Hyderabad based Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality Startup Imaginate raises $500K in Seed funding from SRI Capital

Imaginate, a leading VR/AR company based in India & US, announced today that it has raised $500,000 from SRI Capital, a seed stage venture fund based in Philadelphia. Sashi Reddi, managing partner of SRI Capital, has joined the Company’s board of directors. Imaginate’s early seed investor IIIT Hyderabad has exited with this funding round.

dreaming

Referring to his first investment in 2017, Sashi Reddi mentioned, “Imaginate’s collaboration platform, NuSpace, is like Webex of VR and AR. It will revolutionize the way people collaborate and learn by leveraging the best of both a physical class room like environment and the ease of a digital conferencing platform like Webex or Skype.”

Some of the popular collaboration platforms in VR include AltspaceVR and vTime that operate in the social networking space. NuSpace operates primarily in the B2B space of specialized training and education. “With just a 2 Mbps connection, every NuSpace user can communicate with one another across geographies through their realistic avatars. It is less than the minimum internet speed that a HD video connection would need.”, informs Hemanth Satyanarayana, the Managing Director of Imaginate and an alumnus of IIT Madras and University at Buffalo.

Imaginate was a part of the NASSCOM 10,000 startups warehouse program in 2016. Its director Ashok Madaravally pointed out, “NuSpace won the Most Innovative & High Potential Product award at NASSCOM’s annual product showcase held in October 2016. Not everyone is comfortable with VR. With NuSpace, one could be wearing a Mixed Reality device like HoloLens from Microsoft and others could be wearing Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR, Google Cardboard, etc. This specific ability of the platform of being hardware agnostic will make it easy for the industry to start using it.”

Hemanth Satyanarayana added, “We are working on a few pilots with large corporations like Dassault Systèmes, Honeywell, etc. With the Dassault pilot, we intend to provide better support to CATIA & DELMIA model format in NuSpace and make our customers’ engineering data accessible in the platform.”

About Imaginate

Imaginate is the developer of NuSpace, a hardware agnostic, collaboration platform that enables people to communicate with one another in an immersive and interactive realistic virtual world, for purposes such as specialized industrial training, engineering design, remote maintenance and repair. Imaginate is a Gartner Top 3 Cool Vendor that operates in the space of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality. For more information on NuSpace, visit www.nuspace.live

Imaginate will use the funds to provide collaboration tools in VR, AR and MR in Industrial Training, Design and Maintenance in US and Indian markets.

3 Invaluable Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Very few successful entrepreneurs will tell aspiring business owners that founding and managing a business is always easy. Still, they will usually insist that it’s what they were born to do and no other kind of life would have been as satisfying for them. Business founders come from many different walks of life and form a very diverse group. However, they usually do adhere to a few basic rules that they adopted to run their companies in the best possible way.

Three Essential Tips for New Entrepreneurs

According to Ryan Robin, an entrepreneur and Entrepreneur Magazine contributor, the one thing that all successful business owners agree upon is the importance of taking advice from mentors. While most business owners will have to overcome obstacles and mistakes, it’s helpful to minimize these by considering some tips from people who have already traveled this path.

With that bit of good advice in mind, consider these three tips for aspiring entrepreneurs:

1. Prioritize Financial Management from Day One

Companies can generate a lot of revenue and even profits without enjoying long-term success. Most businesses experience both peaks and lows in their business cycles and have to manage unexpected expenses. In addition, generating high revenues won’t guarantee a positive cash flow unless the business can manage to control expenses. Conversely, some companies become sustainable quickly even without very high revenues because the owner has learned to manage finances.

These are all good reasons why business finances have to be managed well from the first day in operation. It helps to use bookkeeping software in order to document revenues and expenses. This kind of software also helps a new entrepreneur develop good money management habits. A solution like an online line of credit can help relieve stress by making sure that the company can enjoy ongoing access to business funding. The best entrepreneurs work to manage money and ensure their company has enough capital to succeed.

