The fourth edition of Proto happened in Delhi on the 18-19 of July and it was a great showmanship for Indian entrepreneurship, startups and technology. Here are some quick points of note:
- 15 startups formed the line up for Proto IV. This included 3 in the IT/Software segment, 3 in Web 2.0, 4 from ecommerce and the rest were from disparate backgrounds. Surprisingly there was no representation from the mobile space this time around (wonder why?). Is this a symptom of the strangulation of Mobile2.0 at the hands of the telco operators?
- I thought the pick of the lot were the ecommerce startups – ApnaBill, Storrz & LootStreet. They each had something new to offer and had good initial execution as well.
- Day 1 at Proto featured the Startup School – a medley of experience sharing sessions from entrepreneurs, tech professionals & investors. I had a presentation on “Virality in Web Applications”.
- Rediff, India’s largest portal announced its own developer platform at the event (on lines of Facebook & OpenSocial).
- For all those who lament the lack of design sensibilities in Indian startups, there’s heartening news. Most of the web startups on display had very good GUI. Shows our guys are learning fast.
Here’s a quick walkthrough of the companies that participated…
Lifeblob is a online life stream organiser that allows you to create a diary of your life’s events. Somewhat similar to the now defunct SeRaja, the concept looks complicated, although the application has a well laid out GUI.
Crederity is a useful service that provides certification against ID & resume fraud for employers. They conduct thorough background checks (using a combination of manual & automated procedures) for preventing misrepresentations in employment documents.
PicPorta is an image recognition engine for organising visual content. Very similar to Riya.com, the Ahmedabad based startup has built up this up from scratch. Though they did not explain the exact applications that are being targeted with this technology.
Muziboo is an online community for amateur musicians. It allows geographically dispersed music lovers to socialise on the web.
ApnaBill is a personal payment gateway where you can buy mobile prepaid cards (currently) and pay utility bills online (launching soon). They have tied up with mobile aggregators for the payment chain. The application is simple and the GUI is excellent, though they are competing with much larger institutional players in this segment. Their go-to- market strategy looks unconvincing.
Lootstreet is a intruiging shopping concept from two IIM graduates. It is an online shopping destination where you can bargain for your wares just like you do with your next door store. Its meant for people who detest fixed price shopping. The idea makes behavioral sense at one level, but not sure if you can build a big business around it.
Storrz is an ecommerce website with a twist in the tale. They are creating a social shopping destination where you can mingle with the community for shared recommendations, product reviews etc. Storrz has tied up with mid sized merchants spread across the country and is not focusing on the big ticket brands & products. Overall this startup looks very promising and they seem to have good initial traction as well.
Lords Of Odds is a virtual betting league that is trying to cash on the fantasy gaming meme. Targeted at kids & youth, they have bets on all things you can imagine – politics, sports, movies, brands etc. The concept seems very well thought out, though the key here is getting users actually hooked.
Eko looks a very promising micro financial service. They are building the technology and the infrastructure, that will allow cell phones to be used as micro banking instruments for economically weaker segments of society. They have a pilot going on in Delhi currently.
gCoSign is an (offline) point of sale advertising system that allows advertisements to be dynamically targeted at retail counters through a centrally controlled server. They claim to have evolved a system of measuring the ROI for their advertisers. An interesting concept, it is targeted at high end retailers and shopping malls.
The Hiring Tool is a yet to be launched online recruitment tool targeted at connecting employers directly with recruitment agencies, placement consultants etc for their hiring needs. Their model looks refreshingly new… look forward to its launch .
Tiriyo is a Chennai based company into human resource management software. They have launched a recruitment management system called Recruiter Pilot for candidate sourcing, resume extraction and resume searching.
Soliton is an award winning company that manufactures machine vision systems that can used in factory automation and quality control.
Lipikaar is a Indian vernacular language utility for online & desktop users. Their products are used commercially by many banks & Govt institutions.
Blink is an interactive shopping cart accessory for retail outlets and shopping malls that allows users to access dynamically transmitted shopping information (like brands, discounts, offers)
on the mobile shopping carts from a centrally located store server.
Here’ a bunch of photos from the event….