After a successful run in London, Rio and Tel Aviv, the first Google Launchpad event in India is being hosted between Feb 2nd and 6th at the Idiom office/DREAM Center, Bangalore.
What is Google Launchpad?
Google Launchpad is a five-day mentorship program for early stage startups and will be focused on mentorship areas that include Product strategy, UX/UI, Technology, Go-to-Market/Marketing and more.
Each day in Google Launchpad is dedicated to a specific subject and includes presentations, one-on-one mentorship, and a lot of focused work. The idea is to achieve rapid progress in a very short time using a lot of resources and mentors experience.
The first edition of Launchpad was originally launched in Israel, and it was so successful that Google has had about 14 of these events there since then, with each batch having 15-20 startups.
For the Bangalore event, there are about 20 mentors, half who are Googlers from California and Israel, including Amir Shevat, Google’s startup outreach program manager.
Around 20 startups are a part of the mentorship program. Some of the startups are:
· CoSight – Helps make sales executives more efficient
· Findulum/Smart Pocket – Manages all your loyalty cards on the phone
· AdWyze – Provides interactive direct response solutions
· Wazzat Labs – Delivers efficient image processing, computer vision and graphics solutions on mobile platforms
· BabyChakra – Helps parents discover and decide on local services for their children
· BlueHat (Englishdost) – BlueHat are a mobile education company targeting the B2C English learning market
· Frilp – Helps find shops and services used and recommended by your friends, colleagues and other like-minded people
· CashKumar – Allows you to get the best rate on foreign exchange
· RightDoctor – Helps find the right doctor for your ailment
· Expin.me – A story builder application
Idiom is the venue partner for this exciting event. The Google Launchpad event is taking place at the Dream Center, which is an encouraging space at Idiom, often used to think and work with entrepreneurs; exchange learnings, create big game changing ideas and take them from mind to market, with skill, speed and imagination.
The Dream Center has been designed to capture a spirit of organized chaos. Started years ago, there was a realization that folks, especially business folks, enjoyed chaos. Some of the most breakthrough ideas were created around a long table with basic sandwiches, loads of nimbu paani and coffee, open doors with people rushing about…a feeling that can be best compared to ideating at a traffic junction.
The Dream Center is a space that allows you to ask ‘what if’ or ‘why not’ questions…under a rain tree. A colorful, joyous space that morphs from a space and screen to gain inspiration from, in HD quality, to a space where the ideas flow free and fast. A space to learn, to co-create, to compete – to think, feel and most importantly, do!
This week, we’re changing our weekly interview series from ‘Featured Entrepreneur’ to ‘Dream Feat’. Featured dreamers who made their entrepreneurial dreams come true. So for our first ‘Dream Feat’ interviewee, is Arpita Sinha, who started ‘Chakum Chakum, an ‘oh so good’ Calcutta-style rolls restaurant. We loved the food, so we wanted to learn more, how Arpita started the restaurant and her inspirations.
DREAM:IN: How did you get into food industry and how did you get the idea of starting a restaurant?
Arpita: The answer to the question may sound very cliché but it is true. I am a foodie and when my husband and I got transferred to Bangalore 7 years back, I was missing my daily dose of Calcutta street food. And Kathi roll is big in Calcutta. There were a few kathi roll joints in and around but they were certainly not up to the mark in terms of flavours what we are used to back in Calcutta. And the perception of Kathi roll in Bangalore at that point in time was ‘oily, greasy junk food’!!! So we saw the opportunity to churn out Tasty yet Healthy kathi rolls with authentic Kolkata flavours. And that’s how Chakum Chukum was born.
DREAM:IN: What are some of the toughest challenges that you overcame since starting this restaurant? Would you say the restaurant/food business is a tough industry to get in?
Arpita: The biggest challenge was to make people aware of my place with out any advertising budget. So I would jump off my car near the traffic signal and distribute pamphlets and jump back once the signal turned green. But I was sure that if people get the taste of my product they will definitely come back.
The second challenge was to manage customer perception. It is a merciless business and you are only as good as your last meal. And that also answers your second question. You have to be consistent day after day every day. Which meant training my staff to be consistent in what they do.
The third challenge was to retain talent. So we had to work out a very meticulous plan in terms of retaining and nurturing talent within the organisation.
Also getting a dependable/reliable team of vendors in Bangalore was very, very tough.
DREAM:IN: Wow! That’s an awesome guerrilla marketing technique. Talk about dedication! What techniques did you use to first market your restaurant and get people to order from you?
