Swaroop C H

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23 Jan 2007

I was fortunate to attend proto.in in Chennai on Sunday. What was it all about? It's about startups in India. It was the opportunity for an Indian entrepreneur to showcase his/her ideas and business plans, to look for funding, people to work with, partners or simply grab media attention.

proto.in 005.jpg

27 companies were showcased and they each had 8 minutes to present their product. Working prototypes and demos were encouraged, ppts discouraged. Companies were asked to focus on questions like 'who are you', 'what are you doing', 'what makes you different' and 'what are you looking for'.

I had written down some notes during the entire day:

proto.in 007.jpg


proto.in 009.jpg proto.in 008.jpg proto.in 010.jpg proto.in 011.jpg

Infrastructure and Development Platforms

proto.in 012.jpg proto.in 013.jpg

Internet and Web 2.0

proto.in 014.jpg

Consumer Electronics

Business and Productivity

proto.in 019.jpg proto.in 017.jpg proto.in 018.jpg proto.in 020.jpg


proto.in 022.jpg proto.in 021.jpg


proto.in 024.jpg proto.in 025.jpg proto.in 026.jpg proto.in 029.jpg

My general observation is that most of these startup ideas were to better existing products and processes in 2 ways : 1. Price 2. Ease of use. The first point forces the entrepreneur to think a lot about business models. The second point points in the direction of making technologies simpler, easier and usable. The good thing was most of the presenters had a clear answer to "What problem are you trying to solve?"

Overall, I think it was a fantastic event, there were very few hiccups and everything the organizers did demonstrated their single-minded focus to do as much as possible to showcase these startup companies. However, there were many things that could have been done better, especially regarding the publicity and the target audience. Srikanth and Jyothirmayee talk about this better than I can.

At the end of the day, I could see many ideas jumping out of peoples heads in conversations between wannabe-entrepreneurs and interested VCs, there were heated conversations between fellow entrepreneurs, especially on how they can collaborate and build on each other. The plain energy and excitement around was great to see.

Indeed, has our time come?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wP-TwHwLc98]

Update : Few videos of the presentations have been uploaded by Gokul who has blogged the whole event live!


Umang says:

Good write up, Swaroop. Nearly made up for me not being able to turn up. :-) Thanks!

A lot of these companies seem to have been around for a bit. Was Deep Root Linux the same people who had had some training or projects during our time in college?

Did you get a sense of what kind of an audience there was?

Ankur says:

OffTopic : Someone out there should maintain the Indian equivalent of "Techcrunch deadpool" for Indian Startups ...

Lux says:

Thanks for the write up, Swaroop. Glad to hear that we look better than the software your company uses for laptop backup - if you'd like an extended trial / any more info about Vembu StoreGrid, please let me know!
Lux (Lakshmanan Narayan)

Anush Shetty says:

Oh ... i missed it :(

Reason : laziness :p

jaleel says:

hey nice work swaroop!!!
by the way, it is mukul of canaan partners....

Proto.in: Create. Collaborate. Contribute says:

[...] Swaroop has covered all the companies that were in attendance in his blog entry over here. [...]

Rams says:

"atul chitnis (does he even need an intro any more?)"

NO !!!

Seriously, the list is impressive - hopefully the 'real' IT work begins. Shloka telecom sounds familiar - prob. they have an office in Indira Nagar Bangalore.

Aswin Anand says:

Dude!!! somehow I missed seeing you

Raghavendra says:

I was repenting that I missed the mega event now no more worries. Thanks a lot Swaroop :)

Swaroop says:

@Umang : Yep, it's the same Deep Root Linux, I was quite surprised about it too since it is 5-6 years old, I wouldn't call that a "startup"! The audience was mostly professionals and students, and many VCs (both professional as well as people who have money and want to invest but have no prior background).

@Ankur : You can start.. how about a desicrunch ;-)

@Rams : Yeah, let's hope they make it big.

@Aswin : Maybe next time :)

@Raghavendra : Welcome

Anand says:

GPRS costs have dropped significantly in the last two years.
A session of WIZDOM.in (About 1 hour of new lessons/tests) on Hutch network with planet Hutch GPRS scheme costs about Two Rupees (MAX) for data charges.
With Airtel MO postpaid charges are comparable. BSNL GPRS is in the same therabouts.

With these above schemes a session of WIZDOM.in is cheaper to access (GPRS charges) than the typical bus fare to a coaching class.

Airtel MO prepaid has a Rs. 375/- flat charge per month with unlimited access. There I concede your point.

Compare with the cost of Broadband Internet access of Rs. 250/- per month MIN for good quality.

Badri says:

Having been in the proto event myself, it is nice to see an exhaustive coverage of the presentations.

what perhaps can be added is the lack of clarity in some players about their market and also the visible getting-stuck with 'technology as the be all and end all'.

also missing was an opportunity to interact online. I had posted a set of 5 questions to some like spoteazy, ixigo, picsquare in my blog http://blog.nrichsoft.in

Nice job, once again.

Srikanth Thunga says:

"Working prototypes and demos were encouraged, ppts discouraged."

Asked Vijay and found out that proto actually is a short word for prototype.. Atleast, I never knew it :)

How VCs Can Help Software Startups in India | Latent Semantic Indexing says:

[...] I’m actually very encouraged by the recent willingness of the venture community to make increasing investments in India. I was forwarded an article recently by one of the OnStartups readers that describes in detail the lineup at a local tech startup gathering in India called “Proto.in”. Swaroop does a great job summarizing the proto.in conference. If nothing else, look through the list of startups that were there. It’s starting to look an awful lot like an event I might see here in Boston (except there seems to be more telecomm, wireless and enterprise software in India). [...]

ValueFirst says:

Read Interview of ValueFirst’s CEO, Mr. Vishwadeep Bajaj

Product Ecosystem in India: Progress But More Needs to be Done at Orbit Change Conversations says:

[...] exists. In fact, Proto.in is having its 3rd session in Chennai in July (check out their Jan session here). There is also an Indian version of TechCrunch; it just happens to be called Webyantra! Then there [...]

Foodistan Team says:

We missed proto this time. Next time we'll make an appearance too.


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