Start-ups must be the most envied corporate beasts. They get tax holidays. Ten thousand crores of funds from the government. Wall-to-wall coverage from the pink papers. Get celebrated for not making a rupee. And enjoy astronomical valuations for manufacturing nothing.
Sour grapes aside, for every unworthy billion dollar unicorn, there’s a start-up somewhere, working quietly to be a game changer fuelled by just sweat, spunk and spirit. It’s time we focused on them rather than the much ballyhooed Snapdeals and the Flipkarts. I’ve put together a nifty A to Z list in case you decide to punt a million bucks on these dark horses:
‘Airwoot’ specialises in listening to social media conversations and presenting the hot button issues to brands before they spiral out of control. The deliciously-named ‘Better Butter’ is a social discovery platform for ghar ka recipes from across India. ‘Culture Alley’ teaches English, Mandarin, Spanish and Portuguese using news articles, games and daily quizzes. ‘Delhivery’ is the last-mile logistics delivery firm for many e-commerce ventures and small merchants. ‘Embibe’ is the online test preparation coach that students will love as the site quantifies the weaknesses and deficiencies, and aims to improve scores using analytics and technology. ‘Faircent’ is the bridge that connects lenders and borrowers and promotes peer-to-peer lending.
‘Greenlight’ is into spreading the light of rural energy in off-grid villages by evangelising the use of solar lamps. ‘HereNow’ is the equivalent of a neighborhood bulletin board where you can exchange news and views relevant to your locality. ‘Inshorts’ serves news in 60 words for the generation with woefully short attention spans. ‘Joe Hukum’ is your valet to get things done - from ordering pasta to cleaning dishes to fixing leaks. ‘Kratos’ is the mobile ad network aiming to deliver better bang for the buck through better targeting. ‘Lybrate’ lets you take second opinions from doctors through online chats, telephone calls and in some cases, they even arrange a home visit. ‘MapMyGenome’ is a new-gen diagnostics company that uses genetic tests for proactively guiding you on your health. ‘NextDrop’ can amazingly track and solve water problems by connecting users with the municipality technicians.
‘Qyk’ is the mobile google for professional help. With a track record of developing over 1400 apps, that too in Udupi, ‘Robosoft’ is clearly the app-maker to watch. ‘SilverPush’ is in the realm of making ad measurement in idiot boxes, smarter. ‘Truly Madly’ is a dating app that turns singles into un-singles. ‘Unobitcoin’ is into helping you buy and trade in the currency of the future. ‘Wishberry’ breathes life into creative projects by leveraging the power of crowd funding. And finally, ‘Zoomcar’ is the self-drive car rentals venture that propagates the freedom of four-wheels. With such an impressive line-up, Start-up India doesn’t look like one more big bubble.