Arpita: In fact, there was no marketing apart from me personally knocking on every office door in and around Chakum and leaving a menu behind. Once people came, they brought their friends and family. It was the “word of mouth” which did the trick.
DREAM:IN: Again, the dedication, amazing.
DREAM:IN: Currently, how many branches do you own, and do you have any future plans of expanding to more?
Arpita: Only one as of now. Expansion plans are always there. Every night we go off to sleep thinking we will open our second outlet tomorrow. But it is easier said than done.
DREAM:IN: Personally, what is your favourite type of food, or your favourite dish to eat?
Arpita: Bread Ice-cream:))
DREAM:IN: What or who has been your biggest inspiration? Or your favorite chef?
Arpita: I don’t know about inspiration but my biggest support have been my Dad and my husband who have always believed in whatever I did!!!!
DREAM:IN: In what way do you discover new foods or new recipes? Do you like to experiment while cooking?
Arpita: I travel a lot to new destinations and try new cuisine – specially local ones. That I think is the best way to discover new stuff.
DREAM:IN: What’s the background to all the items on your menu?
Arpita: Some are traditional rolls which I grew up eat ing in Calcutta. The rest we have designed, keeping in mind, the local palate. For instance, we were the first to introduce the ‘wheat’ rolls along with ‘egg white’ option. Sometimes, even people coming from Calcutta get surprised seeing the number of options we have in our menu.
DREAM:IN: Do you enjoy owning a restaurant and starting your venture? What’s the most liberating thing about being your own boss? What’s the most liberating thing about being your own boss? Would you go back and do it differently if you could
Arpita: Yes yes yes! While there is pressure at work, we don’t bring work back home, unlike other professions and I know that very well since my husband was in advertising. Also ‘food’ is a great way to connect with people. And lastly, the recognition that you get when you are in a public place, is great!
I don’t know the most liberating thing but what gives me immense pleasure as an entrepreneur is the fact that I have given employment to people and I have been able to take care of them well!
I can’t think of doing anything different.
DREAM:IN: Would you like to give the address so that people can come and try your great food?
Arpita: CHAKUM CHUKUM, 901/2, 4th Cross, 7th Main, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar, Bangalore 560038.
Call 080 42115536 for home delivery.
DREAM:IN: Lastly, we ask every entrepreneur, what tips and words of wisdom do you have for budding entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Arpita: Believe in your dreams but be sure where you want to go.
DREAM:IN: Thanks so much Arpita, we will definitely be back to try some rolls again soon! Thank you for your time, see you soon!
Harshit Srivastava, from Lucknow but now residing in New Delhi, has joined us for our second segment of ‘Featured Entrepreneur’. He’s a designer at Diva’ni, but has a special love for theater, and turned that love into a venture, which helps raise funds for a charity here in Bangalore. Let’s learn more about Harshit’s venture ‘Poetry in Motion’:
DREAM:IN: Hi Harshit, thank you for your time with us. First off, I know you’re a designer at Diva’ni. Give us a little about your background, and how you ended up there?
Harshit: Hi, Thank you Team Dream:in, this is really overwhelming. Born and brought up in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, I always had the creative instincts and wanted to pursue my dreams as my profession. After class 12th NIFT Bangalore, I got a lifetime opportunity to study in SWISS TEXTILE COLLEGE, Switzerland and then there was no looking back. During my academic period, I did internships in Pondicherry, Auroville, & Himachal Pradesh, and finally graduated in June 2014 as a gold medalist. I received a call from my dream company, Diva’ni and after, a dream interview at the yash raj studios. I am a part India’s first cinema inspired brand by yrf and kbsh.
DREAM:IN: I know you also have a deep passion for theater. Why do you love theater so much?
Harshit: Blame it on the dramatic movies or the love for performing arts. As a kid, I danced my heart out to all the possible audiences I could get, including my family, relatives and friends. I was in class 1 when I acted for the first time on stage, I was dam nervous, and my principal told me, “Go ahead, I can see a star in making”. I just went and performed and the claps never ended. I knew I was born to do this! With time, things matured and it was not just about dancing or acting now. It was more about finding one’s inner self, theater gave me the platform to do so. I started writing and directing too. The fact that theater still has that charm, which it used to have years ago, and yet it never grows old, makes me fall in love with theater again and again!
DREAM:IN: That’s great! So because of your passion, you started ‘Poetry in Motion’ which raises money for an orphanage here in Bangalore. Can you tell us about ‘Poetry in Motion’ and how it started?
