GUSEC Innovators Head to Silicon Valley for the Rajeev Circle Fellowship

The fellowship named after Google’s early investor and mentor Rajeev Motwani is a prestigious experience for young innovators and is run by Asha Jadeja Motwani, who is herself a phenomenal reputed VC based in Silicon Valley. 

Press release, for immediate release, as of 1700 hrs IST on April 28, 2018

AHMEDABAD, APRIL 28, 2018: Rajeev Motwani was the professor and guide of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, co-author of Google’s PageRank algorithm when the duo founded Google as a college project. Motwani became one of the first advisors and investors in Google. Motwani was also an early investor in PayPal as well as a special advisor to Sequoia Capital. Now, four innovators supported by Gujarat University Startup and Entrepreneurship Council (GUSEC) have been selected for a prestigious fellowship instituted as a tribute to Motwani who passed away in 2009.

Managed by the Motwani Jadeja Family Foundation, led by Motwani’s wife, Asha Jadeja Motwani, the fellows will embark on a three-week all-expense paid journey to Silicon Valley to explore the startup ecosystem, pitch to investors, hone their ideas, establish connections and network with like-minded people in the United States. Asha Jadeja Motwani has been a key ecosystem contributor to the Indian and the Pakistani Startup Ecosystem.

Upon completion of the fellowship, the fellows will return to India and continue working on their innovations, while becoming a part of a closed network of successful Rajeev Circle fellows.

The fellows include Rishabh Agnihotri, founder of Blecan Innovations, an indigenous automated payment solution based on beacons; Smit Bhanushali, an electronics enthusiast, founder of CircuitGyan and curator of YuvalayELab in Vadodara; and Nandan Shah, founder of Alteration Innotech, which is into the development of unique, patent-pending smart access systems.

Aditya Bhatt, founder of AMB Industries, who has developed the technology that creates electricity of radiant energy in the ionosphere (i.e. out of thin air!) is a former Rajeev Circle fellow who is also the Curator for this year’s cohort of the fellows and will travel with the rest of the innovators.

A total of 17 innovators will partake in this fellowship this year, all belonging to the Indian subcontinent.

GUSEC Innovator Invited for Facebook’s F8 Annual Developer Conference

Rishabh Agnihotri, founder of Blecan Innovations, who is also selected as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at GUSEC, has been selected for Facebook’s “F8” Annual Developers Conference to be held in San Jose, California, between May 1 and May 2, 2018. Rishabh will be attending the conference on Facebook’s invitation and also visit the Headquarters of Facebook during the trip. Rishabh is the lead of Facebook’s Ahmedabad Developers Community, and less than 100 such Community Members from across the world have been invited by Facebook to the conference.

Get Startup Funding Under Gujarat Startup Scheme Via GUSEC

Gujarat University Startup and Entrepreneurship Council (GUSEC) has been recognised a Nodal Institute (NI) for disbursing startup funds under the Scheme for assistance for Startups / Innovations of Government of Gujarat.

Through this startup funding scheme, startups / innovators can avail a funding assistance of up to Rs. 10 lakh for prototype development, up to Rs. 10 lakh for marketing assistance, and a sustenance allowance of Rs. 10,000 per month for up to one year.

Application Process: To apply for assistance under the scheme, startups / innovators should apply using the www.startupgujarat.in online portal by creating a user, and selecting ‘Gujarat University Startup and Entrepreneurship Council (GUSEC)’ in the ‘Nodal Institute’ field of the Application Form.

Once applied, an Internal Review Committee of GUSEC shall do an initial screening of the application. If the application is shortlisted by the Internal Review Committee of GUSEC, the applicant shall be invited to present in front of GUSEC Scrutiny Committee. The Scrutiny Committee then shall endorse and recommend the startup funding to the state Government, which shall then disburse the requisite funds at its discretion.

Read the scheme guideline and eligibility here.

Note:  As per the recent notification received from Industries Commissionerate, the Startup Assistance Scheme is exclusively for product based startups. IT and ITes startups will be supported under Department of Science & Technology’s policy. Kindly refer the document here for reference.

For any questions, please write to contact@gusec.edu.in

25 startups receive pre-seed grants at Gujarat University

(The following news was announced by the Vice-Chancellor (I/c) of Gujarat University, Dr Himanshu Pandya, along with the selected startups in a formal media briefing at the Vice-Chancellor’s office on April 13, 2017.)

