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Microsoft, TCS to jointly mentor start-ups

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Bengaluru, June 23 : The Technology arms of global software majors Microsoft and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on Thursday announced a joint initiative to mentor start-ups and engage with them to make innovate solutions for the global market.

“Microsoft Accelerator and TCS co-innovation network will create a platform to spur the Indian start-up system through an open framework,” the IT majors said at ‘Think Next Summer 2016′, a Microsoft Accelerator flagship forum here for thought leaders intended to drive transformation through innovation.

As access to markets and customers remains a challenge for Indian start-ups, the partnership will provide start-ups access to their networks and relationships across customers, investors, academia and industry, creating a value proposition in the enterprise marketplace.

“The progress India has made in IT and entrepreneurship over the years changed the landscape offering new entrepreneurs unmatched opportunities. As one of the contributors to the start-up ecosystem in this country, we felt it was a story worth telling,” said Microsoft Accelerator global director Ravi Narayan, releasing an e-book on the “History of Indian Start-up Ecosystem” on the occasion.

Another e-book – “Timeline of Indian Start-up Ecosystem” – was also released.

The joint initiative will also connect start-ups with corporates, which will get access to innovative solutions for their business needs while providing greater market access to start-ups.

“The partnership highlights our efforts to engage with start-ups and underlines our commitment to provide innovative solutions to our diverse customer base. As we enter a new phase of innovation and computing, companies must co-innovate and create strategic partnerships to solve challenging problems for customers,” said TCS global head for hi-tech industry solutions Nagaraj Ijari at the day-long event.

The joint programme will also offer participating start-ups access to the expertise and client-base of both the software majors and create opportunities to innovate and transform the business landscape.

The 12 graduating startups from the event are Altizon, Tarnea, Aureus Analytics, Baby Chakra, Reverie, Strides, Locus, Admission Table, Distiman, Calm.io, Yellow Messenger and Report Bee.

They made presentations on their ventures to about 550 delegates comprising corporates, investors, thought leaders, and Microsoft management who partnered to push the collaborative innovation.

Altizon announced the launch of iProd, a revolutionary IoT (Internet of Things)-based based product to empower manufacturers to optimize productivity and overall equipment effectiveness along with Distiman, a mobile app that maximises profits for mom and pop retailers through on-demand stocking.

“The interesting thing about India becoming a start-up nation is that this transformation happened not long ago, but around us.. As a citizen of the start-up ecosystem in the country, we decided to take an overview of the developments,” Naraynan added.

Infosys’ co-founder and former Unique Identification Development Authority of India (UIDAI) chairman Nandan Nilekani spoke on ‘An alternate view of the future: India in the age of technological disruption’ and Microsoft India chairman Bhaskar Pramanik on ‘The role of start-ups in India’s digital transformation journey’.

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20 Indian start-ups selected for business expansion to London

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Bengaluru, May 18: Twenty Indian start-ups have been chosen to join London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s India Emerging 20 (IE20) business programme which aims to help selected companies in setting up or expanding their business in Britain’s capital.

The India Emerging 20 programme which is in its third edition this year was launched by London and Partners, which is the Mayor of London’s official promotional agency, in collaboration with BDO, a major accounting and taxation network, and Lalit Hotels.

It was set up with the aim to identify some of India’s most ambitious companies that are considering international expansion.

The 20 winners of 2018 were chosen from over 300 applications from some of India’s leading business hubs such as Mumbai, Bengaluru and New Delhi, London and Partners said in a statement on Friday.

The winners will have the opportunity to benefit from discounted rates on a London office and tailored expert advice on marketing, access to finance and local market analysis, it added.

“London is a truly global business centre and presents lots of opportunities for Indian companies looking to expand their business overseas,” said Khan.

“I am delighted that my India Emerging 20 programme is helping some of India’s fastest growing companies with their international growth and London remains open to investment, talent and collaborations with India,” he added.

Among the winners selected for this year’s programme are Hug Innovations of Hyderabad and Mumbai’s Furtados School of Music.

Hug Innovations is a wearable tech company developing IoT platforms that allows users to complete tasks including controlling apps, electronics, VR headsets, toys and home automation using just hand gestures.

Furtados School of Music (FSM) is a music education firm with a vision to provide accessible quality music education to all. The company is currently testing a mobile application to bring together people interested in learning music and music teachers.

The other winners are Appnomic Systems, BiOZEEN, BlackPepper Technologies, Chai Point (Mountain Trail Foods), Happay, Intello Labs, Ittisa Digital Media Services, Senseforth, Chakr Innovation, Dineout/inResto, Fork Media, Lucideus Tech, Morph.ai, Videonetics Technology, Wigzo Technologies, Gaia Smart Cities, Iksula Services and SaffronStays.

