Thestartup ecosystem in Vizag and AP is still in its infancy and we desperately need to set the sails in the right direction. Few things have already been tried but a lot more needs to be done. In a race, when someone has a head start the first aim should be to catch up with them instead of trying to better them from word go. We could well replicate what is working elsewhere however we need to also try to find our own mojo for we need to stand for something on our own instead of just trying to import everything from outside.
We need to work in a collaborative and collective approach and drop the tendency to work in silos.
A vibrant startup ecosystem needs ways for people to connect, educate, execute, inform, fund and celebrate the successes and failures of startups/entrepreneurs.
There are hardly any regular activities which fulfill these needs particularly the ones happening early in the startup journey. There have been some events here and there but there doesn’t seem to be a long term game plan behind them. Some well knownstartup events like Startup Weekends, StartupSaturdays, Open Coffee Clubs are totally non-existent here and should be started asap.
There have been few initiatives by the local startup community known as Vizag Startups but lately they have also stopped as these were voluntarily driven by the startup founders and some of them got burned out doing the activities.
However focusing on some of these activities are some of the low hanging fruits that need to be plucked first. This will in turn keep the wheel running with new energy coming in and contributing to the ecosystem.
Any startup venture generally goes through 4 phases of evolution i.e. discovery, idea, startup and growth. Discovery phase is when people identify a problem during research, hackathons or going through problem statements. Idea phase is when an idea is selected as a probable solution to the problems identified in Discovery phase. Idea pitching session, open meetups and discussions with others around helps in refining/fine-tuning the idea. Startup phase is when this idea is worked upon and given some reality and for that a team/legal structure is formed, b-plans are put in place and poc/mvp developed and some sort of customer validation happens. Growth phase is when the solution is accepted by the market and the focus is now on to get more customers.
Every vibrant startup ecosystem needs something to be going on continuously for all these 4 phases, having said that in a nascent startup ecosystem like this more focus needs to be on the discovery and idea phase.
As most startups end up failing/closing down within their first year of operations, the ecosystem needs to encourage/thrive more people to start out thus concentrating on the discovery and idea phase.
(The Author is the founder of Harmony Infotech. He is also active member of local startup community known as Vizag Startups.)