Three young entrepreneurs, Sanchit Waray, Swapnil Gawade, and Vaibhav Jain, equipped with business and technology skills and a strong alumni network, set up StartEZ in November 2014 to help startups with the nuts and bolts of their businesses. Elaborating on their venture Sanchit says: “We believe that entrepreneurs sometimes are technically strong but lack skills to handle the business aspect of their ventures. Whether it is a business plan or an elevator pitch, they should know where to go for immediate help.”
Back in the past
Sanchit, Swapnil and Vaibhav, alums from reputed US universities – Carnegie Mellon University, Ohio State University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, respectively – met in India during their stint with Battelle, an R&D firm in the science and technology sector.
“As we worked on multiple projects and interacted with many industry experts, we realised that the Indian ecosystem had some broken links. When Battelle pulled out of India, the three of us decided to use the opportunity to come up with a good business idea to help Indian startups,” says Sanchit.
They realised that India has its share of innovators who are trying to solve the problems of a developing country. But though technology was a great enabler, it needed strong business acumen to make any real impact. “We spoke to many startups and incubators, and learnt that entrepreneurs mainly needed help with basic stuff, like fundraising, business plans, elevator pitches, and financial models, because they can get quite daunting. They needed to focus on their hardcore technical modules,” says Sanchit.
That is how StartEZ was born, with a motto that appropriately sums it up – #startup journey simplified. StartEZ began with startup-oriented consulting, but soon the founders realised the magnitude of the problem they were trying to solve and the limitations of the consulting model. Now they focus on creating products and tools that enable startups to plan their business strategy, monitor progress, and connect with investors.
What’s so special?
The Online Pitch Builder is what caught my attention at first. An elevator pitch, for any startup, is the most important marketing tool that comes in handy at networking events and conferences. The do-it-yourself pitch builder tool, launched in April 2015, requires users to answer five or six simple questions about the business, and the answers are used to design a customised pitch. “We send their pitches to their email ids, and with their permission, we share the good pitches with investors. Sort of like an investor connect program too,” adds Sanchit.
Alongside the tool, StartEZ offers advisory content from world experts, online resources, and interviews with experienced entrepreneurs and investors.
They are currently working on building products like a simplified business model canvas tool, where founders can create a canvas without any formal know-how. It seems to be something like a Lego blocks of business plan building.
So far so good
This bootstrapped startup is currently being incubated at the National Chemical Laboratory’s Venture Centre in Pune. Since its launch, about two weeks ago, StartEZ has helped over 75 entrepreneurs from countries like India, the US, theUK, Canada, Chile, and Korea with developing their elevator pitches.
“Our strong alumni networks, connections to entrepreneurs all over India, including those from IITs and IIMs, and affiliation with various startup communities across the globe help us immensely. Meanwhile, the response is amazing, and we expect to do a lot more in the coming months,” says Sanchit.
The company is developing an iOS and Android app, where investors can review elevator pitches from startups and connect with them through the app itself. “We are building an entrepreneur-centric company with a focus on providing them with maximum value,” concludes Sanchit.