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

2. Focus on Passions

Chase Jarvis founded CreativeLive.com, a company that streams educational material. He expresses his bet bit of advice by telling other business founders to, “Scratch your own itch.” Entrepreneurs need to understand that founding a business will be more like a marathon than a sprint. It’s much easier to maintain high levels of interest, focus, and energy if the company involves a pursuit that is truly meaningful to the business owner.

In this light, Mr. Jarvis says that aspiring entrepreneurs should not just seek some business opportunity because research or experience promises high revenues or low competition. Instead, they should really try to focus on following their own passions. Certainly, it’s always prudent to make sure that a business idea has a chance to succeed by conducting research or relying upon experience. At the same time, a good opportunity may only become a great business if the business owner really cares about it.

3. Focus on the Hustle

Jon Acuff wrote a best-selling business book called “Do Over” that helps people learn to start loving their work again. His best advice for new business owners is to understand how to hustle in order to obtain their dreams. He says that many aspiring business owners don’t really understand how to direct their energy in order to achieve their goals. Mr. Acuff gained his experience by moving through a series of jobs in order to find meaningful work and then finally, founding his own business as an author, business brand consultant, and speaker.

To explain, Acuff says that hustling should be an act of focusing energy towards specific goals and not just moving in a frenzy. He says that the most successful business owners don’t necessarily get more done in a workday than others. Instead, they focus their work upon those activities that contribute to reaching their clearly defined business goals and help them generate profits.

How Do New Business Succeed?

Entrepreneurs tend to be a pretty independent group of people. At the same time, successful business owners should stop to take advice from experienced mentors. They will also take the time to learn how to do essential business tasks, like managing finances, that they may not enjoy as much as they enjoy developing their products or services. In order to find the drive to handle a business startup, it’s helpful to find a business that incorporates meaningful work that really inspires the owner. Finally, it’s important to figure out which tasks are most important and really focus on those so your small business can grow and thrive.

about Author:

Jami Schwartz is in charge of content at Kabbage. Kabbage helps small businesses get the funding they need to grow. Through a fully automated, online platform, businesses can link their latest business data, allowing us to review the overall health of their business to approve and provide lines of credit up to $100,000 in minutes.

Unicorns – Need of the hour

India has a population of 1.3 billion and is the third largest Start-up ecosystem in the World. Yet out of 177 unicorns in the world, India can boast of only 8 namely Flipkart, Snapdeal, Ola cabs, One 97 Communication (Paytm), Hike, Shopclues, Zomato Media, and InMobi. Oyo Rooms and Grofers are on the verge of joining the club.  Reasons are aplenty from the lack of a more global outlook to scanty availability of funds for a dismal number of unicorns being present in India. It’s also the socio-economic factors prevalent here that hinder the evolvement of a potential unicorn.

Unicorns at a time like this..

Unicorns are aggressive, they grow fast and they hire exponentially.

India has the advantage of a huge  demographic dividend. We as a country need to take advantage of this opportunity. Creating opportunities for two-thirds of a 1.3 billion population is a herculean task.

Unicorns are aggressive, they grow fast and they hire exponentially. The need of the hour is to build sustainable unicorn startups which will hire thousands of educated unemployed youth available.

We are nowhere close to the number of Unicorns which can meet such ambitious goals. We need an ecosystem which can drive faster yet stable growth of Unicorns to achieve this goal. The current startup ecosystem in our country needs to drive in a daringly different direction to achieve this.

Sustainable growth is characterized by one simple rule, “New customer comes from the actions of the past customer.” Building a Start-Up Enterprise is an exercise of institution building. For generations, Indian traders have laws that govern the traded products and not the customer interests. Though the Indian Entrepreneur understands money very well, a startup enterprise is not all about money.  If one needs to build a Unicorn, the focus needs to be on delivering value to the customer and the rest doesn’t matter.

unicorns-of-india

DNA of a hunting Unicorn

What makes a unicorn startup cannot be explained through a hard and fast rule. It takes a certain concoction traits to attain such a state nevertheless.

