While the ‘Silicon Valley of India’, Bengaluru, is spearheading the growth of the startup ecosystem in the country, there are smaller ‘Valleys’ coming up in different parts of the country. Chandigarh, ‘The City Beautiful’, is certainly one of the most promising.
The city which was the first post-independence planned city in the country boasts of a well-defined infrastructure and an efficient administration. Roads are wide, the traffic is rather well managed, and there is functional air connectivity with all major cities. The quality of life in Chandigarh is one of the best in the country with scenic mountains just a few hours away for a weekend getaway. Chandigarh boasts of an emerging IT Park, and along with its sister cities – Mohali and Panchkula (together known as Tricity) – is home to some major multinational corporations like Quark, Infosys, Dell, IBM, and TechMahindra. Having already the attention of the Software and IT services companies, the startup brigade might also be interested in setting up a strong base in Chandigarh.
The afternoon of 24th June 2017 at the ISB Chandigarh campus was looking more than lively. The hall was abuzz with the debates of young bright minds, probably the brightest in the city, their unconventional innovations and scintillating discussions. It was a marvelous gathering of entrepreneurs who gathered in order to revolutionize the startup ecosystem, to look for innovation and to laud the best ideas which would drive the nation towards betterment. The event was none other than Khoj 2017 Chandigarh by Z Nation Lab in association with ISB Chandigarh.
The event began with the opening remark by me, where I addressed the attendees and gave a small brief about the objectives that an ambitious venture like Khoj wishes to achieve. Later on, our Key Note Speaker, Mr. Pradeep Prem- CEO Netsmartz came and spoke about the Global startup scenario.
As the startup world is esoteric to many, it is required to have discussions, to steer clear of doubts and to give innovation and knowledge a room to grow. Hence there was a panel discussion that took place in the course of the event. The first one discussion was on the role of an investor in fuelling Indian startups, which was carried out by panellists of the likes of J. B. Singh – MD at Access Infotech, Munish Jauhar – Founder GrayCell Technologies, Nilesh Jain – Investor, Mentor & Venture Partner at Z NationLab, Ekant Agarwal (Moderator) – Executive Director at SACC. Along with that, a Fire Side Chat Building Innovation Eco-Systemin India was carried in the presence of panelists Kunal Nandwani – Director at Chandigarh Angels Network, Anshu Prasher – Director Innoven Capital, Jairaj Mashru (Moderator) – Founder Bombay Innovation Group & Venture Partner at Z Nation Lab.
After the Panel discussions, startup pitches were up next. Entrepreneurs presented their ideas in front of a jury which consisted of Mahesh Yadav – Founder Fostinno, Anshu Prasher– Director at Innoven Capital, Vineet Khurana – VP Chandigarh Angels, Maninder Singh Tuli – CEO and Founder at Xlantic Solutions, Amit Verma – Founder Startup Success Stories, Param Kalra – Founder Starthub Nation, Sukhmeet Singh – Associate Director at ISB Mohali.
A plethora of new ideas was discussed and every entrepreneur presented themselves in the most zealous manner possible. These budding entrepreneurs soared high beyond the myriad of mediocre startups and wowed the jury.
Forensic Allie was announced as the winner of Khoj 2017 Chandigarh thus ending the magnanimous event. The event would not have been possible without our partners at Your Story, ISB Chandigarh, The Hacker Street, Starthub Nation, Startup Success Stories, Fostinno, SACC, CAN .
Khoj, as the word suggests is a search for entrepreneurs, for ideas and most importantly for innovation. We conceptualized Khoj with an aim to revolutionizing the startup ecosystem especially in tier II cities in India and I am so overwhelmed with the feedback we received so far not only from the startups but also from all our university partners and mentors. We have conducted KHOJ initiative across multiple cities in India and have to date accelerated and funded about 12 startup Entrepreneurs in the last one year. Innovation is at the core of Khoj, where the idea is to bring together the entire ecosystem to collaborate, network and to find the right connects.
It is a competition where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas and present themselves in front of a jury of investors and entrepreneurs alike. It intends to bring together startups, educational institutes, government bodies, investors, mentors and Corporates under one roof to understand and help the entrepreneurship flourish in India. The one most deserving startup will be called to Mumbai for the finals where they stand a chance to obtain funding, tech validations, scaling up opportunities and Z Nation Lab partnership programs as well.
If you are looking at partnering or sponsoring our next khoj event. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.