In April, India and Britain announced a UK-India Tech Partnership to identify and pair businesses, venture capital, universities and others to provide access routes to markets for British and Indian entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises.

“IE20 is an important element of the UK-India Technology-Partnership which was agreed by our two Prime Ministers in April and formally launched in India last week by Digital and Culture Secretary, Matt Hancock,” said Dominic McAllister, British Deputy High Commissioner in Bengaluru.

“The UK and India are global leaders in technology and two of the world’s most innovative countries. The new UK-India Tech Partnership will be testimony to that. A pilot soon to be launched In Karnataka will focus on augmented and virtual reality, advanced materials and artificial intelligence — technologies which a number of our winners today are already deploying,” McAllister added.

IANS

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Debt funding: Addressing mismatch in expectations between yourself and lenders

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New Delhi, April 13: Scaling up a business is hard work. While launching a start-up and raising initial seed capital is tough, things get more complex once you are past the proof-of-concept stage and are set to scale. The funds to start a business are almost always equity capital, but a business looking to grow is also looking to choose between debt and equity.

For most entrepreneurs, this is their first time dealing with a lender and it can get confusing. Here are the top five questions start-up founders have as they set out to look for their first loan.

* Why should I take a loan? 

Because it’s cheaper. Equity capital is dilutive, which means that investors get a share in all your future profits and future valuation growth and expect to make multi-fold returns if things go well.

A loan, on the other hand, has a fixed interest rate and thus will always be cheaper than equity. So whether you take a 12 per cent bank loan or an 18 per cent unsecured business loan, that’s the final cost of the loan to you.

* What kind of loan can I get?

Start-ups usually take loans for working capital. As the business expands, precious cash gets stuck in inventory and receivables. The three most common forms of working capital debt are:

Unsecured Business Loan: This is what lenders call a term loan in which you get a certain amount of loan. Just like a home loan, you pay a monthly EMI.

Invoice Discounting: Receivables are likely your biggest cash drain. In invoice discounting, the lender pays you as soon as you raise the invoice. When your customer pays 30-60 days later, the lender takes his money back. At this point, you have more invoices to discount and hence the cycle continues. This is useful for B2B start-ups.

Cash credit limits and overdrafts: Offered by banks as a line of credit so you can use the loan whenever you need. Typically for businesses that are a few years old and can potentially offer a collateral security.

* When can I get a loan?

Lenders vary in their perception of how soon a start-up can get a loan. But irrespective of which lender you go to, you need to have some cash flows. Remember that the loan has to be repaid, with interest, on time — so the more visibility you have on your future cash flows, the easier it is for you to get a loan. At least six months post-revenue is a good benchmark.

* How much loan can I get?

It depends on your working capital cycle, especially when you are looking at invoice discounting or other cash flow-backed loans. We have found that 1-2 months of current revenue run rate is a good benchmark for most start-ups.

* What do I need to do?

Lending needs paper since lenders won’t spend months with you like equity investors. They need to analyse documents to build trust in your business and your ability to repay the loan. Lenders are only looking for documents you have easy access to; financials, tax returns and bank statements.

Also, whether or not you are planning to take a new loan today, keep your credit history clean. Every lender does a credit check on both the company and the founders. With the credit report in shape and armed with documents that show cash flows your business can make, you will be all set to get your first business loan.

By Simmi Sareen

(Simmi Sareen is CEO and Founder of Loans4SME. The views expressed are personal)

IANS

 

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Microsoft ‘ScaleUp’ announces 12th start-up cohort in India

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Bengaluru, April 5: Microsoft “ScaleUp” on Thursday announced the 12th cohort consisting 12 start-ups for its programme to empower them with technology, go-to-market, and community benefits.

ScaleUp (known previously as Microsoft Accelerator) focuses on late-stage B2B start-ups and helps them accelerate their business growth through mentorship, streamlined go-to-market (GTM) activities and access to world-class technology.

The 12 start-ups in the cohort are AppICE, Appiyo Technologies’ Twixor, Avanseus Technologies, eGovernments Foundation, Gaia Smart Cities Solution, GrowthEnabler, Karo Sambhav, Kogence, MachineSense, SmartVizX, Sprinkle Data and Xurmo Technologies.

The selected start-ups are focused on areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), Big Data Analytics, among others, to build solutions for the market.

During the six-month programme, these start-ups would work closely with Microsoft leaders, industry experts and leverage the Microsoft Partner Network to scale their business models and serve enterprise clients.

The start-ups would get access to Microsoft’s expertise, infrastructure and Azure Cloud platform to build a strong technology backbone for their business.

Microsoft currently caters to over 5,000 tech start-ups and more than 200,000 large and small-and-medium businesses in India.

IANS

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