TATA NEN Hottest Startup Nominees

The TATA NEN Hottest Startup Awards recognizes high-potential startup organizations in India. Startups seems to be a dime a dozen these days, so beating out hundreds of other new ventures is quite a feat. I’ve picked out some nominees that have a social twist to their operations.

Three startups are featured after the jump, but if you are interested in voting, check out the shortlist (a login is required to vote). The five startups that win the most votes by December 23 will win. Continue reading

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[Guest Post]: Networking Consistently & Informally – A Unique Offering for Start-Ups

Editors Note: Guest Blogger Keyzom Ngodup works with Intellecap, a pioneering social venture capital firm focused on making double bottom-line investments in India. In addition to capital and investment support, Intellecap is unique in that they also provide a range of support services that enable social ventures to move from start-up stage into growth mode. You can read Keyzom’s other posts here.

Pune OpenCoffee Club is a new community designed to help technology startup enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, developers, advisor’s, investors and everyone else create a central place for networking. The platform gives a unique opportunity to create communities that transcend beyond their area of work and facilitates cross-linkages as well as fostering creativity through targeted discussions among diverse players. OpenCoffee Club allows anyone to announce and arrange a networking session.

As Sramana Mitra puts it in Too Much Money, Too Few Deals, “there is excess capital chasing Indian start-ups and lack of fundable deals.” Interesting, she explored the issue of seed capital for entrepreneurship in India and has highlighted that “mentor-capital”, critical and imperative at this stage of the game to build a pipeline of startup companies, is largely missing from the scene. Pune OpenCoffee Club is an interesting way of informally bringing mentoring spirit to start-ups.

Forbes Magazine: Dearth of innovative SMEs not from lack of $, but lack of trained entrepreneurs

Studies have estimated that over $1 billion in possible venture capital financing has been infused into India in 2007. Instead of spurring a wave of innovative startups, however, this influx in capital has remained just that — surplus of capital. Unlike Africa or parts of Eastern Europe, the lack of wide scale SMEs in India is not due to a lack of startup funds. And given the number of qualified IIT and other engineering graduates that are pumped out of the education system annually, they are not the limiting reagent either. So what gives?

According to Sramana Mitra, India’s current engineers and management professionals are ill-exposed to areas beyond back office tasks and so do not have a refined understanding on how to place and market technology products in the market.

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Op-Ed: Arrogance today, humility tomorrow

A curious micro-debate seems to be emerging in the blogosphere on what is more critical to a social entrepreneur’s success — their humility or arrogance. This is an interesting discussion, as both qualities provide varied paths to success and failure.

For example, often times organizations are inextricably tied to the charismatic, larger than life personalities of their founders or current leaders. Two that immediately come to mind are the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative. Here arrogance, or what could at least be described as leveraging celebrity status, was a crucial component to the rapid success and growth for both organizations (w/r to the Gates Foundation immense capital also did not hurt).

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