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Kerala Startups Solving Unique Problems: Anil Joshi

Kerala has a very vibrant ecosystem for startups that is not just restricted to Kochi or Thiruvananthapuram but is rapidly moving to other smaller cities of the State, according to a leading angel investor who was speaking at the two-day Seeding Kerala 2020. Anil Joshi, Managing Partner of Unicorn India Venture, who has been investing

Kerala has a very vibrant ecosystem for startups that is not just restricted to Kochi or Thiruvananthapuram but is rapidly moving to other smaller cities of the State, according to a leading angel investor who was speaking at the two-day Seeding Kerala 2020.
Anil Joshi, Managing Partner of Unicorn India Venture, who has been investing in various startups from Kerala, said, “I am very happy to share that most of the startups in Kerala are engaged in solving unique problems”.
Startups focused on finding solutions for solving the common man’s problems have more prospects in terms of achieving sustainability and economic growth, he added.
Day one of the fifth edition of Seeding Kerala 2020, organised by Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), saw investors looking for innovative ideas from startups.
At the session titled ‘Where will I put my money in 2020 and beyond,’ speakers pointed out the importance of having startups with unique problem-solving abilities.
One of the panelists, Mahesh Murthy, Founder & Director, Exseed Space, said, “We look for startups that can be paired. We mostly invest in space tech and look for revenues from the early days. One of the best ways is to grow along with companies having similar interests.”
Complementary companies are essential for growth as they bring in business opportunities for each other, said Padmaja Ruparel, Co-founder, Indian Angel Network and Founding Partner, IAN Fund. “We invest in companies that are focused on sectors that cater to the urgent needs of the country. Having said that, for optimizing the growth parameter, one needs to look at companies that can be pitched together. We have a company that works on waste management. Similarly, we also have invested in a company that focuses on leather products made of waste. So, it is very interesting to see how they could work together,” she said.
On the inaugural day, the summit focused on investor awareness, investment opportunities and strategies, and co-investment opportunities and associated risks.
There was also a discussion on ‘My first seed round – Mistakes I made and lessons learnt’. Curated by angel investor Robin Alex Panicker, the session saw participants speaking about taking funding and the challenges involved.
Deena Jacob, Co-founder, Open Financial Technologies, said, “It is important to see from whom you take the money and whether the investor believes in your idea, and trusts your ability and philosophy. The thought process of both needs to align for future growth.”
Abhi K, CEO, Carestack and Arjun Satheesh, Head of Operations, underlined the importance of communicating every decision to the investor. “We have had our differences, but every decision was discussed and informed,” said Arjun.
Other panelists who spoke included Shihab Muhammed, CEO, Survey Sparrow and Rajan Singh, Founder, Concept Owl.
The day also witnessed a riveting discussion on ‘Opportunities in She Economy’, where the speakers discussed about the challenges being faced by women entrepreneurs and the gender disparity they have to overcome.
Seema Chaturvedi, Founder & Managing Partner, AWE Funds, said, “Less than three per cent of venture funding goes to women business. It shows the serious gender disparity.”

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