Trackback: Tyroo, Genie Interactive, Mobisy, Buzzworks, The Viewspaper, Synage

Here’s the second batch of six companies tracked down after their showcases at


Headquarters: Gurgaon. Space: Online advertising network. Founder (s): Manish Vij, Harish Bahl, Mahendra Swaroop, Aditya Khanna. Headcount: 45. Funding: Incubated by Smile Interactive with $1 million angel funding. Raised an undiclosed Series A funding from Yahoo! in July 2007. Yahoo! picked up a 35 per cent stake, according to news reports.

After its showcase at the second edition of, July 2007, the company has improved its behavioural targeting and optimization technologies. It has launched vertical channels such as technology, news, auto, etc. where there is lack of Indian content and “brand advertisers look for premium content which we aggregate,” says Aditya Khanna. It has also introduced rich media like video for advertisers. Khanna claims that about 200 advertisers have used Tyroo in the last couple of years, of which 60-75 are regular customers and would include more of the regular online advertisers. The money from Yahoo! has been used to scale up the team, lock inventory exclusively and research and development. It has expanded its physical presence to Mumbai and Bangalore. This year, the company expects to see momentum in scaling revenues continue. “Increased sensitivity to ROI (return on investment), due to the slowdown, for online budgets will work well for us as a performance marketing company,” adds Khanna. It plans to launch some interesting products in a couple of specific verticals which spell potential in the next couple of quarters.

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Last month, I embarked on a project to track down the many startups who have been showcased at since its inception and find out what they have been up to. I met with limited success. Many of the emails sent to people listed as ‘contacts’ on’s website bounced back and some did not write back. Still, I managed to get a few responses and those were pretty good. Thanks for making the time. In the next few posts I will be rolling out the stories that they have shared about their journey since the showcase. Here goes the first batch:

iCreate Software

Anup Pai

Anup Pai, Founder & CEO

Headquarters: Bangalore. Space: Business Intelligence software solutions. Founder: Anup Pai. Headcount: 32 (as on November 28, 2008). Funding: Rs 50 lakh from undisclosed angel investor.

Since its showcase in January 2007, iCreate has added three new business intelligence solutions — BizScore, ADS, inCollect — and developed its own delivery platform. Pilot installations for BizScore and ADS have been completed. It has also added four new customers and its focus markets are West Asia, South Africa and South East Europe. Pai claims that the company has been profitable since October 2007. The company, which started up in 2006, was seed funded (amount not disclosed) from Pai’s personal savings. In 2009, iCreate hopes to emerge as a leading provider of business intelligence solutions and services to the banking industry.

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proto-jan09Now why do perfectly nice people have to get cocky and spoil it all? The organizers of, which hosts its next edition on January 23 and 24 in Bangalore, have come up with a feature called PitchCamp! — “Learn the inside scoop on how VCs (venture capitalists), corporate partners and journalists think.” writes curator Vijay Anand. I’m catching up with this December 3 post on the blog a bit late and would have missed it altogether if a young entrepreneur had not pointed it out. I’m impressed that the organizers actually have the scoop on how journalists think and will be passing on that wisdom to young entrepreneurs. I wonder if there are going to be any journalists involved in those PitchCamp workshops. I hope not (for the sake of journalism and entrepreneurship).

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Startup Showcase to Become Annual Affair, May Partner With TiE

Vijay Anand,’s chief organizer, is already populating his to-do list in preparation for the next edition of the unique startup showcase event scheduled for December in Bangalore. “We’re pulling the January 2009 edition to December. So this year we will actually do three editions,” he says. Next year, therefore, will have only one edition, instead of the usual bi-annual format, and it will be held in Mumbai. The significantly higher scale and scope of the event at the recently concluded New Delhi edition (July 18-19) is a big reason for shifting to a once-a-year format.

The New Delhi edition, held at the Indian Institute of Technology, saw over 400 people attend, among them representatives from about 30 venture capital firms. “Three weeks before the event we had only 150 registrations and based on that we targeted that 200 people would turn up. But in the last three weeks registrations just shot up. And this time we had more startups and entrepreneurs registering than usual. In the past students have been a big contingent,” he says. This is a good sign because will now be able to tighten its content much more around entrepreneurship

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Proto ’08 July: New Delhi Notes kicks off tomorrow in New Delhi at 9.00 am sharp — registrations open at 8.30 am. I haven’t got my ‘entry ticket’ because I didn’t register but I hope they will let me in anyway. The media registration link on the website doesn’t seem to be working. Anyhow, moving on, the agenda looks interesting in parts — the very articulate and distinguished Kiran Karnik (former president of Nasscom) opens the event with a keynote. I will miss it, unfortunately — don’t get into the city before 11.00 am. Most of the other Day 1 sessions are just about alright. The post-lunch session, actually well after lunch, with Jumpstartup’s Sanjay Anandram ‘Reconciling Entrepreneurs and Investors’ should be worth listening in on, simply because it seems like an impossible thing to do 🙂

Day 2 is the day to look out for — the startup showcase starts at 9.45 am. It might be a good idea at this stage to do a recap, even a post mortem of startups previously showcased at Proto.

I’m personally looking forward to meeting the huge contingent of venture capitalists Vijay has been promising at the event. I spoke to a few firms ahead of the event on what they expect and here are some of their responses:

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Tie-Canaan Challenge Picks

Update: Oversight on my part. TiE-Canaan announced the winners of its entrepreneurial challenge on Saturday — Equitas, Druvaa and iKen. More details here. unveils its showcase startups next week (July 18-19) and I hope to catch a few interesting companies. Meanwhile, the TiE-Canaan Entrepreneurial Challenge 2008 finalists have been in the public domain for for some time. They will pick three winners out of the eight finalists soon. Meanwhile, here’s a quick look at some of them:

The last on the list, Equitas Micro Finance India, is the only pure non-technology venture on feature. This is a regular micro-finance company and operates out of Chennai, serving Tamil Nadu. Seems to be a one-year old company and is targeting 1,80,000 members in its first year of operation. The founders come from NBFC backgrounds (promoter and managing director PN Vasudevan was with Cholamandalam Investment & Finance). I’m a little intrigued by the profile description for COO S Bhaskar. It says he “started in Pricewater House…” Doesn’t quite sound like the PwC we are familiar with. I picked this company because it kind of sticks out in the line-up. Micro-finance is still a niche business but a fairly established business model, in India and globally. Does Equitas really need to contest its business plan in this sort of an entrepreneurial challenge?

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