Building an Ecosystem for Startups in India

FundTonic is a venture that aims to create an ecosystem to enable funding in ventures, to maximise returns for Investors. (www.fundtonic.com)

Founded by the trio –  Akshit Gupta, Nainesh Kapadia and Bhavin Parikh, the team decided to change the way angel investing happens in India. FundTonic realized that funding was happening without really addressing the pain point and gaps of startups before they venture out for fund raising. One of the biggest challenge according to the team was that while dealing with investors everyone talks about deal closure and investing. There is usually very limited focus on exits and no one is takes that responsibility. Hence the team structured their business model in a manner wherein they not only get highly curated startups to raise fund but also take responsibility of Post Investment actions.

Tell us more about the Co-Founders of FundTonic
Akshit Gupta, the Co Founder & Director at FundTonic was heading Deal Execution at Intellecap Impact Investment Network, wherein, he enabled investments in promising ventures, prior to setting up FundTonic. Akshit is a co-founding member of IntelleGrow, India’s first venture debt fund, where he built and management one of largest portfolio in addition to building the organising.  Prior to IntelleGrow, Akshit has also worked with HDFC Bank for the Emerging Corporates Group, wherein he was responsible for asset portfolio of the Bank and built a quality portfolio. He has been a Mentor to IIM Ahmedabad Power of Ideas Program and is an Advisor to various incubators

Nainesh Kapadiaan entrepreneur, investor and deal maker and has expertise in working, leading and managing industries across packaging, banking, dairy, automation, e-com and technology. He is a co founder at FundTonic, an advisory and fund Management Company that aims to make startup funding really easy for innovative startups and smart investors. He is the CEO of Shree Sundaram Overseas, a leading Trade Finance and financial consultancy firm.  Nainesh has a deep focus on rural and economic development. He is an active participant in various initiatives for an NGO. Nainesh also holds an MBA in Trade Finance.

Bhavin Parikh comes with a wealth of experience across various sectors, an industrialist by professions currently employs more than 1100 people across different businesses. Also Owner to companies in various sectors including Textiles, Constructions, and commodities also has invested in various early stage growth companies. Bhavin holds a degree in Business Administration from Swinburne University, Australia. He is a Trustee at Gujarat Innovation Society and helps innovation & supports various upcoming ideas to florish out of Gujarat. He has an established track record of creating and managing high profit margin businesses by strategizing, operationalizing and executing plans. Bhavin is also a volunteer with various NGOs and helps causes related to animal care. Bhavin’s family also houses animal shelters and supports girl child education, runs old age homes across Gujarat

How did you manage the initial capital?
Bhavin Parik, who is the co-Founder at FundTonic is the seed Investor. With him, the team did not only get the seed capital, but also the advantage of his experience of building large organizations, ability to encourage true innovation and team management.

What were the initial days like?
Our first few months were highly execution intensive. What we wanted to be sure about is while we executed the most critical pieces of business, we also wanted to be on top with accounting and governance — which is most of the times ignored by many new ventures.

Further, we were very clear from Day 1 that we will focus on generating revenue from beginning even as we burn cash in first few months. We do not have a single month since our lunch date that we have not generated revenue.

We also observed during the initial months, that the senior management was getting involved in overlapping responsibility which was sometimes delaying decision making. We immediately sat down together and assigned specific roles and responsibilities that would ensure smoother functioning of the organization.

First few months are also very important for work culture setting.  We were sure we don’t need a team of complacent people and even within the leadership team we continue to put pressure situations, which has resulted in some out of the box solutions for us.

Have you managed to help raise funds for any of your associate startups?
Yes, we have 3 term sheets already within a short span of time with fund raising ranging from USD 150k to USD 500k. Since the deals are yet to be public, we won’t be able to share more information here

Explain your revenue stream & profitability.
Our revenue model is based on commission on fund raised for startup and equity stake in our portfolio of funded companies. This gives our Investors a lot of comfort as there is a credible institution like FundTonic which is also taking care of post investment portfolio monitoring and future rounds of fund raising. We generally work with only those start ups where we can also accelerate the company for their business development.

