The media loves success stories. But at 28, a journalist-turned-branding expert, Shradha Sharma, realised that the mainstream media had no space for start-up ventures, and that young entrepreneurs had no platform to showcase their roadmaps. Though they tried to make their presence felt online, a lot of the efforts were scattered, Sharma points out.
And that is where ‘your story' began. Sharma set up an online platform for entrepreneurs and start-ups in India a year ago. Her company would scout for entrepreneurs from different parts of the country, particularly from smaller towns and cities, and “profile and showcase” their stories. It started off with technology start-ups but soon Sharma realised that she needed to do more.
“One day I realised that the tech start-ups might find an online platform, but what about women entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs? Today, we are the only platform in India which is completely sector-agnostic and focused on non-tech, green, rural, social and women-led start-ups,” she explains.
Sharma spoke to The Hindu on the sidelines of Microsoft Canaan TechSparks 2010, a pan-India hunt for innovative product technology start-ups and a flagship event of her company.
“The idea is to promote every possible venture that is started in India, be the first showcase platform for start-ups and subsequently help them in various ways.” Sharma hopes her company will be an “enabler” for building successful entrepreneurial stories. The service, profiling and promotion are a “free and focused service,” she says.
Sharma points out that the last two years, owing to the global economic recession, were tough times for entrepreneurs. However, for her start-up, it was indeed a “boon” as big media houses held back on spending on popular start-up campaigns, which, in turn, helped them build their brand and “create a mind-space among audiences,” she says.
How it works
“We have a phenomenal team which keeps scouting for stories in various cities. Entrepreneurs lead us on to others. Of late, our publicity has been purely by word-of-mouth.”
Many of the entrepreneur profiles are picked up by various media houses or she gets calls from prospective clients/vendors.
Take, for instance, Mahesh Reddy, a small-town entrepreneur from Andhra Pradesh, who had been scouting for capital for his ‘tamper-proof vending system'. This product basically uses electronic circuitry to ensure security or quality of products in vending machines.
After being profiled on YourStory.in, Sharma helped him connect with the government and venture capitalists. He was able to raise seed money from the MSME Foundation and now is carrying on with his work. “Of course, that we were able to help him realise his goal was extremely gratifying,” Sharma says.
Sharma hopes to expand her venture to make it the largest entrepreneurial platform in India and subsequently look at opportunities in international content exchange and collaboration. “We want to enable and support entrepreneurs in their journey.”