Harshit: Once you are in a professional college, you hardly get time for yourself. College festivals and culturals are the only relief. I realized that the only time I made friends and actually loved my college life was during the rehearsals for these events. I thought, “what if such rehearsals never end!”. I wanted a group of people that meets everyday and do whatever they loved. I just sent my friends one single message and everybody was on board as if everyone was just waiting for that message! Within a week it became our dream and we named it ‘Poetry in Motion aka. POTION!’. A dance and drama company that was made to do larger than life musicals, we aimed at showing live movies on stage. The costumes, the sets, pre and post productions, trailer release, publicity events, and more, ‘Potion’ wanted to change the way theater was looked at and we succeeded in the same!
DREAM:IN: Would you like to give any details about the orphanage in Bangalore, or how can they can help them out as well?
Harshit: We, as a group, personally believed that performing arts brought us together but we needed a cause to stay together! Ashanilaya, an orphanage in Ejipura, Bangalore, became our motivation to work harder ! As the proceeds of our plays went to Ashanilaya, the girls at Ashanilaya became our family, and with the help of ‘Potion’, we not only did our best to support them but also gave them a chance to perform in front of thousands of people! ‘Potion’ made it a habit of celebrating festivals at Ashanilaya and conduct workshops with them. All they need is some love and if you have enough to share , the doors of Ashanilaya are always open for you! We would want more and more of youngsters to come forward and make their lives worth living. It is not about a single orphanage but giving back to the society at large!
DREAM:IN: About how many shows have you put on since starting ‘Poetry in Motion’?
Harshit: Potion debuted with its larger than life, Bollywood musical called, “Dastaan-e-laila Majnu”, followed by 4 street play performances, one silent theatrical performance, and “I Object(in post production)”.
DREAM:IN: What are some of the musicals and plays that your drama company has put on?
Harshit: ‘Dastan-E-Laila Majnu’, the flag bearer musical has been a dream come true for all of us! From the extravagant costumes to mesmerizing sets, it was a bollywood movie shown live on stage in one take! Potion also releases a theatrical teaser of every play and ‘Dastan-E-Laila Majnu’ and ‘I Object’’s trailers itself project the potential and the vision of the stories! Potion went on to perform award winning plays and became a defending champion at a national level college festival.
DREAM:IN: What’s the response from the students who act in the plays?
Harshit: Potion was never a place where people were forced to be a part of the team. The ones who loved came in and did what they always wanted to. For example, the ones who loved doing make up formed the, ‘make and styling department’, the ones who loved designing made the costumes and so on. All the team members just waited to meet and have fun on the practices. It was more of a family get together during the rehearsals and all of them actually felt bored when we didn’t have the practices!
DREAM:IN: Do you have any upcoming shows?
Harshit: Yes, we have a show in pipe line, but due to the team members moving to different parts of the country for jobs, we don’t know when we’ll perform it! But yes very soon, we’ll be back and the world will know that ‘potion’ was just on a break!!!
DREAM:IN:Where would you like to see ‘Poetry in Motion’ in 5-10 years?
Harshit: Potion is our baby. In coming 5 years I would want it to be India’s biggest dance and drama company, doing musicals all over the country, and helping as many people as we can! In coming 10 years we dream to go big and take theater next to bollywood, becoming the youngest production house!
DREAM:IN: If anyone wants to get involved with your organization, how can they reach out to you?
Harshit: They just need to send us a message on our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/poetryinmotionentertainment?ref=hl
We have ‘Potion’ representatives in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Bhopal.
DREAM:IN: Lastly, we ask every entrepreneur in every interview, do you have any tips or suggestions for budding entrepreneurs that may help them out on their venture?
Harshit: Well, I might be too young to give tips, but yes, would love to suggest people that all they need to do is dream, and not just dream, but also believe in themselves. Go out and just start the journey without thinking about the end, without thinking about the obstacles, all will be taken care off! Just keep going, and one day you’ll look back and realize why even you ever cared! Stay calm, stay focused and do what you are born to do!
Thank you team Dream:in, it was nice connecting with you guys.
In a recent article for Entrepreneur.com, Steve Vanderveen wrote an interesting piece on how college students can continue on their entrepreneurship journey even after they graduate from college. The article titled “3 Ways to Keep College Entrepreneurs’ Dreams Alive, Even After Graduation” has a lot of relevance to Indian college students as well. From across the country young people with big dreams start working on ideas and prototypes in college, but give it up in search of a good job. There are several reasons for this, be it the social expectations, stability of employment or even the risks involved in becoming a start-up.
