Business Ideas, Innovation, Motivations

10 offbeat startups that are trying to make it big in India

It’s ingenious but, er, does it make money? Perhaps all the entrepreneurs who feature in this special package would have been asked this question at some point in their startup journey.

Kalyani Khona, who has started up Wanted Umbrella, which she claims is India’s only matrimonial agency for differently-abled people, may have had observers wondering where the money will come from. Her quick answer: “I have married a social cause and business.”

It’s ingenious but, er, why on earth would people want it? That’s a query Alpana Agarwal, co-founder of Con Affetto, which makes edible bouquets — think cupcakes, cookies, truffle — may be used to by now. Ask her about who are the potential customers and she just might tell you about the good lady who placed an order in New Delhi for her grandson’s first birthday and carried it to Jaipur.

It’s ingenious, but will it fly? That’s what Mrinal Pai must be asking himself on the odd bad day. His startup is a farsighted concept that offers custom drone products and services. Pai sees a (near) future when drones will be used to transport organs between hospitals, flying over gridlocked roads; and when you could use his service to drop a quick personalised note of endearment to your beloved. Yes, but will regulations — which have yet to be framed — allow his drones to keep flying?
These are just three of the 10 offbeat startups we’ve deep-dived into; just three of the 800-odd startups added every year; and just three of the over 3,000 startups that are trying to make it big in India.

The 10 that we’ve picked are novel, but being different or a first mover is no guarantee of being the best mover — or moving at all a few years later. After all, success rates in the world of entrepreneurship are notoriously low, as low as 10% in the tech world. And funding is no guarantee of success. CB Insights, a US-based venture capital database, reckons that companies typically die around 20 months after their last round of funding and after having raised $1.3 million.

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