stories, not just for us but for our near and dear ones as well. Have tons and tons of patience, build humility and be ready to do every work the situation demands - small or big. Forget you ever had an ego.

Which are the most common mistakes or pitfalls that budding entrepreneurs need to avoid?

Trying to take advice from too many people - trust me, we know our ventures way better than any advisor ever would. While investors/advisors have put in their savings or precious time, we have put our entire carrier on the line. Listen to everyone, but at the end of the day trust your instincts and go with it. It is perfectly fine to think from your heart once in a while. After all - we are all in it to make a difference.

How do you keep ahead of the technology and what are the measures you take to make your business future-proof?

Being from the technology background, we obviously have an inclination to read and constantly be aware of the advances. Healthcare brings in an additional aspect of regulatory environment as well. We make a point to keep a tab on such changes and adopt them wherever feasible. For instance, we are considering adopting block chain to secure our health records portal. We would possibly be the first healthcare startup in India to adopt this. Initiatives like these would not only help us be top of our game, but also keep us prepared for any future eventualities.

How should a new founder start building a team? Would you like to share your experience?

Our focus has always been building a team with people who we love to work with; can connect without inhibitions and someone who is as passionate as we are. More than pedigrees and fancy qualifications, we have always valued more the willingness of the person to learn and ability to think on his/her feet. We have been fairly successful in putting together such a team. The modicum of success we have had is a lot due to the tireless effort of all team members. They have been able to put in the long hours as they see the venture as their own and not just another job.

What qualities do you look for in angel investors?

I believe investing at an angel stage is certainly a big leap of faith. Firstly big thanks to all our investors for their trust. At an early stage, often we are still in the process of finding our way, trying to throw many things on the wall, hoping some of them stick. So, apart from the capital, in my view an angel investor’s role becomes crucial in helping the venture figure the right direction, the opportunities to pursue and most significantly providing constructive feedback. Nothing gives you more strength than knowing that your investor trusts you and has your back. When looking out for investors, I would certainly look for individuals who can go beyond just capital help.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Real Estate management start-up Azuro raises seed round from Mumbai Angels Network, Kae Capital & White Unicorn Ventures

                                    
Real Estate management start-up Azuro raises seed round from Kae Capital,Mumbai Angels &White Unicorn Ventures
Mumbai, September 2016: Early-stage investment firm Kae Capital, along with Mumbai Angels and White Unicorn Ventures has announced today an undisclosed amount in real estate management start-up Azuro.
Azuro will be utilizing the funds to expand its operations across Mumbai, and invest further in building the technology
Azuro, - a Mumbai based start-up is a residential real estate management company founded by five IIT Bombay alumni. NRIs holding real estate properties in India, multi - home owners today have to deal with multiple brokers, contractors and tenants while managing their properties. This takes a lot of time and effort and also trusting each and every stakeholder becomes a key issue.
Seeing this demand, Azuro is solving this issue by managing across the life cycle of the property. The firm finds tenants, takes care of maintenance and tenant issues, does periodic inspection and furnishes as required. In effect, the owner only has to liaise with Azuro. The venture is using technology with standardized processes to ensure transparency at each step and information on the go for everyone.
Ayush Agrawal, Co-founder, Azuro said “Multi-home owners especially NRIs today rely on their relatives back home to take care of the property and because of these hassles, many end up keeping their properties unused. These properties only serve the purpose of capital appreciation, leading to more than 5 lakh vacant properties as per 2011 census in Mumbai alone.
Imagine how the housing scenario would change if Mumbai has 5 lakh more homes available to live?”
Not only the hassle involved but also the information asymmetry is a big problem the industry is facing today, for e.g. How does an owner discover the fair rental rate of the property? Well currently, he gets the answer from a friend who lives nearby or relies on the quote from a roadside broker. “The answer to the problem is technology, which can provide the answer using real-time data points and a combination of several other parameters, ”added Ayush.
Abhishek Bhatewara, Member, Mumbai Angels said “The Azuro team have identified this opportunity that obviously is a big pain point in the real estate sector, for both, home owners as well as tenants. The rental services industry is dominated by unorganized players and there is a large potential to increase the service levels and also increase the transparency –
there by creating trust and over a period creating a brand. The team is young, but have first-hand experience of the pain point. They have a clear vision and are hands-on and hard working. The market is very large, and the team is well positioned to capture a big share.”
On the team, Sasha Mirchandani, MD and founder of Kae Capital said “Property rental is a huge market in India, which is crippled with inefficiencies. The Azuro team saw these inefficiencies first hand while trying to rent an apartment for themselves and set out to simplify the process.
We think a full stack solution like Azuro is a model very well suited to crack this massive problem.  We are happy to partner with the Azuro team in their journey to figure out the solution for the same.”
Rohit Chokhani, Prinicipal Founder, White Unicorn Ventures opined “We have seen that across the globe professionally managed home yield better rental value, and create value for all stakeholders. Renting is cheaper than buying, in fact an individual renting a house for 30 years will still be paying only one third of the actual ownership cost in the current interest rate structure.
With RERA being a law, professional asset management companies will play a key role in the growing residential rental business. The Indian real estate market is expected to touch US$ 180 billion by 2020. The housing sector alone contributes 5-6 per cent to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It will be indeed a good benefit for all. And hence we felt that making an investment in Azuro was the right choice.”
Azuro has been rapidly building a property portfolio in suburban Mumbai and is growing across geographies swiftly.
The real estate sector is one of the most globally recognised sectors. In India, real estate is the second largest employer after agriculture and is slated to grow at 30 per cent over the next decade.This sector is also expected to incur more non-resident Indian (NRI) investments in both the short term and the long term.
About Azuro
Azuro (www.azuro.in) is founded by a team of IIT Bombay alumni – Ayush Agrawal, Altaf Ahmad, Sudhanshu Mishra, Vishal Chauthmal and Sushant Kumar. Ayush has experience in investment banking, while Altaf worked as a management consultant for 2 years. Sudhanshu and Vishal started up a venture prior to Azuro and Sushant has experience in product management.