AHMEDABAD, APRIL 13, 2017: In March 2017, Gujarat University Startup and Entrepreneurship Council (GUSEC) initiated JumpStart, a pre-seed funding opportunity for startup and innovations, in association with Gujarat CSR Authority. More than 350 applications were received out of which 50 were shortlisted and invited for panel interviews at GUSEC during the last week of March. Expert panels involving industry and academic experts then selected a total of 25 startup and innovations for funding.

Under JumpStart, shortlisted startups and innovations shall receive Rs. 40,000 grant along with necessary infrastructural, mentorship and allied support to grow and advance their innovations and startups, and commercialise their ideas through Gujarat University.

Out of the selected 25 applicants, majority of the startups are incubated at GUSEC, where as some of the applicants are associated with Gujarat University. A few selected startups are outside the Gujarat University ecosystem and they also shall receive equal support and mentorship. Some of these startups include Episodic Labs, Luminati, Funkaar Gigs, Chemsol, CampusYaari, Lutalica, etc.

25 applicants who appeared for the interviews but were not selected for further funding have also been extended infrastructural, mentorship and allied support at Gujarat University Startup and Entrepreneurship Council (GUSEC).

JumpStart was conceptualised on GUSEC’s efforts last year in association with GCSRA when 12 startups were awarded Rs. 40,000 grant each. 10 of these 12 startups are currently at growth stage, and incubated with GUSEC.

GUSEC was established in November 2015 by the University to advance and support entrepreneurs and innovators in the university ecosystem, and the GUSEC Building – which houses a 80-seat startup support system – was operationalised in February 2016. Since then, GUSEC has supported over 43 startups, and 36 startups are currently incubated with GUSEC. GUSEC is run 100% by the funds and support of the University.

“Startups, young entrepreneurs and young innovators are the future of India, and the earlier they start and the earlier they get support, the better. Universities are going to play a key role in shaping up the startup and innovation ecosystem of India, and Gujarat University has been at the forefront of undertaking necessary measures in this respect. We have not only enabled a community-driven startup support system, but also finding ways to financially support them. Association with CSR Authority is one such measure,” said Dr Himanshu Pandya, the Vice-Chancellor (I/c) of Gujarat University.

“Rs. 40,000 may not sound like a lot, but in fact it can do wonders for many early-stage and young startups. Some startups may subsidise their legal incorporation costs, while some may use the funds to hire several interns for several months. JumpStart was carefully conceptualised on the successful implementation of the similar funding model last year, and we look forward to support more young entrepreneurs and innovators at GUSEC in the coming months,” said Rahul Bhagchandani, Acting CEO of GUSEC.

The broad goal of GUSEC is to empower and enable 1% of university graduates to become job creators in the next three years. The University also plans to establish decentralised startup support systems in affiliated colleges of Gujarat University.

GUSEC 1st Anniversary Celebrations: Minutes Of The Meeting Of All Incubated Startups

Minutes of the meeting of all incubated startups of GUSEC that was organised on the occasion of GUSEC’s successful completion of first year of operations and to discuss possible ways of internal collaborations, co-creation and community-building within GUSEC staff and community, held at Syndicate Meeting Room, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, between 10 am and 1 pm on Saturday, March 18, 2017

(Check out a PDF version of the minutes here)

Attendance: The meeting was attended founders and co-founders of all incubated startups of GUSEC, in presence of management of GUSEC

Chair(s):

  • Dr Himanshu Pandya, Hon’ble Vice Chancellor (I/c), Gujarat University
  • Rahul Bhagchandani, Acting CEO, GUSEC

The Minutes:

