My experience with Startup Village
I’d missed sharing this in my blog. so here it goes.
Note: The link seems to be broken after Startup Village migrated their blog to a new website. I’m posting below a draft copy of the article I had with me.
Since its inception in April 2012, I’ve been to Startup Village many times. Each visit has been equally memorable and inspiring and probably has impacted my life more than anything else so far.
I got my first real taste of coding and hacker culture during my SV funded visit to Bangalore for 55444 hackathon in July 2012. The first time I visited SV was with 8 of my college friends for a week long android training workshop, during our onam vacations of 2012. The excellent training by Mr. Zacharias (our dear Zac) and helped us start off on our mobile app development trail. Our stay was provisioned at Kerala Institute for Entrepreneurship Development (KIED).
The week-long stint at SV was marked by another memorable incident. The initial pitch for my first college startup happened then. Our startup ‘Hedcet’ was at its infancy then. I remember entering Sijo’s room with my laptop to demo the initial prototype of our product ‘campusLAN’, a campus ERP solution. The few minutes of talk was thought provoking and insightful. Sijo immediately connected us with many of his contacts exploring the same domain as ours. An important lesson learned that day was that its not just the quality of the product that matters, but making our customers aware of the need for such a product was equally if not more important. We got virtually incubated at SV then. Presently. our the team of 5 has expanded to 14, we launched campusLAN as ‘Beehive’ at Oracle-SV MoU signing event. HedCet got listed among the top 5 student startups in SV. We even got the opportunity to meet and discuss our project ideas with Kris Gopalakrishnan (Chief of Advisory Board), who mentors startups at SV. He has agreed to be the first customer for our next product ‘TinyMail’ which is under development.
Since the 55444 Hackathon, I’ve never missed a hackathon if possible. Even more importantly, I’ve never missed a chance to visit SV whenever I am at Ernakulam. We readied our next major product ‘Medicol’, an appointment scheduling system for doctors by pulling an all nighter at SV. Another project by myself and my classmates, ‘SMS based vehicle locating system’ got virtually incubated at SV. We were also able to start a commercial venture called DialBlood (http://dialblood.com/) around another project ‘Automated Bloodbank management system’ with the guidance from Sijo as well as technical support from Mobme (the inspirational student startup from CET).
One other key take away from my visits to SV is the chance to interact with the startups incubated there. It is easy for anyone to come up with startup ideas. But these people there have actually taken the bold decision to pursue their dreams and make their ideas a reality. Talks with founders of Wowmakers, Verbicio, Exam Voice, Mashinga, RHL Vision, DhaneW Research, Profoundis, MindTree etc not to mention Mobme has helped me realize how it actually feels to work in a startup environment. Conversations are filled with gems of advice that only first hand experience can give. This itself makes the trip to SV worthwhile.
As much as I realise that my journey has just begun and that there is a lot more to be seen, explored and experienced, I cannot even imagine how my life would have been if it were not for SV. I consider myself lucky that Startup Village came into being at the same time as my college tenure. SV has numerous programs for students interested in startups. The recent SVSquare program and Fisher Collge of Business Internship program etc are a few examples of the initiatives that are offered. The 20% attendance scheme for student entrepreneurs pioneered by SV is also a huge relief for many students in Kerala. A chance for them to pursue their dreams.
Looking forward to lots of further fruitful associations with SV.