About Mumbai Angels Venture Mentors:
Mumbai Angels (www.mumbaiangels.com) is one of India’s largest angel networks with 250+ members across three active chapters - Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. Their portfolio comprises of 80+ ventures across multiple sectors focused primarily on seed and early stage companies.

Real Estate management start-up Azuro raises seed round from Mumbai Angels Network, Kae Capital & White Unicorn Ventures

                                    
Real Estate management start-up Azuro raises seed round from Kae Capital,Mumbai Angels &White Unicorn Ventures
Mumbai, September 2016: Early-stage investment firm Kae Capital, along with Mumbai Angels and White Unicorn Ventures has announced today an undisclosed amount in real estate management start-up Azuro.
Azuro will be utilizing the funds to expand its operations across Mumbai, and invest further in building the technology
Azuro, - a Mumbai based start-up is a residential real estate management company founded by five IIT Bombay alumni. NRIs holding real estate properties in India, multi - home owners today have to deal with multiple brokers, contractors and tenants while managing their properties. This takes a lot of time and effort and also trusting each and every stakeholder becomes a key issue.
Seeing this demand, Azuro is solving this issue by managing across the life cycle of the property. The firm finds tenants, takes care of maintenance and tenant issues, does periodic inspection and furnishes as required. In effect, the owner only has to liaise with Azuro. The venture is using technology with standardized processes to ensure transparency at each step and information on the go for everyone.
Ayush Agrawal, Co-founder, Azuro said “Multi-home owners especially NRIs today rely on their relatives back home to take care of the property and because of these hassles, many end up keeping their properties unused. These properties only serve the purpose of capital appreciation, leading to more than 5 lakh vacant properties as per 2011 census in Mumbai alone.
Imagine how the housing scenario would change if Mumbai has 5 lakh more homes available to live?”
Not only the hassle involved but also the information asymmetry is a big problem the industry is facing today, for e.g. How does an owner discover the fair rental rate of the property? Well currently, he gets the answer from a friend who lives nearby or relies on the quote from a roadside broker. “The answer to the problem is technology, which can provide the answer using real-time data points and a combination of several other parameters, ”added Ayush.
Abhishek Bhatewara, Member, Mumbai Angels said “The Azuro team have identified this opportunity that obviously is a big pain point in the real estate sector, for both, home owners as well as tenants. The rental services industry is dominated by unorganized players and there is a large potential to increase the service levels and also increase the transparency –
there by creating trust and over a period creating a brand. The team is young, but have first-hand experience of the pain point. They have a clear vision and are hands-on and hard working. The market is very large, and the team is well positioned to capture a big share.”
On the team, Sasha Mirchandani, MD and founder of Kae Capital said “Property rental is a huge market in India, which is crippled with inefficiencies. The Azuro team saw these inefficiencies first hand while trying to rent an apartment for themselves and set out to simplify the process.
We think a full stack solution like Azuro is a model very well suited to crack this massive problem.  We are happy to partner with the Azuro team in their journey to figure out the solution for the same.”
Rohit Chokhani, Prinicipal Founder, White Unicorn Ventures opined “We have seen that across the globe professionally managed home yield better rental value, and create value for all stakeholders. Renting is cheaper than buying, in fact an individual renting a house for 30 years will still be paying only one third of the actual ownership cost in the current interest rate structure.
With RERA being a law, professional asset management companies will play a key role in the growing residential rental business. The Indian real estate market is expected to touch US$ 180 billion by 2020. The housing sector alone contributes 5-6 per cent to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It will be indeed a good benefit for all. And hence we felt that making an investment in Azuro was the right choice.”
Azuro has been rapidly building a property portfolio in suburban Mumbai and is growing across geographies swiftly.
The real estate sector is one of the most globally recognised sectors. In India, real estate is the second largest employer after agriculture and is slated to grow at 30 per cent over the next decade.This sector is also expected to incur more non-resident Indian (NRI) investments in both the short term and the long term.
About Azuro
Azuro (www.azuro.in) is founded by a team of IIT Bombay alumni – Ayush Agrawal, Altaf Ahmad, Sudhanshu Mishra, Vishal Chauthmal and Sushant Kumar. Ayush has experience in investment banking, while Altaf worked as a management consultant for 2 years. Sudhanshu and Vishal started up a venture prior to Azuro and Sushant has experience in product management.