  • Business model totally aligned towards a good customer experience.
  • Has positive unit economics from early stage. 
  • Is self-sustained and has the ability to bootstrap (essentially, survive) for a while even if the next level of funding is delayed. Efficient utilisation of capital is pivotal in attaining that.
  • Business model must focus on the urban, Semi-urban and rural markets, albeit with a different marketing strategy.
  • Emphasis should be laid on value and traction but primarily on revenue.
  • A belief in originality rather than aping western businesses, since what works in a certain geographies doesn’t work in India.

The missing Link

The Start-Up ecosystem only extends to a few cities in India. The scenario needs to change, it has to expand throughout the country. The number of Non-Premium Educational Institutions are aplenty in India.  The focus has to be on identifying the best ideas and grooming them to become Start-ups. We need more seed fund and grants which can enable innovation and invention. Early stage foundation is quite important for a start-up to become a unicorn, which can be taken care of through a structural shift of strong support systems that validate at the early stages.

Finally it’s the founder’s passion and the mentor’s guidance that make a big difference in building the Enterprise. If the early stage is planned and built solid, the chances of success are much higher.

Let’s hope for a vibrant ecosystem in the years to come which will be the breeding ground for numerous unicorns. Then India will truly be a super power to reckon with.

About Author:

Devireddy Sreedevi (Executive Director, TiE Hyderabad) has Overall 17 years of diverse experience in Corporate Relations, Operations, Sales and Marketing.

Strong Business acumen coupled with people skills, Relationship management, Inspiring leadership evangelist

Email: ed@tiehyderabad.org ; devireddy.sreedevi@gmail.com

Linkedin: https://in.linkedin.com/in/drsreedevi

Twitter: DSreedevi

Global Mobile Challenge

Have an app that you think could solve a problem faced by thousands of others across the world? Participate in the Global Mobile Challenge and gain access to a network of reputed investors from all across the world and the chance to represent India in the global event at Barcelona!

Anthill Ventures in partnership with T-Hub is organising the India leg of Global Mobile Challenge. The winners from India will get the chance to represent India in The Global Mobile Challenge Asia Pacific event in Singapore and subsequently, the global event at Barcelona.

The Global Mobile Challenge is the only truly global mobile solutions competition reaching over 20,000 young professionals and students across six continents.  Termed as one of the biggest mobile application competition for entrepreneurs and innovators who have developed apps, IOT and other mobile solutions in both software and hardware, the winning teams will be provided with training, education and access to an international network of mentors, angel investors, venture capitalists and industry leaders.

global-mobile-challenge

For more details, please visit globalmobilechallenge.com and register now at http://signup.t-hub.co/gmc

How to Plan an Outbound Training Session

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAdUAAAAJDZjNDEzYzU2LWI0ZTEtNDVhNy1iMmY2LTg5MjFjMjk0NTljYQ

Outbound Training in India is known with lot of different names like Outbound Learning, Outdoor Learning. Adventure Based Learning, OBT Training. Corporate Offsite, Team Building program, Management Development Training etc.

The essence of Outbound Training is based on Experiential Education and the Experiential Learning Cycle that consists of various phases  of learning from experience, reflection and transfer of the learning to the workplace settings by a facilitator who uses a method called questioning, debriefing or processing that is based on the experience and behaviors observed in the activity.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAjCAAAAJGUwOWUzMjY3LTk3MjYtNDRkNi05Yzg1LTY3MjAxOGEzZWE2NQ.gif

The Experiential Learning CycleThe following are some of the important steps in planning an outbound training program for your company

1. Identify Learning Needs and Outcomes for the Outbound

The first step in any training is to identify the need for conducting the outbound. The learning objectives need to be identified clearly with the expected outcomes. It is generally advisable to consult the various Business Heads, the participants and the business needs to come up with the learning needs. Typically about 2 Learning objectives can be addressed in a day (6 hour) through outbound training. Avoid putting too many learning objectives and outcomes as the training focus may be diluted.

2. Identify Location for the Outbound

Outbound Training needs an environment that is safe for learning and
and gives a sense of belonging to the participants. Ideal locations would be green and serene environments that has a therapeutic effect like nature based camps and those that bring the participants out of the comfort zones. Outbound Training is also extensively done at places like resorts and in banquet halls. The environment can have a major effect on the experience and learning of the participants.  Some Learning partners will have their own campsites with all facilities for Outbound Training Interventions.

