Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Key Challenges for Pune’s Start-ups- And How SEAP can Help?

Pune has been steadily growing as a startup destination as shown by the numerous startups that have sprung up in our vibrant city. A city that was known for its history and cultural heritage is now providing a solid ecosystem for industrial and technology growth too. We at SEAP aim to play a key role in fostering and nurturing the start-up ecosystem in Pune through our various programs. Let’s look at the needs of Pune’s startups and how some of our initiatives can help address them.

More on the start-up culture in Pune
The start-up ecosystem has received a lot of attention recently and according to the reports by NASSCOM, the YOY growth is said to grow at about 10-12%. Government initiatives provide better support and incentives for startups rise of technologies such as Cloud, IOT, Big Data, and Machine learning are also opening up opportunities for startups.There is now a steady progression towards Fintech, Healthtech and Edutech startups, after the eCommerce boom of a few years ago.
Pune has emerged as a hotbed of start-ups owing to its solid manufacturing base, high-quality educational institutions,and strong IT sector.Pune is home to many notable educational institutions, engineering colleges with readily available tech talent which has led to the growth of interesting start-ups in this city. The presence of a strong manufacturing industry who are core consumers of technology has created a favorable ecosystem for the rise of start-ups. Besides, its proximity to the Mumbai, entrepreneur culture and well-settled diaspora in centres like the US have played a key role in attracting founders to the city.
According to AngelList, there are about 322 startups in the city with many start-ups successful in receiving multiple funding roundslikeDruva, Sapience, Helpshift, FirstCry, and SwipeTelecom. 2017 has been a promising year for start-ups based in Pune in the technology and consumer Internet segments with Q1FY18 bringing in funding rounds estimated to be worth $96 million according to analysis provided by Inc42.

What are the top challenges faced by Pune’s Startups today?
-Lack of proper guidance and mentorship
One of the biggest challenges faced by startups today is the absence of guidance and mentorship for the young and budding entrepreneurs who are brimming with fresh ideas. They have the required talent and ability to take the start-ups to new heights but lack access to mentors. This could slow down the growth of such companies. Although they may have sound knowledge about their products, they lack the necessary industry and market experience to get their products to the market.
-Experience in creating a sound branding strategy
Branding demands a lot of attention, especially for startups. Many startups are founded by technical founders and they often lack the knowledge for creating a solid branding strategy for their business. For long-term commercial success of any venture, clear and consistent branding and messaging right from the time of the inception are critical.
-Less funding and venture capital access
Most startups operate with constrained resources and it’s essential for them to access funds to scale to meet the growing demands of the market and the competition. The Pune funding ecosystem in only evolving and access to top-drawer VCs and funding is still less than it should be. Pune’s startups crave the opportunity to become visible to VCs so their ideas can get the funding they deserve.

How SEAP is giving a significant boost to start-ups in Pune?

-The Pune Connect Story
Pune’s startups are a key focus area for SEAP. Our Pune Connect event annually brings together promising startups and gives them a platform to showcase themselves. They become visible to VC firms, investors, and partners or find potential clients willing to become early-adoptersof their offerings. This popular event gives a valuable opportunity for startups to connect with top industry leaders and influencers and showcase their innovation and give demos.
Over the past five years, Pune Connect has been successful in building its association with dozens of startups who have benefited from the experience.

-Boosting knowledge and skills
SEAP also provides education and training to companies. We organize lectures on emerging technologies via subject matter experts. This has obvious value for founders and to-be entrepreneurs. They can understand the upcoming trends and equip themselves with the new age skill requirements essential to drive their development and growth strategies.

-Promote business and social growth through networks
SEAP also works closely with the government and apart from the access this provides to our members, a key value is the participation in government-led initiatives such as Digital India, Startup India, and the Pune Smart City project.
SEAP assists startups and entrepreneurs in having quality interactions with experienced and qualified industry professionals across multiple channels. A recently launched initiative is SEAP Gurucool aimed at addressing the mentorship gap that most professionals in particular, and entrepreneurs in particular feel. This program is a structured attempt to provide one-on-one access to some of Pune’s top professionals.

We recognize that startups have to struggle to make it – they need all the support they can get. SEAP, through its various programs aims to provide just that support. For starters – keep your eyes peeled for news of Pune Connect 2017 – it’s just around the corner! 

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