Mumbai – A Homecoming

Reshma’s thoughts on Seedcamp Mumbai:
Mumbai, meri jaan! Having first looked at seed investing in the Indian subcontinent 10 years ago, I was very curious to see how entrepreneurs and ideas had evolved and improved. Seedcamp Mumbai showed us a great diversity of the new generation of Indian and Sri Lankan entrepreneurs who are tackling both problems very specific to the Indian infrastructure and that are fully global from Day 1. Both types of ventures are critical as they address unmet needs at different scales.
We were hosted by MET, which is a network of colleges and has a few thousand students with ambitions to build their own successful businesses. We were also hugely grateful for the help from all our partners and sponsors, especially the Mumbai Angels, Nexus Ventures, IDG Ventures, the Morpheus, Sherpalo, Springboard Ventures, and Microsoft Bizspark. Logistics in India is harder than one ever plans for and we were fortunate to have these organizations’ support.
The teams gave their presentations in the morning. In 10 years the confidence and hunger of the entrepreneurs has definitely increased, there are more founders coming from more parts of India, and the support ecosystem is much more experienced and numerous.
We then kicked off the mentoring sessions and a panel of no-holds barred entrepreneurs and investors. The energy in the room really hit a high pitch the rest of the day. A lot of the ideas leverage mobile adoption and growth of the market but as broadband penetration starts to grow faster now, we should see more next generation web ideas coming to bear. This was the view of the panelists and it was in evidence with the web companies focused on disintermediating the rental market, Groupon clones, and other types of e-commerce. These ideas are tried and tested in high broadband markets in the west and now finally it looks to be the right time for them to take off here.
The day ended with a wrap-up session, which turn out differently depending on mood and location. The founders gave similar feedback to what we often hear including some good feedback on how to improve the next session. But the mentors comments really stood out because they were similar what we used to hear 2-3 years ago when we first started Seedcamp. There was a lot of advice for the founders to go away and do much more analysis of competition and building differentiators, to dream big but execute based on realistic assumptions, and a host of helpful tips on presentations/pitches.
All in all a truly valuable day for these entrepreneurs who don’t get a chance to engage with such an ecosystem in their own cities/regions and for mentors who got a chance to see ideas all in one place from all over the subcontinent.
Winning teams at Seedcamp Mumbai
There were three teams that stood out in particular at Seedcamp Mumbai. The following three are the winners of Seedcamp Mumbai:
  • Medical Joyworks from Colombo, Sri Lanka – Mobile education for the medical sector. The team and application were a big hit during the event, serving an interesting market with global potential.
  • Desitouch – On demand music platform for the indian market, already a great following and a great application.
  • Dialify – Social games delivered via voice calls. The idea and simplicity struck us, and the team has already made some great progress.

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