3. Selecting your Learning Partner

Selecting your learning partner can be the determining factor on the impact of the program.  Training Companies that specifically focus on experiential education tend to be better at design and delivery of the programs that can meet client expectations.

​The Outbound Training partner should be able to understand the learning needs and outcomes, Industry segment, and business needs. They should design the program keeping in focus the learning objectives and the outcomes. Should be capable of coaching, mentoring and evaluating to measure the impact after the program.

4. Selecting the Outbound Facilitator

The outbound facilitator is the person who will deliver the program. Its important for the facilitator to be an expert in expereintial education and have the relevant experience delivering outbound training programs.

The facilitator should also be involved in understanding the learning objective and outcomes of the program. ask the learning partner on who will facilitate the program and get in touch with the facilitator much in advance to discuss the objectives, outcomes and flow of the training agenda.

​The facilitator to participant ratio is utmost important, while recreation programs can have 1 facilitator to 40 participants, educational programs should not exceed 1 facilitator to 20 participants and Leadership based program may have 1 facilitator to 10 participant ratio.

5. Preparing the Participants

The success of the outbound program will also depend on the involvement and participation of the employees as Outbound learning programs require the participants to get involved, share experiences and make the program participatory. Make sure to inform the participants to set the expectations on the nature of the program and guidelines to prepare for a better outcome.

6. Finally Remember

Outbound Training is not a one time quick fix and the participants may need followup, further mentoring or coaching with  regular assessment and intervals of training for the behavioral changes.

The budgets spent on outbound will be higher than a classroom training sessions and so is the overall impact. Sometimes companies tend to spend huge amount on the resort facility and a paltry sum on the training by hiring a emcee or  team building trainer to deliver the program, making the program ineffective. so decide whether you want to do a fun based recreational program or a outbound based development program and balance between the needs and outcomes.

For more informaiton on Outbound Training check out www.outlife.in . This post was originally published by Diyanat on Linkedin Pulse.

Building Communities the Co.Lab.Orate way

It takes a lot of effort, time and patience to build a successful community.  According to Wikipedia, “A community is commonly considered a social unit (a group of three or more people) who share something in common, such as norms, values, identity, and often a sense of place that is situated in a given geographical area.” What started off at a village, town and city level has gained prominence in recent times and so much that majority of the organizations have their own community divisions and respective managers.

The sense of belongingness, camaraderie, rapport, synergies and collaborations that arise out of communities is immeasurable and intangible in nature. The sum of parts is always greater than the individual parts in this case. It is like that bundle of sticks which cannot be broken easily as compared to a single one.

While Hyderabad has been experiencing several such technical, entrepreneurial, creative and artistic communities for quite some time now, one organization has been consistently focusing on creating a long lasting, effective and efficient community system in all the former mentioned genres. Co.Lab.Orate Coworking, not an unknown name to many of us, are acclaimed for their parallel ecosystem, huge member base and frequent events and workshops. Based out of Madhapur, they have stretched their arms to Banjara Hills recently.

“We are thankful to our members, alumni and well-wishers for making this happen. Our expansion was possible only because of the immense response we got for our CAPS (Community Animation Programs and Services) initiative. People gave us all the right signals and this was a major confidence booster for our strategy”, says Vinay Peddinti, one of the founders.

Co.Lab.Orate focuses heavily on the community quotient to engage their members. And this has been an uphill effort. With little or no audience in October 2014, the team did not give up and moved forward against all possible hurdles that come along with building such communities and now boast of 5,200 engaged audience both offline and online.

Anurag Parepally, co-founder pips in, “While we may seem like any other coworking space out there, we are unique in the sense that people come to us for our community first and infrastructure next. Building a community is easier if you can bring together a set of people under one roof. This is possible through our infrastructure. We are extremely happy that our members are appreciative about what we do!”

With their Banjara Hills space, Co.Lab.Orate plans to expand their community both vertically and horizontally. While building communities is one part, consistently engaging on an ongoing basis is another! At which, these people seem to be experts at!