  • Mr Rahul Bhagchandani, Acting CEO, GUSEC opened up the forum for all founder-entrepreneurs to introduce themselves, their startups, and requested all startups to highlight one particular challenge each startup was facing currently.
  • Following the introduction, the following were the major challenges identified amongst the incubated startups: marketing for existing model / prototype, inability to find technically-skilled persons in IT, business development, and creative designing fields.
  • Startups run by single-founders also discussed elaborately on challenges they faced in finding co-founders.
  • All startups resonated the difficulty they continue to face to source funds to enable further growth.
  • All present also shared concern about legal, finance and allied problems that are natural for any startup post incubation stage / prototype stage.
  • Addressing the challenges / concerns of startups, CEO, GUSEC, suggested incubated startups could help each other through collaboration and co-creation. It was discussed how some startups that operate in similar domains at GUSEC could co-create, where as startups having expertise in certain technical aspects such as IT, Marketing, Business Development, could collaborate with, and even offer services to other startups.
  • The CEO also shared the details about the Mentor Board formed at GUSEC that could further help and guide the startups.
    • The CEO shared that over 35 mentors are enrolled on the Mentor Board and how GUSEC plans to involve the Mentors in the near future, including arranging dedicated Mentor Sessions, interactions and one-to-one interacting. Furthermore, he highlighted some instances of mentors mentoring some of the incubated startups on a case-to-case basis.
    • The CEO also highlighted that the University will create incentives for mentors, and one such incentive included Mentors being default Adjunct Faculty of the University enabling the mentors to leverage perks availed to the Adjunct Faculty of the University.
  • The CEO then asked suggestions on how all startups wish to involve with Mentors, and requested for broad ideas on making the Mentor Board as successful as possible. The following were the broad suggestions gathered”
    • It was suggested that at least one mentor session per week could be scheduled for all incubatees.
    • It was also suggested that entrepreneurs and innovators at GUSEC may suggest persons for Mentor Board and that the management would ensure enrollment of such recommendations on the Board.
    • An interesting suggestion was formation of Entrepreneurs’ Committees / Groups based on expertise / domain, who could act as first level of mentors for a particular problem, before external mentors were involved.
    • The need of having several mentors from as many verticals as possible was also suggested, along with the need of ensuring that mentors who misuse their positions are kept at bay.
  • The CEO welcomed all the above suggestions and ensured active participation of Mentors at GUSEC on a highly frequent basis.
  • To build a strong community-run startup support centre and ensure interactions and collaborations between incubated startups at GUSEC, the following were the key suggestions:
    • GUSEC can set up a forum for internal communications, discussions, solutions, problems, etc. that can be accessed by all team members of all incubated startups
    • GUSEC can start a periodic newsletter highlighting progress by incubated startups, growth of GUSEC and the startup ecosystem
    • GUSEC can facilitate frequent meetings of incubated startups to ensure sharing of best practices, collaboration, co-creation, etc.
  • The need of running the coworking space 24×7 was also discussed. The CEO shared that the center was running for close to 16 hours currently on a daily basis, and that soon, the centre shall be made 24×7 after certain specifics were worked out at the University-level.
  • The CEO then remarked on the following points:
    • GUSEC would be happy to facilitate a bootup guide that shall help early-stage startups find best practices around all the processes and operations that are a part of starting a startup.
    • A session from Schemopedia, a startup based in Ahmedabad, may be scheduled at GUSEC to help incubated startups become more aware about government and other schemes for startups and innovations.
    • GUSEC is already working on a Boot Up Policy that shall help early-stage startups initiate through means of funding and other resources.
  • Post which, Dr Himanshu Pandya, Vice-Chancellor (I/c), joined the session, and congratulated GUSEC and all incubated startups for the first successful year.
  • The Vice-Chancellor reaffirmed the University’s desire to continue being a significant facilitator for startups, entrepreneurs and innovators. He further shared that the only motivation of the University to support GUSEC and its activities was the immense need of the hour for the society to support startups, entrepreneurs and innovators, and that the University does not wishes to gain financially, or otherwise, for any support extended to startups.
  • The Vice-Chancellor requested all present to share the word about GUSEC within their networks, and ensured full support and cooperation of the University to address any need of startups, entrepreneurs and innovators. He further added that policies in the pipeline at the University-level shall further help startups with their needs of funding, resources, and other support.
  • Post the above discussion, the Vice-Chancellor distributed certificates of incubations to all startups.
  • The gathering was then concluded with a vote of thanks to the Chair.

Some pictures from the meeting:

PDF version of the minutes:

(Download a PDF copy)

JumpStart by GUSEC: Get Rs. 40000 As Pre-Seed Grant For Your Big Idea

Gujarat University Startup and Entrepreneurship Council (GUSEC) in association with the Gujarat Corporate Social Responsibility Authority and Entrepreneurship Development Institute is organising JumpStart, a pre-seed funding opportunity for innovative ideas and startups.

Under JumpStart, selected ideas shall receive Rs. 40,000 in grant money from GCSRA as well as incubation support, infrastructure support, mentorship, guidance, further financial assistance along with all other support from GUSEC.

GUSEC or GCSRA shall take no equity in the idea / startup against this fund, as this fund is purely a grant. The Rs. 40,000 shall be disbursed at one go, upon successful selection of an idea / startup.

While anyone with an idea can apply for JumpStart, innovations and startups at idea- and prototype-stage with a social angle shall be given higher preference in allotment of the grants.

