Monday, December 03, 2007

BarCampDelhi3: random thoughts on Bighow

The latest edition of Bar Camp in Delhi will be held on December 8, 2007, and promises to bring together a disparate collection of this Capital City’s inquisitive tech professionals, ambitious startup entrepreneurs, intrepid and nimble-footed investors, gawky media persons and enthusiastic bloggers.

As usual, there will be a number of exciting sessions and interesting people and I shall try my best to make it there. It is interesting that the day-long event is being held in Noida, and not in Delhi and that gives me an opportunity to come back to some salient features of the startup environment in this city, an possible in this country as whole:

1. Startup is still hard in Delhi
Not much has changed since I wrote this post in 2006. Php programmers are still hard to come by if you are short oj funds. Garage startup is a misnomer here and most probably means an air-conditioned basement in any one of Delhi’s tony neighborhoods. Sweat equity amounts to zilch in a community where job and career pressures envelop everything in a foreboding shroud.

Maybe, I will go to the event and shout ‘Php Pehelwaans Wanted!!!’ till someone listens.

2. VC is tough, angels are tougher

The reality is investors are more interested in Indian startups prefer them to be in fields other than internet – real estate, green technologies, micro finance, retail…

It doesn’t help that many Indian startups are me-too offerings.

The first VCs who responded to my email about supporting my startup Bighow.com (concept site is already up, thanks to a supportive programmer), about whom I had read much in the media, responded after a while and they sounded like they did not read the executive summaries, introductions etc. and recited the tired spiel about internet not being widespread in India, when I prefaced the email with something like ‘Bighow.com: world’s first community publishing tool (aggregator cum publisher)'.

As for angels, don’t get your hopes up. There are so-called angel networks which are actually fronts for well-off businessmen and it takes a while before your documents reaches to the intended person and by the looks of it, the decision is based on 1. community think and 2. numbers – they asked me for 3 year income statement projections and having supplied the basic numbers, all I have to do now is to make some fantastic adsense–based projections, with absurd CPM rates, among other things.


Lest this post turns into rants from a disillusioned entrepreneur, let me quickly give you the important links about BarCampDelhi3. I hope you benefit from this useful event.


Links and addresses

The BarCamp Delhi Wiki (where you can log in for free, enter your details, register etc.)
http://barcamp.org/BarCampDelhi3

Location of BarCampDelhi3
Impetus Technologies (Direction on Google Maps)
D-39/40, Sector - 59, NOIDA

Bar Camp Delhi Mailing List
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/delhi_barcamp/

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