Re­co­pro Grabs The Win­ner’s Ti­tle At Con­quest 2017

Dalal Street Investment Journal - - ANALYSIS | EQUITY -

The Grand Fi­nale of Con­quest 2017, BITS Pi­lani’s in­ter­na­tional startup chal­lenge, con­cluded on a high note this Sun­day at Hy­att Re­gency, New Delhi. With DCB Bank as the ti­tle spon­sor, Con­quest has be­come a par­adise for star­tups, pro­vid­ing them with a chance to voice their ideas, net­work with in­dus­try lead­ers and ob­tain in­cu­ba­tion and fund­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The win­ner’s po­si­tion was grabbed by Re­co­pro, a startup that man­u­fac­tures re­cy­clable pa­per pal­lets which are cheaper, stronger and greener than the tra­di­tional wood coun­ter­parts, while the run­ner-up was In­cred­i­ble De­vices, which works on pro­vid­ing af­ford­able treat­ment tech­niques for CVD, a disease with a fa­tal­ity rate of 80%. The win­ner and the run­ner-up have been awarded INR 250K and INR 150K of eq­uity-less cash fund­ing.

Con­quest, BITS Pi­lani’s in­ter­na­tional startup con­clave, is an ini­tia­tive whose wheels were set in mo­tion back in 2004. Thir­teen years have passed by, with a cou­ple of re­vamped mod­els and suc­cess sto­ries laden through­out, with a lot more prom­ise ex­ud­ing from Con­quest 2017. The edi­tion, in as­so­ci­a­tion with Zoho, Ac­cel, WNS and Payu, raked in 1000plus startup ap­pli­ca­tions and, in part­ner­ship with Letsven­ture, fil­tered the num­ber down to the Top 50. The de­mo­graph­ics and sec­tors of the reg­is­tered star­tups were var­ie­gated in equal mea­sure, mak­ing the com­pe­ti­tion pan-in­dia, with a few for­eign ap­pli­cants. The num­ber was brought down to the Top 50 based on a rig­or­ous scru­tiny spread across 36 ex­ten­sive pa­ram­e­ters.

The Top 50 star­tups were then men­tored on a one-on-one ba­sis in men­tor­ing ses­sions held at Delhi, Mum­bai and Ban­ga­lore. The net­work­ing ses­sions wit­nessed at­ten­dance from the likes of Meera Iyer, CMO, Big Bas­ket; Ashish Goel, Head of Prod­uct, Zo­mato and Su­vonil Chatterjee, for­mer CDO, Hous­ing and Flip­kart. Dr. Bindu Dey, the Guest of Hon­our for the Grand Fi­nale, is the cur­rent Sec­re­tary of the Tech­nol­ogy De­vel­op­ment Board. In her ad­dress to the gath­er­ing, she em­pha­sised on the im­por­tance of com­mer­cial­is­ing the re­sults of re­search and the role played by TDB in the same.

Praveen Kutty, Head of Re­tail and SME Bank­ing, DCB Bank, on his ex­pe­ri­ence with Con­quest, said “The ex­pe­ri­ence has been bril­liant as al­ways. It is our third year of as­so­ci­a­tion with Con­quest, and each year, the fi­nal­ists have been splen­did. We have ac­tu­ally started in­ter­act­ing and do­ing busi­ness with a cou­ple of fi­nal­ists from the pre­vi­ous edi­tions. Con­quest is a re­mark­able event and it is com­mend­able what the team does to put it to­gether.”

The itin­er­ary con­sisted of two panel dis­cus­sions, a pitch­ing round for the Top 10 star­tups in front of in­vestors from over 25 in­vest­ment firms and lead­ing in­dus­tri­al­ists, a net­work­ing lunch, along with in­ter­ac­tion of the jury with the au­di­ence in the Fish Bowl round.

The first panel dis­cussed nu­ances that a young en­tre­pre­neur should keep in mind. Some of the pan­elists who shared their thoughts on the topic were Nishith Ras­togi, CEO & Founder of Lo­cus.sh, Barath Shankar, Se­nior An­a­lyst, Ac­cel Part­ners. Dhruv Mathur, Co-founder at Lit­tle Black Book, Ab­hishek Gupta, COO at Tlabs and San­jay Nath, Man­ag­ing Part­ner at Blume Ven­tures.

The sec­ond panel, con­sist­ing of Vivek Khare, Di­rec­tor Strat­egy at Letsven­ture, Ab­hi­raj Bahl, Co-founder at Ur­ban Clap, Vikram Upad­hyay, Chief Men­tor at GHV Ac­cel­er­a­tor, Shan­tanu Mathur, Coun­try Head at Knowl­ar­ity and Su­jit Pan­i­grahi, CEO, Fit­ness 365, dis­cussed the trou­bles of in­no­vat­ing in a risk-averse coun­try like In­dia.

Erik Azu­lay, Di­rec­tor, Nexus Startup Hub, was among the mem­bers of the jury. Talk­ing of Con­quest, he said “The qual­ity of star­tups and the pitches that I saw here has been much bet­ter than at other events. Ku­dos to Con­quest for en­sur­ing qual­ity at ev­ery stage!”

The Fish Bowl round was the most looked for­ward ses­sion where the stu­dents and en­trepreneurs in the au­di­ence were given a chance to di­rectly in­ter­act with the cor­po­rate lead­ers at the event by ask­ing them ques­tions in an open to all dis­cus­sion. The jury mem­bers, in­clud­ing Nilesh Kothari, Man­ag­ing Part­ner, Tri­fecta Cap, among other dis­tin­guished in­dus­try leads, were part of the ses­sion. The ses­sion was an en­thralling ex­pe­ri­ence, with dis­cus­sions on top­ics rang­ing from the rise in pop­u­lar­ity of Ini­tial Coin Of­fer­ing (ICOS) to the heated de­bate on Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence.

With a hand­picked au­di­ence con­sist­ing of some of the biggest names among VCS and An­gel in­vestors, the top 10 start-ups in the coun­try as well as stu­dents from the lead­ing in­sti­tutes of In­dia, the Grand Fi­nale of Con­quest 2017 has lived up to its rep­u­ta­tion of be­ing a startup par­adise, and ev­ery startup en­thu­si­ast’s net­work­ing dream.

The de­mo­graph­ics and sec­tors of the reg­is­tered star­tups were var­ie­gated in equal mea­sure, mak­ing the com­pe­ti­tion pan-in­dia, with a few for­eign ap­pli­cants. The num­ber was brought down to the Top 50 based on a rig­or­ous scru­tiny spread across 36 ex­ten­sive pa­ram­e­ters.

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