TiE ISB Connect ’08 Winners

Tie ISB Connect 2008Without much ado, let’s get down to the six winning startups:

Category: Cool Startups

Content Syndicate

  • Born: August 2006
  • Headquarters: Dubai (hope I’ve got the right one) with a presence in Hyderabad
  • What It Does: As the name suggests, CS sources and delivers customized content. The customer list (on the website) is quite extensive. They syndicate content like press releases for public relations agencies, coffee table books, market research and exclusive stories for publishing firms (assume newspapers, magazines).
  • Funding: No information.
  • My Two Cents: Interesting idea. It could be wildly exciting (for journalists) if over time it is able to sign up mainstream journalists as contributors and syndicate content to mainstream media. Wouldn’t it be nice to auction your best story to the highest bidder? 🙂
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Respect Entrepreneurship

Is it fair or even right to rank startups? The ongoing Tata NEN Hottest Startup Awards 2008 contest certainly seems to think so. Worse, the five winners will be picked via a public voting system that will be combined with an expert panel review. I don’t even know how that can work in a practical sense. NEN expects 800-1000 nominations, which also come from the public, out of which 30 will be shortlisted via public voting. Another round of public voting will decide the five winners. So what we have essentially, is the reality television format and all its associated perversions being applied to entrepreneurship. Sad.

Make no mistake. I’m all for startup contests. But the primary objective has to be to ensure that the winners as well as non-winning participants get real value from the exercise.

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Eureka! 2008 Hikes Prize Money to Rs 25 Lakh

This one remains my favourite business plan contest. Young, fun and always evolving. Eureka! 2008, IIT Bombay’s annual biz plan jamboree opens for applications on Monday, September 1. The event, as expected, gets even bigger this year. The total prize money is Rs 25 lakh against Rs 14 lakh in 2007. The Entrepreneurship Cell (E-Cell) expects 2,500 entries this year (last year saw 1,500 entries).

Here’s the lowdown on what to expect at Eureka! 2008:

  • The first prize winner takes home Rs 5 lakh. The second and third runners up get Rs 3 lakh and Rs 2 lakh respectively.
  • There will be a separate prize category for ‘cleantech’. Two winners will be awarded a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh and Rs 70,000 respectively. Plus, they will be given round-trip airfares to Carnegie Mellon University at Pittsburgh, where they will be eligible to compete in the Sustainable Technology Track of the McGinnis Venture Competition.
  • Intel is a resource partner at this year’s contest and will send the first three finalists to the UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition.
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