As Steve points on in his article, the jump from college to becoming a full time entrepreneur is a big one. It means leaving behind a structured environment and diving into a world of uncertainty and innumerable risks. But there is hope on the other end. Our journey across several colleges in India has made us realise that while “getting a job” is still the biggest expectation that students have from college, there are those who are taking chances. However, taking these chances is not an easy task. Budding entrepreneurs need to find ways to continue working on their dream and keep the passion alive. According to Steve, there are 3 ways that young people can continue dreaming about their start up. 1) Connecting to mentors 2) Minimizing risks and bootstarpping and 3) keeping the dream alive. You can read more about these points in the article below.
3 Ways to Keep College Entrepreneurs’ Dreams Alive, Even After Graduation- Steve Vanderveen
Steve VanderVeen is a professor of management and director of the Center for Faithful Leadership at Hope College in Holland, Mich.Our nation’s college students are today’s dreamers. Why? Because they can. Schools — especially residential colleges — are safe zones. That’s a good thing. In such protected, nurturing environments, students discover their passion and develop their gifts. This is true for entrepreneurial students as well: colleges now offer them opportunities to explore and validate their ideas. In addition to traditional learning, students can now experience how innovation becomes a business. This “road less traveled” takes many unexpected twists and turns. Initial ideas fail. Product concepts and prototypes designed for one market begin to take hold in another. Personal income is deferred. Failure is inevitable. But there’s one thing that can end the dream: the wake-up call of graduation. When students graduate, the nurturing environment disappears and economic and social pressures, as well as fear of failure, pull them away from their ideas. How do we help them keep the dream alive? 1. Connect with mentors. One of the best things we can do to help entrepreneurs keep the dream alive is to help them network and cultivate mentors long before graduation approaches. Colleges and universities can do this well by bringing those not-so-recent alums, recent alums and current students who are pursuing the dream together with younger entrepreneurial students. Entrepreneurship is a lonely calling. Experiential entrepreneurial education is valuable. But encouragement and wisdom from role models, especially near peers, is priceless. 2. Minimize risks and bootstrap. Entrepreneurs, especially younger ones, cannot afford to wildly spend time and money on things they shouldn’t be. They can reduce the cost of the resources they need by being resourceful and by constantly minimizing their risks. The former we call “bootstrapping” and the latter we call “starting lean.” The essence of being resourceful is finding people who share the entrepreneur’s vision and passion. The essence of starting lean is conducting experiments to validate customer demand, the business model, technical feasibility and scalability. I find Ash Maurya’s Running Lean one of the best investments entrepreneurs can make because the book outlines a methodology for building a business before running out of resources. 3. Stay focused on the dream. Parents, peers and significant others tend to encourage financial security. Thus, as graduation approaches, many entrepreneurial students wake up from the dream and seek a more predictable way of life than what entrepreneurship offers. But they shouldn’t quit. There are resources out there to help new entrepreneurs bootstrap their startups. An important lesson to learn is that ideas are a “dime a dozen.” In contrast, ideas of value are those that have been validated by the market. The best validation is a customer order. Short of customer orders, there is customer interest in prototypes, “landing pages,” “minimum viable product” concepts, and the like. The point is this: cash is available via business incubators and competitions given a validated idea. Here’s the rub: students have more time and flexibility to take advantage of those opportunities than do graduates trying to build a career. Entrepreneurial graduates can get a job with Company XYZ, but they can also plan ahead to keep the dream alive while in college by sharing it with the next cohort of entrepreneurial students. A portion of something is better than all of nothing. Society tells entrepreneurial students to “get a job.” But society also needs dreamers who create businesses rather than work for them. Graduation doesn’t have to be a fork in the road.
WEConnect is a global organization that facilitates sustainable economic growth by increasing opportunities for women-owned businesses to succeed in global value chains. WEConnect identifies, educates, registers, and certifies women’s business enterprises that are at least 51% owned, managed, and controlled by one or more women, and is the only non-profit connecting women-owned businesses with multi-national corporate purchasing organizations outside of the U.S.
This year, WEConnect is organizing a ‘Think Big’ event in Bangalore on 19th November at the JW Marriott. The event is a call to women owned businesses to dream big and dream bold. To help facilitate this DREAM:IN will be holding a DreamScaping workshop at the event between 1:30 PM and 4:30 PM.
DreamScaping is a design thinking tool which is used to generate blueprints of businesses, ideas, products or services. DreamScapes aim at creating new value by bringing together the skills and expertise of multi-disciplinary professionals.
The participants of the workshop will each get to interact with a business and design mentor who will work with them to DreamScape their business idea. The workshop will be interactive, fun and most of all value creating!
We look forward to this event and to the big Dreams of these women entrepreneurs!