Feb 28, 2012

Message for young BITSians: Now is a great time to startup!

I have recently been talking to many, many young BITSians (students & alumni of BITS Pilani). Some of them are still on campus dabbling with a cool project. While some have embarked on a startup idea soon after graduating. And still there is a large camp that is on the edge deciding whether they should do a startup or not. Or is waiting for the next big thing to land in their lap. And some are struggling with the internal conflict deciding whether they have the risk appetite.

I would like to tell this camp that there are a lot fewer reasons now to not do a startup. BITS Pilani alumni along with help from the institute has just launched a brand new initiative called BITS Spark. Spark's mission is to help the BITSian entrepreneur, whether they are still a student or have already launched into the real world. It has a lofty vision to become one of the top-3 institutes for entrepreneurship in Asia. Spark supports entrepreneurs and startups through three key pillars - Spark Connect, Spark Mentors and Spark Angels.

Spark Connect: If you want to triage your startup idea, want to validate your initial approach, are looking to round out a team, want to learn the basics of startup creation or would like to connect with the BITSian ecosystem - this is where you start. This is the stage where you can build the confidence to jump off the cliff and take the "startup" plunge.

Spark Mentors: For a young team, nothing is more valuable than coaching and mentoring. If you are a novice founder you could match up with a mentor who can coach you. If you are at a somewhat advanced stage, a seasoned mentor can advise you on strategic issues or connect you with that crucial customer you need for a big break.

Spark Angels: And if you already have some traction, have built a great team and are looking for the financial impetus to get to the next stage, leverage the BITSian network of angels to invest in your dream.

Now is as good a time as one can get in India to pursue their startup dream. Don't be caught up in the drill to build a fancy resume. Don't short change yourself for something you are only half interested in. Think hard about what you are passionate about. Then find a really big problem that needs to be solved in that area. And then go find an amazing solution to fix that problem. And while you do that, take comfort in the fact that the BITSian ecosystem is behind you to help you win!

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