IITians(B) winners of TiE DFJ contest

by Thiyagarajan Maruthavanan (Rajan)

TiE DFJ organized a national level business plan competition in november last year which had an overwhelming response. Unlike other TiE events the group here was very tightly knit, there were only two sets of people the one who wanted their business proposition funded and the others(VC’s) who wanted to fund businesses. The competition was conducted in several stages and in the first stage about 125 business plans were recieved. The plans were scrutinized and then were reduced to about 30 in the second stage. It was further shortlisted down to about 10 who presented their plans in the morning today to a panel of judges in a closed room. The 10 finalists were

  • Dr. Girish Saraph, Vegayan Systems, Mumbai(IIT B incubated company)
  • Manish Agrawal, MAdApps, Bangalore
  • Debashis Bhattacharya, Simbiosys Biowares Inc, Texas and Bangalore
  • Kabir Singh, Comfort Controls, Hyderabad, ISB student – current Class
  • Sumantra Roy, Ad Response Optimizer, Mumbai, ISB Alumnus – Class 2000
  • Manav Garg,Reftree, Bangalore
  • Mukesh Hegde, NCE Technologies, Bangalore
  • Kuruvilla P Kurian, DVDplex – Video Subscription Service, Bangalore
  • TR Bharath Rajkumar, EaZyShopping, Chennai
  • Ritesh Banglani, Couch Potato Entertainment, Bangalore

The bold entries above are the two winners. Originally there were to be two winners , first prize – funding of 100,000$ and a second prize of 50,000$ but both were declared to be the winners and they got 75,000 $ each as seed funding. Dr Girish Saraph is a professor of communication at IIT B and Mukesh did his B.Tech from IIT B.
When I had a look at the list of the 10 people I had a hunch that the winner might be vegyan systems. I am not an expert on MPLS but I knew that vegayan(‘Veg’ – fast, ‘ayan’) will win the competition, clearly there is a value proposition, there is an unfair technology advantage and moreover about 2-3 years ago(2003) another company eInfinitus (that too was IIT B incubated) had made big news(got funded to the tune of 1-2 crore) and that was in the same space i.e. MPLS.

As for as mukesh is concerned they had revamped their strategy from what it was earlier and now they positioned it for online technical assements for a firm’s employees.

Here are some pics taken there

10 Finalists

TiE DFJ Folks

Also I tried to record most of the proceeding and have uploaded them here.Sorry they are not in a single file and also are only few excerpts. Not exactly my fault but a couple of phone calls interupted. (again AMR format- you might have to use Quicktime to play it).
File1(srini raju talking in the begining) , File2, file3

I loved Srini Raju’s talk, it looks in general  that he is not projecting a very optimistic view of the world around us but his arguments are hard hitting, very honest.
On a related but different news a startup(Picsquare) that I know in my home town bangalore which was founded by Karthik Jain and Manish Agarwal in october last year rejected a term sheet. Interestingly Karthik and Manish whom I keep meeting regularly at TiE bangalore network meeare IIT B alumnus.
IITians (B) are making big waves in the startup scene in India ! Phew !! 🙂