What is your guiding philosophy when it comes to doing business?
Focus on execution and business development. We should not get obsesses by idea or concepts when we are not sure it will sell. We repeat ‘Execution is the key’

Also start building processes early in your organization and capabilities to monitor it. It is very simple to do and the discipline goes a long way as you scale up and have a bigger team. This becomes another important aspect of work culture setting. Respect your co-founders and employees and make sure every day is fully of challenges that your people are looking forward to take it up.

Where do you see yourself 3 years from now?
There is lot of innovation happening at FundTonic. In the next 3 years, we aim to be “THE Institution” that ensures responsible angel investing. Investors should understand the risks involved and appropriate return expectations. We are working on structures that will ensure transparency of information before and after investing. We have 2 unique business lines being developed internally, which will completely change the way angel investing happens today and encourage more investors to support startups. 

Providing A-Z consulting in the cloud CRM domain

ABSYZ — Anshul & Balesh

ABSYZ Software Consulting is a dynamically growing firm in the salesforce ecosystem. The broad gamut of services that it offers include consulting, implementation, audit, support, staff augmentation and training services.

The name — ABSYZ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘AB’ that stands for the state of being in the Now or Present, and fused with the word ‘SYZ’ to overlay it with futuristic tones. The name also symbolizes their capabilities in providing with solutions from A to Z, and everything in between. In a short span of four years, they have had more than a 100 successful engagements and implementations. ABSYZ is co-founded by Anshul Jain and Balesh Lakshminarayanan.

With over 10 years of experience and 5 salesforce.com certifications, Anshul is the CEO of ABSYZ. He is an alumni of T.A.Pai Management Institute and has been part of companies like Hexagon Metrology, Infosys and so on. While he is not playing the multi-faceted role of CEO and Consultant, Anshul spends his time responding to queries in salesforce.com answer community, making him one of the Top 15 community experts of all time.

Balesh is the CTO of ABSYZ. With over 10 years of experience in IT, Consulting and Telecoms, Balesh has been a part of many transformational projects for clients across the world. His solutions are focused on long term usability and strong impact on the bottom-line which explains his natural flair for strategy and planning. Balesh has prior experience in companies like Infosys, Alcatel-Lucent and is an alumni of T.A.Pai Management Institute and School of Engineering, Cochin University. He also holds 5 salesforce.com certifications

What is ABSYZ? What is the issue that the venture is trying to address and what makes you confident that it is a winning proposition.

“ABSYZ fills a particularly interesting gap in the service industry by providing high-end consulting and implementation services at competitive rates by leveraging the location and cost advantage without compromising quality. The big system integrators are expensive but for a technology like salesforce.com, skill set is key. Infrastructure requirements for development center are minimal as everything is on cloud. We leverage these advantages and solve the problem if providing high value consulting (similar to Deloitte, Accenture etc) at affordable rates.”

What was the key factor/s that led you to take the plunge?

“Both Co-founders have the right mix of Salesforce.com consulting experience and solid management background. Entrepreneurship was always in back of our mind and at some point we realized that it is easier to make something we know better than start from scratch.”

Where (if) did you meet your other co-founders / business partners? Please describe each one briefly.

“Anshul Jain and I (Balesh Lakshminarayanan) are batchmates and close friends from B-school (TAPMI 2010 batch). Immediately after college, both were placed in a startup, then Infosys and at some point we decided to explore the world on our own. Anshul moved to Intergraph (now Hexagon Metrology) and traveling the world as a business consultant. I was based out of Geneva as Engagement Lead for a key account in Infosys. It was in 2013 that our paths crossed again when Anshul came for his honeymoon to Switzerland. In a small hotel in Lucern, Anshul opened his laptop and we ran through some numbers and before we knew it the decisions were made subconsciously. I came back to India and quit. Anshul quit a month earlier. ABSYZ was already registered and we had started the background work much earlier and then there was no stopping us. We had the right skillset, network and risk taking mindset which attracted customers and talent equally.” 

How did you manage the initial capital?

“ABSYZ is completely bootstrapped and initial capital came entirely from our savings.” 

What were the first 90 days like?

“First 90 days were like a horror movie. Dark, bleak and scary. In the excitement of entrepreneurship both of us quit our jobs but as first generation entrepreneurs, first time in our life expenses were more than income and montly salary credit sms stopped. First 90 days were mostly full of sleepless nights. We recruited some very good people on the way and were literally paying them from our savings. Then we took a crazy decision of spending more and going to US for a conference (Dreamforce 2014) and that worked for us. It took sometime for the first few clients and invoices to clear but once the cashflow started in about 3-4 months, we were more confident and eventually broke even in a year or so.”

