Bigger salaries, on the opportunities abroad, companies from around the world to choose from, and in some cases, lesser working hours! Employees of IT companies in India couldn’t have really had it better over the last few years. But what about the entrepreneurs? They are, after all, a breed that many believe our country could do with more of. Have entrepreneurs been given enough support in this Indian tech-boom? While in Canada, techie Vijay Anand asked himself the same question, which eventually brought him back to India in search of answers.
He explains, “It takes 96 days to start a company in India, while in Canada, it takes about 40 minutes. Just the amount of time involved could drain the entrepreneurial instinct in a person!” Another aspect he points out is lack of funding support given to entrepreneurs. He continues, “It really is ironic, because around the world, all people are talking about tech boom and how much they want to be a part of it.”
Keeping this in mind, Vijay came up with the idea of organizing an event, and together with Kiruba Shankar (the man behind Chennai’s blog camp!) and various other tech-enthusiasts, formed an informal organizing committee naming itself The Knowledge Foundation. Proto, India’s first event, which planned to bring together venture capitalists and entrepreneurially-inclined technologists was conceived.
Inspired by the US-based event Demo, a platform that has given birth to some fantastic inventions, Proto intends to give aspiring entrepreneurs an opportunity to present their business plans to top venture capitalists from across the world. Vijay tells us, “It is essentially a mutually beneficial platform for both the venture capitalist and the technologist. The technologist receives an opportunity to present his idea to some of the best venture capitalists from across the world, while the venture capitalist gets an opportunity to listen to thirty of the best ideas from technologists from companies across India.”
Entries have come in thick and fast from people belonging to various fields, including the telecom, mobile and software industries. From the 100 entries, a committee of eminent individuals from various industries will help shortlist the number to a final 30 for the event. He adds, “Venture capitalists have been showing major interest with most of their budgets for India, still being unutilized. The process of filtering out, which ensures that all the ideas are vetted before finally being presented, ensures a high degree of quality, thus making it the perfect platform for VCs to see only the best in technology and innovation.”
With a host of celebrated guests from the world of technology(including Sabir Bhatia and Googler Marisa Meyer) expected to speak at the two-day event, and a total of close to one billion dollars up for funding from the venture capitalists in total, the event is all set to attract more than its share of excitement. Vijay Anand has goals clearly set – “Our goal is to set 28 of the 30 ideas funded within the next six months.” Ambitious as it may seem, given the drive and the interest shown by all those participating, one might well see it becoming a reality!