To know more, visit: www.colaborate.in and if you are in the Banjara Hills , do drop in for some nice chai with the founders!

13607031_1768754280028674_7069938026662616253_n

 

13606527_1768754326695336_6393870441771891889_n

 

13627123_1768754430028659_2339554961337335156_n

 

13631415_1768754453361990_8559653766891475495_n

Meet The Founder – Pramod, Kitki

In our Meet The Founder series, we introduce you to Pramod Ponnaluri from Kitki.

Pramod is a graduate from BITS-Pilani who quit a cushy corporate job to start Kikti, boardgames for children. Pramod strongly believes that learning is an absolutely fascinating experience and is working on making children realise the same through the  use of innovative board games.

 

 

We had featured Kikti earlier on StartupHyderabad.com. Click here to read more about them. Kitki was also the winner of the Best Design Award in the Non-electronic category at the HYSEA Design Summit, 2016.

Don’t miss the HYSEA Annual SME Summit happening on the 6th of July, 2016.

 

 

Startup Saturday Hyderabad – The 100th edition

When I decided to move back from the US in 2009 and start my own venture, little did I know about startups (or that we would be called a startup!) and the ecosystem here in Hyderabad. All I knew was “I want to do something on my own.” Two good friends and I came together, chalked out a plan, put in the money and thus was born Internfever (now YoGrad ) . We looked into our family and friends circle to introduce us to companies who we could go to and pitch our services. Someone we met during our early days suggested that we should attend one of the Startup Saturday (SS) sessions that happen on every second Saturday and that they would be a great networking platform. And that was how I was introduced to new words like ‘startups’, ‘startup ecosystem ‘, ‘angels’, and etc etc.

Startup Saturday’s changed our perspective about running a business. For 3 youngsters fresh out of college and who didn’t know what an invoice was or how branding was different from marketing and so much more, the Startup Staurdays were our classroom for learning and our platform for networking. As a ‘novice’ entrepreneur and a former volunteer for the SS-Hyd sessions, it is not exaggeration when I say that we got most of our business lessons  and clients through the Startup Saturday events in Hyderabad. We were overwhelmed to see so many individuals volunteering to help budding entrepreneurs in the city and we can proudly say that we did witness the entire ecosystem bloom. In gratitude, it only made more sense for me to blog about the ‘SSHYD100- the Centennial Startup Saturday’ event.

12800343_1097678453605406_4933685297954204644_n

“When we started SS back in 2008, it just happened.  We were not thinking much beyond just starting and creating a platform for early stage startups. Someone from Headatart reached out mentioning about SS that had started in Bangalore previous month. Seemed like a good idea. We already has a small version of it, got students at IIIT  and then a few months on, we converted that into a bigger format. Never really saw beyond month at a time. And quickly became a steady early stage enabler.  And soon it became 8 years and now SS100. Amazing journey. Volunteer led.  Very actively supported by the whole ecosystem in Hyderabad.”, quotes Ramesh Loganathan, the chief man behind Startup Saturday’s in Hyderabad.

Through the last 100 SS – Hyd events, more than 600 entrepreneurs from across various domains like ed-tech, data analytics, food tech, healthcare , women entrepreneurs, social enterprises  and more got an opportunity to pitch their startups and also network with mentors, investors and the likes. Startup Saturday Hyderabad has been the most consistent community meetup for startups in Hyderabad.  The 100th edition puts together some brilliant panel discussions and fireside chats with some amazing entrepreneurs.

Srikanth Soni, one of the oldest volunteers with SS Hyd says, “My journey with Headstart started in 2011 as an attendee. In early 2014 I joined as a volunteer, little realizing that this was going to transform me forever. It’s almost impossible to find a purely volunteer driven initiative with such consistency. With the 100th edition coming up, it only made sense to celebrate with grandeur and bring together the entire entrepreneurial community. SS100 will feature Panel discussion with – investors, coworking spaces, accelerators, incubators, successful Startups, Startup pitches along with music, food and some fun.

This particular tweet sums up the manner in which SS has become synonymous with Saturdays –

Contrary to the popular belief, Startup Saturday folks did not invent Saturday – BK Birla

Need we say more? “

Come be a part of the the Centennial Startup Saturday. You can buy your tickets by clicking here.