Have you managed to raise any funding — angel / seed, etc?

“None so far.”

What is the revenue stream & profitability?

“We are now a 50 employee company with about $500,000 revenue in 2015-2016. We have started acquiring some long term contracts as well and have close to 20 clients now. We are looking at reaching the $1 million revenue mark before 2016-2017 FY.”

What is your guiding philosophy when it comes to doing business?

“ABSYZ core values are:

  1. Uncompromising Integrity
  2. Absolute Credibility
  3. Best in Class Innovation
  4. Wow customer experience
  5. Passion and Courage to experiment

​With an attrition of less than 5%, I am sure we are doing something right which ensures that more and more people are believing in us and joining our success story.”

Where do you see yourself 3 years from now?

“Initially when we started, we were looking at 3-4 years, 30-40 member team and then an acquisition but things changed very fast. Recently we registered ABSYZ Inc in California, we have started working on some products as well and things are looking bright for Salesforce.com as an industry. Thus our concentration for now is to improve our team, skill set and work on our brand. We have started hiring from colleges and looking at a team of 100+ by end of 2017.”

Stellar gathering of technopreneurs & Innovation experts at Startup Networkz India 2016

SINGAPORE, 10 MARCH 2015 — Prominent technopreneurs, startup gurus and investors from across the Asia Pacific region and Silicon Valley are gathering in India for the Startup Networkz 2016 conference, to be held on 12 March at VNIT, Nagpur, 15 March in Kolkata and 17 March at the T-Hub in Hyderabad.

Startup Networkz (www.startupnetworkz.com) is a thought-leadership platform tracking innovation and engaging ecosystems across various cities around the world. The conference series brings together all the stakeholders in a startup ecosystem, including entrepreneurs, business leaders, innovators, researchers and educational specialists, government leaders and venture capitalists, under one roof who champion innovation and who are passionate about taking their innovation ecosystem to the next level. A series of successful startup conferences, Startup Capitals (www.startupcapitals.com) were hosted in Singapore, Delhi & Bangalore in 2015.

The series will feature panel sessions on challenges for local startups and opportunities for developing robust startup ecosystems. International speakers will bring fresh and global perspectives to the discussions. There will also be entrepreneurs from local startups who will share their experiences. Up and coming startups will have a chance to network and pitch their startups to incubators and venture capitalists at the conference.

A stellar line-up of international speakers and panelists includes Mr Seth Freeman, CEO and co-founder of EM Capital Management LLC, San Francisco, Mr Efraim Petterson, Founder, TechGrind Accelerator, Bangkok, Ms Maureen Freeman, Principal, Lamorinda Advisors, San Francisco, Mr Shashi Chaudhary, Innovator & Angel Investor, Mr Shashank Garg, Co-Founder, Infocepts, Mr Shoummo Acharya, CEO, eTrans Solutions, Mr Hari T, CEO, CallHealth, Mr Devesh Chawla, Founder, Chatur Ideas and Mr Deepak Daftari, CEO, eShiksha among others.

Singapore-based Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL) is also partner the Startup Networkz conference in Hyderabad. Dr Alex Lin, CEO, IIPL will be delivering the keynote address at the Hyderabad conference. IIPL will also be sitting through a startup pitch in Hyderabad involving FinTech, IoT & Digital Health startups

 

“This uniquely curated programme not only offers early stage startups a chance to hear and interact with the thought‐leaders and entrepreneurs, but also test their ideas with leading investors & successful entrepreneurs,” said Vishwesh Iyer, co-founder of Startup Networkz & Managing Partner at BERG Singapore. The conferences in 2015 were hosted in association with the launch of the book Startup Capitals. Invest Hong Kong, NASSCOM and TiE were the supporting partners for the conference series in 2015 that were hosted in Singapore, Delhi & Bangalore. The India conference series in March 2016 is presented in association with E-Cell of VNIT, T-Hub, IIPL, Entrepreneur Café and AsiaBizToday as the supporting partners.

For more information and to register, visit www.startupnetworkz.com