“Not only are we providing enterprising and innovative students with a working space and all other necessary facilities, support and mentorship, with the help of GCSRA we are also able to provide funds that shall allow our students to jump start and start up. Last year, we awarded Rs. 40,000 each to 12 startups and their growth was exceptional – and accordingly, this year we hope to support as many ideas and innovations as possible, and hence we are allowing anyone to apply for the grants, and not restricting it to just startups and students of the University,” said Himanshu Pandya, incharge Vice-Chancellor of Gujarat University.

“For any startup, getting off the ground is the biggest challenge. While funding is a problem most startups face after a certain stage, a small cash influx at the initial period can be often times pivotal to a startup, and make a difference between its existence and closure; and hence Rs. 40,000 shall be a significant boost for any young startup. Accordingly, GUSEC is reaching out to all students and faculty of the university by way of SMS, email, social media and other means to ensure maximum persons can apply to take benefit of this opportunity,” said Rahul Bhagchandani, Hon. CEO of GUSEC.

Last year, GUSEC had awarded 12 startups with Rs. 40,000 each from CSR funds raised through GCSRA and the success of that initiative has led to JumpStart.

To apply, individuals / teams need to fill the application form at www.gusec.edu.in/jumpstart on or before March 19, 2017, following which ideas shall be scrutinised by a panel of experts and shortlisted applicants will be interviewed for final selection.

GUSEC startup ‘Luminati’ is the only Indian team at the world’s largest smart garment fashion show

(The following news was announced by the Vice-Chancellor (I/c) of Gujarat University, Dr Himanshu Pandya, along with the team Luminati, in a formal media briefing at the Vice-Chancellor’s office on March 3, 2017.)

AHMEDABAD, March 3, 2017 – Luminati Clothing Co., a startup incubated at Gujarat University Startup and Entrepreneurship Council (GUSEC) has been selected to display their garment design at the world’s largest smart textile fashion show “Makefashion” in Canada in April. Smart textile is an inclusion of electronics and high fashion.

The team consists of two engineers and two fashion designers namely Arjav Parikh, aged 21, Akshay Chawla, aged 21, Komal Katkar, aged 20 and Sudhanshu Somvanshi, aged 19.

The team has designed a garment design concept inspired by the national bird – Peacock. The garment tries to recreate the intricate complexities and beauty of a peacock, such as feathers that rise up, and colours that reflect the colours of the bird. The design also packs a small device that makes the garment vibrate, reflecting the shivering of a peacock when it is excited.

Luminati is the only Indian team to have been selected for the show, and also the youngest. Other teams that shall be displaying their ideas and products have industry experience of 15 to 20 years compared to Luminati’s average team age of 20. Designers from all across the world shall be displayed their ideas at the show, after which, these selected designs will be displayed across other cities of the world.

The startup works on research on smart garments and are currently developing their first smart-garment product. Luminati has leveraged infrastructure and mentorship support from GUSEC, where they have been incubated since July 2016.

“The confidence incorporated in us to be a part of something so big is all due to GUSEC. Such supporting bodies like GUSEC play a major role in lifting the entire team to a new level. We are excited to be working in such a unique yet significant field of smart garments and look forward to the show in Canada and many such opportunities,” said Arjav Parikh of Luminati Clothing Co.

“Luminati is one of the many such examples of what young teams can achieve in little time with a little bit of support, guidance and motivation. Gujarat University has supported over 40 startups till date and we are looking to support hundreds of more in the coming future. Universities are the best place to drive a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in young India and Gujarat University is doing everything necessary to support and nurture innovators and entrepreneurs who will eventually create jobs and boost our economy,” said Himanshu Pandya, I/c Vice-Chancellor.

GUSEC Startups To Get $500 In Hosting Credits From Digital Ocean

Startups associated with GUSEC can now avail benefits offered by Digital Ocean under Digital Ocean’s Hatch Program.

Hatch is DigitalOcean‘s global incubator program designed to support startups as they launch and scale. This includes access to DigitalOcean‘s cloud for 12 months, free technical training, mentorship, priority support, and an opportunity to connect with other startups, accelerators, and investors.

Under this association, GUSEC startups can avail US$500 worth of Digital Ocean hosting credits for a duration of one year, along with free access to virtual office hours with the Digital Ocean team for consultation on platform & architecture queries.

If you are a startup at GUSEC and looking to avail this benefit, please contact one of the GUSEC support team members.

