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Rajasthan’s iStart startups attract heavy interest at Startup Mahakumbh

iStart, an initiative by the Department of IT and Communication, Government of Rajasthan, was one of the key participants at the Startup Mahakumbh, a first-of-its-kind event that brought together the country’s startup ecosystem, including startups, investors, incubators, accelerators, and several industry leaders. The three-day event, hosted by ASSOCHAM, NASSCOM, Bootstrap Incubation & Advisory Foundation, TiE and Indian Venture and Alternate Capital Association (IVCA), had the central theme of ‘Bharat Innovates’, with startups from across India showcasing innovations.

iStart Rajasthan had set up 10 booths to showcase its programme and other fiscal and non-fiscal initiatives of the Government of Rajasthan. A total of 10 startups fostered by iStart, across the sectors of transport infrastructure, education, manufacturing power tools, green construction, healthcare and life sciences, tourism, industrial VR tech, and real estate VR, showcased their products and services at the event.

“The iStart team provided exceptional support by arranging all necessary elements for our exhibitor booth management, including marketing materials such as posters and other essentials,” said Tikam Chand Jain, Founder of Fleeca India, one of the participating startups.

JP Jyani, Joint Director, Department of Information Technology & Communication (DoIT&C), Government Of Rajasthan, said his experience of attending the Startup Mahakumbh was “great”, adding, “Rajasthan being a state partner in the event, iStart startups got an excellent platform to network and connect with other players in the ecosystem. As a representative from DoIT&C, it was an opportunity for me to interact with other state officials and inform them about initiatives taken by the Government of Rajasthan for nurturing startups in the state.”

Startup testimonials

In a snap poll, seven of 10 startups said they were “extremely satisfied” with the participation opportunity. “The startups witnessed heavy interest from various visitors during the event and were also able to promote their services by holding meaningful interactions with the crowd,” an iStart spokesperson said.

Listing out his key takeaways from the event, Shiv Ram, the Founder of Codevidhya, a member of iStart, Jaipur, said: “Attending (Startup) Mahakumbh allowed Codevidhya to immerse in a dynamic community of over 2,000 startups, connecting with investors and fellow entrepreneurs. The event provided a platform to explore new and innovative venture ideas, offering significant insights into the current entrepreneurial landscape.” He was especially impressed by the fact that no commercials were involved and “everything” was provided “free of cost”.

Fleeca’s Jain said, “We gained valuable insights into the latest market trends and customer needs, which will help refine our strategies. The feedback and interest we received have validated our efforts and inspired us to push boundaries further. Connecting with potential collaborators and mentors has opened new pathways for partnerships and development.”

According to Nuskha Founder Viral Tiwari, the startup journey can be a lonely one and events like the Startup Mahakumbh give founders an opportunity to find their tribe and interact with peers at a similar stage of growth or dealing with common issues. “Being a D2C company, we are always on the lookout for ways to accelerate our growth. We met a lot of companies at the event, which provided us with state-of-the-art solutions to the problem we were facing on a daily basis. Be it tech integrations or relevant consultants to hone and improve our processes,” he said.

Fostering the future

For the first time, the iStart delegation also included a group of around 50 college students with entrepreneurial aspirations. This was an attempt to foster and encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs from the state.

Startup Mahakumbh had earmarked one day as ‘Future Entrepreneurs Day’ to cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit among students.

Students from the iStart delegation said they were grateful for the opportunity to be part of a prestigious event where they got to learn from seasoned and young entrepreneurs.

“The event provided valuable lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs, highlighting the necessity of strategic thinking and relentless pursuit of excellence. The sessions underscored the importance of resilience, adaptability, and strategic thinking in navigating market challenges. Networking opportunities enriched the experience, allowing attendees to connect with industry leaders and peers,” said Harsh Sharma, a student pursuing a BBA (Hons.) in entrepreneurship at the Global Centre for Entrepreneurship and Commerce. .

For several students, the event provided that muchneeded fuel to fire up their own startup ideas. “Attending Startup Mahakumbh was a transformative experience. I gained a new perspective on my own startup ideas, recognising the importance of simplicity and a clear execution plan. This experience has provided me with a fresh outlook, which will help me turn my ideas into successes,” said Drishan Gupta, who’s pursuing BTech in computer science from Poornima College of Engineering. Hitesh Khatwani, his college and department mate, said attending the event equipped him with smarts that’ll help bring his startup to reality. “I witnessed a host of startups in various stages, which have inspired me to pursue an idea that has been lingering in my mind for some time,” he said.

Forging bonds

The iStart spokesperson said they were very encouraged by the enthusiasm shown by several visiting and participating startups keen to partner with the programme. “We even got some very valuable suggestions from them,” the spokesperson said.

With an aim of enabling handshakes and connecting startups with investors such as VCs, angel investors, family offices, high net worth individuals (HNIs), and potential corporate partners, Startup Mahakumbh hosted 1,000+ startups, 10+ thematic tracks, 1,000+ investors, 500+ incubators and accelerators, 5,000+ conference delegates, 10+ country delegations, and 40,000+ business visitors across the three days.

The event was also attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the last day, who in a special address said India has emerged as the new hope for the global startup space.

“Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s inspiring address reinforced our commitment to India’s Vision 2047. The event offered invaluable networking opportunities, connecting us with fellow entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and policymakers. We gained exposure to cutting-edge innovations, received insightful feedback on our solutions, and learned from the journeys of other startups. This experience has not only enhanced our visibility but also fuelled our determination to drive positive change through innovation and collaboration,” said Fleeca’s Jain.

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