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 6.51.33 pm

 

 

 

Vaave’s Success Mantra ­ Sustainability, Profitability & Unit Economics

Startups being valued very high, having very high burn rates and being unsure if they will ever turn profitable has been the talk of startup circles in the recent past. While most startups are finding it difficult to explain if their U​nit economics will ever make sense, huge amounts of funding is being raised to sustain operations which is only creating more problems. This stirred a U​nicorn vs Cockroach debate in the startup and investment communities. The result of this debate is certainly leaning more towards investors preferring cockroaches over unicorns lately.

Unit economics is the fundamental building block for most great companies and is important for businesses of all sizes. Even if the company is not profitable in the beginning, if a company can identify its unit economics, then it can effectively determine break even points and margins, both of which define success. Unit economics will play an important role in identifying sustainable businesses.

Vaave i​s one such startup that is rightly focussing on unit economics and sustainable growth! Vaave is a S​aaS platform to build exclusive alumni networks.​It has about 1​00 paying customers with an enviable z​ero churn rate and its A​nnual Recurring Revenue grew 5 times over the past one year.​

logo_final_violet

CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) and LTV (Life Time Value) are two important parameters of Unit economics. These are a representation of gross margin, annual/monthly churn rate and annual/monthly revenue per customer which can help one make an effective assessment of the state of a business. The L​TV/CAC ratio determines the return on investment. High LTV by CAC ratio means that the customers are contributing more value to the company than the cost of acquiring them.

Vaave has an LTV/CAC ratio of about 7.5 which is great (LTV/CAC ratio of 3 is considered ideal for any SaaS business). This means that even if Vaave incurs higher costs of acquiring customers while scaling up, it will still be a sustainable and profitable business. Optimization of operational costs and a sustainable sales machine made this possible for Vaave.

“Focus on unit economics is extremely important because that is what tells us if the company is sustainable. We are happy that our mentors pushed us to focus on the right things. We need an investment right now to scale up and grow faster. But our LTV/CAC ratio gives us a confidence that we don’t have to panic even if we don’t receive a funding. This eliminates the pressure and helps us focus on our product and providing the best value for our customers. We require investments only to increase the pace of our growth but not to sustain. And it is our hope that investors shift their focus to unit economics. It will make raising money harder for startups as valuations will come down, but it will also be a great step towards identifying and supporting viable and sustainable businesses.”, say co­founders of Vaave, Paresh and Sanjeev.

Vaave helps institutions build and manage an updated alumni database, organize successful reunions & alumni meets, involve alumni in student development, raise funds from alumni and engage alumni effectively. Few happy customers of Vaave include University of Mysore, Indian Institute of Technology (BHU) Varanasi, Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology Nagpur, S P Jain Institute of Management & Research, Symbiosis Institute of Business Management e​tc.

Vaave recently w​ent international by signing up with ‘​Global E­Schools and Communities Initiative(GESCI)’ run by U​nited Nations ICT Task Force in Kenya and the company is also i​n talks with a few corporates to launch their alumni networks very soon.

“Industry Interaction and Alumni Giving Back will transform the education landscape solving the Quality and Infrastructure problems. Alumni Interaction directs impacts the employability of students. We envision connecting every institution and organization in the world with its alumni.”, say Paresh and Sanjeev.

The Vaave Team
The Vaave Team

Meet The Founder – Sai Krishna Popuri

While growing up,  Sai krishna, an IIT-D graduate, was always fascinated by agriculture and the lives of farmers. With a mission to provide consumers with healthy eating choices and also give back to the farming society, he founded Health Sutra . Their products are available in more than 300 stores across AP & Telangana.

Health Sutra brings you the nutritional goodness of millets like Jowar, Bajra, Ragi in the form of products like Jowar, Ragi Flakes, Jowar Pops etc. These products are gluten free, free from preservatives and artificial ingredients, and are available at affordable prices. They are the most convenient way to enjoy the nutrition of these healthy and traditional grains.

We had earlier featured Health Sutra. Read more about them here.