About Mumbai Angels Venture Mentors:
Mumbai Angels (www.mumbaiangels.com) is one of India’s largest angel networks with 250+ members across three active chapters - Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. Their portfolio comprises of 80+ ventures across multiple sectors focused primarily on seed and early stage companies.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Entrepreneur Speak: Sachin Garg, Co-founder, MintM

                                                     
About MintM:

MintM is world's fastest growing In-store customer engagement company. It was recognized by TIE50 and NASSCOM among "50 Most Promising Global Start-ups of 2015". With presence in US, India, Brazil, Ireland and Dubai, MintM helps global brands and stores reach customers at the last mile of truth.
Sachin Garg, CEO, MintM
Sachin Garg is the Co-Founder of MintM Loyalty Services Private Limited. He heads the overall direction of it, including the product vision and strategy. He built and sold a Mobility startup to a US based company. He has worked in India and the US with companies like Motorola, Intel and Cisco. He also holds a few patents in his name. He has studied Electrical Engineering from IIT-BHU.
Please share how it all started and how the inspiration or the idea to start happen ?
In 2013, I was running another company and we used several marketing channels like Adwords, news paper and magazine ads. I found myself hooked to online advertising due to strict control on budget and ability to analyze but I couldn't have the same kind of control on other non online mediums which made me think on how can we improve traditional marketing by making it more accountable.

Could you please describe the early years and the preparations you undertook before you embarked ?
we were already running a profitable company and were not sure what to do with this idea. It took us few weeks and we decided to sell our existing business and focus full time on this. It was hard decision to move from a profitable services company to a high potential product company but we were excited.

What has changed since you started the business between then and now ?
 We have been evolving. I won't say pivot but evolve. We have been understanding market dynamics and realizing that our product has lot more potential than we thought. We first named it "Shelf" because we thought its only for retail industry but then eventually renamed it to Magnet - The engagement BOT which has wide use cases beyond retail.

What are the most important ingredients that make your business successful ?
We have lot of customer appreciation and great success stories but we don't call our  business successful yet. We want to be nothing less than a $1B business. This require a grand vision which we have. Apart from that it needs a cult team to execute the plan. I think we have it all. Once we time it right and market it correctly there is no stopping.

What are the major success drivers that you believe worked for you ?
I think once you have no plan B, you give your startup everything and this is one single largest reason of our success.

What word of advice would you give to young entrepreneurs embarking on the Startup journey ?
Think big. Have some funds before you jump on to this journey. Don't do it because everyone is doing it, do it only if you are in love with your own idea.

Which are the most common mistakes or pitfalls that budding entrepreneurs need to avoid ?
One of the mistakes I made in my first venture was to focus on survival. Focus on growth and speed. Its easier said than done but it is possible.

How do you keep ahead of the technology and what are the measures you take to make your business future-proof?
Technology in right direction can be single largest differentiation. You need to keep innovating ( we have come a long a way since our start ). Protect it using patents. Also see if you can build an eco system around your product which can help it become future proof.  

How should a new founder start building a team ? Would you like to share your experience?
 I ended up interviewing lot of guys from good colleges and average colleges. To my surprise it didn't matter in the end as i found really good guys regardless of which college they are from. Get people who believe in your idea and not just job seekers. They should be willing to take a cut if needed and also be willing to work alone without external support.

What qualities do you look for in angel investors ?
Angels are angels as the name suggests. They are here to help the business in the limited capacity they can. To me if they can add value outside money is very important. It can be opening of doors, giving right advice and similar industry experience.