If you are with a startup and looking for support from GUSEC, please apply here. Here is a list of facilities available for startups at GUSEC.

For more, check out Hatch by Digital Ocean.

GUSEC Annual Snapshot – 2016

The following Annual Snapshot of Gujarat University Startup and Entrepreneurship Council (GUSEC) highlights the key efforts undertaken by GUSEC in the year of 2016. The report was initially shared with several key stakeholders of the central and state government for reference and information.

Download a PDF copy of the report here.

GUSEC Startup ‘Alagrand.com’ Raises Seed Round at a ₹20 Crore Valuation

(The following news was announced by Dr MN Patel, Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor, Gujarat University, along with Mr Mitesh Shethwala, Founder & CEO of Alagrand.com, at a formal media briefing on December 13, 2016 at the Vice-Chancellor’s office.)

AHMEDABAD, December 13, 2016 – Alagrand.com, a startup incubated at Gujarat University Startup and Entrepreneurship Council (GUSEC) last week raised an undisclosed seed round of investment at a valuation of US$3 million (~₹20 crore).

The investment round was led by a local investor who has previously invested in several business ventures. Alagrand.com is currently in its second year of operation.

The e-commerce market in India is projected to cross a value of ₹2,00,000 crore by the end of 2016, with apparel and footwear contributing to roughly 35% of that market. India has more than 50 fashion e-commerce brands including the largest players Myntra and Jabong – both currently owned by the Flipkart group – but Alagrand.com is the first such fashion e-commerce startup from the state of Gujarat.

Alagrand.com, started with the vision to localise fashion e-commerce and uplift local brands and designers, currently sells more than 10,000 product across 20+ categories featuring prominent Gujarat-based brands such as Jadeblue, Asopalav, Viva N Diva, Chashmish, etc.

“E-commerce is considered to be a crowded space in India, however there wasn’t a single leading fashion e-commerce marketplace from Gujarat when we started 2 years ago. We started with the clear vision to capture this opportunity,” said founder Mitesh Shethwala.

Alagrand.com team with other incubatees at GUSEC

Applauding the milestone, Dr MN Patel, Vice-Chancellor, Gujarat University said, “Startups are quickly becoming the growth engine of the country, boosting the economy as well as creating jobs. With the gross enrolment ratio increasing every year, it becomes a key to support startups and innovations right at the early stage so the education system also brings out some job creators – and universities can play a very pivotal role in this. Through GUSEC, we today support more than 30 startups and innovations and the work done by Mitesh with Alagrand.com has been commendable. We shall continue to find and implement new ways to support our startups and innovations in every way possible.”

Gujarat University Startup and Entrepreneurship Council (GUSEC) is a university initiative sanctioned in late 2015 by the university.

In April 2016, GUSEC in association with Gujarat CSR Authority, awarded ₹40,000 as pre-seed fund to 12 of its startups, one of which was Alagrand.com.

According to Shethwala, the seed fund will be utilised to scale the backend and develop mobile app platforms of the service, as well as influx more human resources to grow the company. “Our goal is to have at least a million sellers selling on our platform in the next 3 years,” added Shethwala.

Also read: The story of Mitesh Shethwala on Chaaipani, another startup incubated at GUSEC, where Shruti Chaturvedi writes about Mitesh’s battle with depression

Check out: Alagrand.com

Gujarat’s Hon’ble Education Minister Appreciates Efforts of GUSEC

In a letter on December 9, 2016, Gujarat’s Hon’ble Minister of Education and Revenue, Shri Bhupendrasinh Chudasamaji, appreciated the efforts of GUSEC under the aegis of Gujarat University.

The letter reads:

In August 2015, soon after the Hon’ble Prime Minister announced the “Startup India” mission in his Independence Day address, I chaired a meeting of Vice-Chancellors of all universities of Gujarat, hosted by Gujarat University, to discuss the importance of universities in building and advancing the state’s startup ecosystem.

Later in February 2016, I inaugurated the co-working space of Gujarat University Startup Entrepreneurship Council (GUSEC), and it is noteworthy that GUSEC – in just 10 months – today supports over 25 startups and innovations, and is developing the country’s first institutional mechanisms and policies for supporting student startups and innovations in the research sectors.

The role of universities in supporting startups, entrepreneurs and innovators is of utmost importance and the efforts of Gujarat University in this regard have been key in our state of Gujarat.

I congratulate the university for their efforts and wish them continued success.

We thank the Hon’ble Minister for his kind remarks. The copy of the letter can be viewed below: