Khoj 2017 Uttarakhand

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Entrepreneurship development is a very important catalyst in the context of the rapid growth of cottage, small and medium industries in Uttarakhand. The efficient performance in this sector depends on the effective utilization of man, machine, materials, and human factors play a more important role as compared to other factors. Hence, a continuous effort for entrepreneurship development is essential for the effective utilization of human as well as natural resources. On 11th October 2017, we had our 9th Khoj Event at Uttarakhand in IIT Roorkee. The event was organized by Z Nation Lab, in association with TIDES Business Incubator, IIT Roorkee. We invited start-ups from Uttarakhand to apply for the one-day event and each participant got an opportunity to pitch their product and interact with mentors and investors from Z Nation Lab.

he Tides Incubation Centre at IIT Roorkee was buzzing with energy on this day like no other day. The reason: Khoj 2017 had found its way to the beautiful campus of IIT Roorkee where entrepreneurs got the unique opportunity of discussing their ideas with experienced minds and can get their technology validated from the industry stalwarts.
The event began with the opening remark by Nilesh Jain –Venture Partner at Z Nation Lab and myself  Neha Jain – Director at Z Nation Lab where we addressed the attendees and gave a small brief about the objectives that an ambitious venture like Khoj wishes to achieve.

The event Started with the keynote speech by Prof. Ajit Chaturvedi, where he shared his message of motivation with candidates in his words,  “We are impatient people, who expect more, want more and deserve more“.  Followed by a speech from Vikas Garg  – Chairman CII Uttarakhand, on startups ecosystem, He Quoted, ” Even today I dream with my eyes open, Entrepreneurs need to be a dreamer to become a Unicorn

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 the Khoj team organized a Panel discussion on ‘The ecosystem for Entrepreneurship and Innovation – What do Indian start-up’s need to Grow and Prosper?’ by a panel full of experts like Vikas Garg  – Chairman CII Uttarakhand, Mr. Nilesh Jain – Venture partner at Z Nation Lab, Ajit Nigam – Head- Entrepreneurship and Incubation at University of Petroleum and Energy Studies and Associate Professor (Aviation) , Prof M. Parida – Dean R&D IIT Roorkee & Prof(Dr) Karunakar Diwakar Jha – Professor & Associate Dean – Management Development Programmes & Corporate Relations at UPES in their respective fields giving the room insights on the startup ecosystem of the country.

The Panel discussion was followed by a speech on Global startup scenario by Harshit Malik – Managing Director at Harek Venture and Founder Jumpstart Co-working Space.
In the course of the event, Startup pitches were up next. With 15 entries received the most competent were chosen to have their ideas pitched in front of the panel. Entrepreneurs presented their ideas in front of a jury which consisted of Nilesh Jain – Venture Partner at Z Nation Lab, Dr.Sanjeev Manhas– Faculty In-charge, Tides Incubator at IIT Roorkee, Harshit Malik – Managing Director at Harek Venture and Founder Jumpstart Co-working Space, Prof(Dr) Karunakar Diwakar Jha – Professor & Associate Dean – Management Development Programmes & Corporate Relations at UPES,  Ridhim Thapar – MD at NK Smart Investors at Dehradun Angels, Maninder Juneja – Investors at Dehradun Angels, Ajit Nigam – Head- Entrepreneurship and Incubation at University of Petroleum and Energy Studies and Associate Professor (Aviation)Startups in a room that was filled with 45+ investors. 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.
After the pitches Priyank Garg – Managing Director – Sky Scrapers Management, Hari Charan Singh – Director at Myra Inra Zone, Sachin Pasricha – Senior Manager Career Services at DIT University  ,  Sandip Vijay – Professor ICFAI University (Faculty of Science & Technology) , Soumen Karmakar – Founder KKINET Solutions and Dr. Jogender Nayak – Assistant Prof. at DoMS IIT Roorkee  got together for a routable conference on Rise of new business models and niche opportunities – building businesses on customer-centric unit economics.

Mr. Devanshu Mishra, founder of AEVA secured first place with his startup product “an IoT based home automation system”. Zoyo and LifePage secured successive positions. All three winners are invited by “Z Nation Lab, Mumbai” for further support in terms of mentoring, grant, and industrial exposure to Mumbai in its boot camp. The event would not have been possible without our partners at Your Story,  HGS,  The Hacker Street, Unlimit, Startup India, invest India, Startup Success Stories, Bhartiya Startup, New Barons, Bootup, Indian Startups, RBL Bank. Jumpstart 
Khoj, as the word suggests is a search for entrepreneurs, for ideas and most importantly for innovation.

Khoj is a venture of Z Nation Lab curated in order to nurture and support worthy ideas in order to infuse innovation into SME’s MSME & Corporates in India. 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. 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.

I 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.

If you are looking at partnering or sponsoring our next khoj event. Write to me at

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