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Startup Saturday: Meet Pune’s startup incubators taking entrepreneurs from idea to revenue

www.hindustantimes.com | November 2, 2019
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Pune is a great city for entrepreneurs - well equipped in several ways to help the setup of a startup, with access to talent, several IT Parks and manufacturing companies.

However, the city also has several organisations that exist, at first read, simply to help entrepreneurs set up businesses and become successful.

Venture Centre, Soma Chattopadhyay, senior manager,

Early stage technology business incubator, famously known as, and trademarked as, Venture Center; inception in 2007

Soma Chattopadhyay, senior manager, ( Pratham Gokhale/HT PHOTO )


Funded by diverse sources. Also receive a government grant for development of the facility and are housed on NCL premises. Receive income from project management and CSR contributions. Part of income also comes from incubation services that include advisory, infrastructure and networking facilities.

On the resume

Supported 450+ knowledge intensive enterprises, innovators and entrepreneurs

Home to 75+ resident startups, at any given time.

Success rate

80% of start-ups at concept defining stage when they moved in; 85% of these companies are still active.

Among current 75 resident start-ups at the center, at least 50 have met one element of success criteria.

30 companies out of 45 graduated start-ups are operating with commercial success.


Components of Venture Center’s ecosystem not limited to, but include

· In-depth guidance by in-house mentors

· Early stage risk capital

· Infra facilities, including plug-and-play scientific laboratories


We specialise in inventive enterprise/ knowledge-intensive/ IP-rich enterprises and are one of the leading early stage science business incubator in India.

· Located on NCL campus (that also houses IISER). This helps us leverage the faculty and student strength of both institutions.

· Strong record of revenue generation and considerable self-financing of recurring costs.


Renuka Diwan, cofounder, Bio Prime Agri Solutions

“My co-founders and I were researchers who develop new technologies that help farmers deal with climate change and reduce crop losses. All this was fine in the lab.What it took to become commercially successful was what we learnt at Venture Center. To begin with, we didn’t even think of a PoC. Then, how to raise funds? All this takes a different kind of thinking and money. They charged us for what we used at their facility and that I think helped us a lot. Many researchers often give quality a miss simply because they cannot afford the infrastructure that the product requires. We simply paid for what we used cutting down our costs considerably.

deAsra Foundation, Pradnya Godbole, CEO

Not-for-profit social tech venture based on vision of Dr Anand Deshpande of Persistent Systems Helps aspiring entrepreneurs start up, set up and run successfully. deAsra launched in 2015

Pradnya Godbole, CEO, deAsra Foundation ( HT PHOTO )



deAsra is funded via family funds of Anand Deshpande. From 2020 it will build a sustainability plan.


48,000 beneficiaries since launch

5,000 new beneficiaries added every month

Data points

10% of beneficiaries use personalised resource or service that requires deeper engagement with platform

2% return to use more than 3 such resources or services.

deAsra does not proactively intervene to monitor beneficiary business performance and metrics, unless the beneficiary specifically requests so.

Components of deAsra’s ecosystem not limited to, but include

Validation of business idea

Raising funds – seed and scale

Tech for small businesses


deAsra is focused on traditional urban businesses with earning potential between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 5 crore annual revenue

The platform serves as an online one stop shop for any support required throughout the entrepreneurs’ journey, which the user can use on-demand from anywhere, anytime.


Shubhangi More, beauty parlour Lavanya, at Loni Kalbhor

“I used to run a small beauty business from my home. I had no clue about growing my business. It was at deAsra that I learnt about growth. They came to my place in Loni Kalbhor and did a study. They even showed me how to price my services and how to get repeat clients. I got a loan of Rs 5 lakh and invested that in my parlour which is now called Lavanya. I now have a regular clientele and make enough money not just to pay off my EMI, but also make a profit. I have also now employed two staffers.”

Pcombinator, Dr Prakash Sharma, founder

Provides virtual assistance to founders; sets up global accelerators and incubation centres.

Dr Prakash Sharma ( Rahul Raut/HT PHOTO )



Revenues from either equity charged from startups, or consulting fee.


1500+ entrepreneurs connected to us.

Expression of interest from 500+ senior resources, to work on various entrepreneurship initiatives.

500+ mentors connected to us.

Data points

90% success rate

International startups, like Latcosmic, a cosmetic-based company and Miles2Share from the USA and Canada; and Candiphi, a health monitoring startup from India are all examples.

Components of Pcombinator’s ecosystem not limited to, but include


Providing frugal technology teams

Business validation tests

Accelerator programme

AI/RPA intervention enabled solutions


We operate in extremely frugal way with the clear focus to earn revenue and become more customer-centric.


Candiphi, founder, Ryan Lemos.

“I joined PCombinator in May of last year and streamlined my business plans, hired resources, and managed it like a project. I did not pay for any of the services, but when we draw up an agreement I will pay him a small consulting fee.”


Bhau Institute of Entrepreneurship and Leadership, Vijay Talele, CEO

Department of Science and Technology, Government of India-supported technology business incubator hosted at College of Engineering, Pune (COEP).

Vijay Talele, CEO, Bhau Institute of Entrepreneurship and Leadership ( Shankar Narayan/HT PHOTO )



Government grant it received for a period of fine years. Fees charged for mentoring, facility usage and incubation. Corporate partnerships and an entrepreneurship education programme will also generate revenue.


Currently supporting 55+ startups across different technology and industry domains.

Data points

20% of our startups now revenue earning.

Seed and VC funding starting from Rs 25 lakhs upto Rs 10 crore.

Components of Bhau’s ecosystem not limited to, but include

Develop successful entrepreneurs in the sector focus areas of healthtech, cyber security, IoT and grassroots innovations in agritech, edutech and clean technology.

Global network of investors and mentors.


Collaboration with College of Engineering, Pune (COEP), that has significant infrastructure in terms of world-class labs and intellectual network. The labs and faculty are available to entrepreneurs.


Azam Shaikhm, co-founder, Tight The Nut

“When I started I had absolutely no idea about business. We didn’t know how to structure a business, what was a pilot project, how to comercialise our idea. It was the mentoring we received from Sanjay Inamdar and Vijay Talele that showed us the path. They guided us on how to develop a commercial pilot project, how to raise funds, make projections, legal, everything. In fact we even got our Angel funding from Bhau.


Flame Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Darshan Doshi, director

The vision of Flame Centre is to build an ‘entrepreneurial village’ that helps launch and scale successful ventures. Also offers co-working spaces to qualified startups, free of cost.


19 early-stage startups part of the two Flame Origins Programmes.

Supporting 20 student entrepreneurs from Flame University aiming to launch ventures.

Data points

3 out of 8 startups part of the first cohort have gone on to raise seed funding.

Components of Flame’s ecosystem not limited to, but include

Origins Programme - an intense five-month programme for startups who are selected to participate in the equity-free, no-cost growth driver.

Flame only entertains entrepreneurs who work full time on their startups.


Founders are able to tap the network and expertise of our mentors.

The team also connects founders to investors across seed till Series A rounds, depending on the need.

Flame University has partnered with The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), Pune.

(Source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/pune-news/startup-saturday-meet-pune-s-startup-incubators-taking-entrepreneurs-from-idea-to-revenue/story-eyXd0vlwsMsGwegkjikO9L.html)