Let’s just accept the fact- Startups are hard and if you are starting a company for the first time in your life, you are going to have a tough time. It’s not a cinch to build a company into a billion-dollar valuation in a couple of years. You have to try your utmost to keep your spirits high, even in the most deplorable situations and constantly tell yourself that despite the hardships, your startup will garner the reputation and success it deserves. As a matter of fact, more than 90% startups fail and running out of money is not the only reason behind it. Sometimes it takes years to take a company off the ground and lack of a great core team and imperative resources can only worsen the predicament.
There will be times when you’ll need a freelance designer for your company logo and business cards and an office space to increase the work productivity level. Fulfilling such requirements and getting the right leads to get your work done can prove to be a time consuming and frustrating task for novice entrepreneurs. That’s where Startup Town comes into action as it is an attempt to solve one of the many problems that Indian entrepreneurs generally face by providing everything one needs to startup at one place.
The process is extremely simple as you just list your business on the site. Your listing will be manually moderated before going live on the site. This step is to ensure that all listings are authentic and genuine and also to prevent spam.
Startup Town was founded by Raviteja Govindaraju, who graduated from IIT Madras in 2012. He was the co-founder and lead designer at Desto Creative Solutions and worked with this firm for about two years before quitting it in April, 2013 and has been doing ground work on his second startup since then. In his entrepreneurial journey of about 3 years, he faced a lot of problems and one of the most important ones was getting the right leads to relevant people. So, one fine day when he was free, he thought why not try solving this and thus Startup Town was born.
To explore some more interesting information, we got in a conversation with Raviteja, here’s a sneak peek into his journey and Startup Town:
How long did it take to put together Startup Town?
It just took a couple of days for everything. I am a jack of all trades – designer, developer, content writer etc. So, I generated the content, designed the logo, icons and built the site with a WordPress theme, purchased a domain and hosting space and made the site live – everything in two days.
What kind of companies do you list?
Based on my personal experiences and those of my friends and fellow entrepreneurs, I have written down a few verticals which are very important for a budding entrepreneur – Designers, Developers, Printers, CAs to name a few. This list may increase as the site grows. You can check out these categories on the home page of Startup Town.
Who would you say is your biggest competitor?
I am not sure about competition to StartupTown because I don’t consider this as a serious business. I look at it more as a help tool that entrepreneurs can use to get appropriate leads. So, even if there are other sites doing similar work, I would be actually happy about it and won’t consider them as competitors.
Has Startup Town got the feedback and growth you expected since launch?
I was overwhelmed by the response Startup Town has got in the first week of launch. I posted about this in 6 or 7 entrepreneurs/startups related Facebook and Google groups and I got very good comments, compliments and suggestions. In fact, one of the firms listed on the site received a couple of good deals within just 1 day of going live on the site.
What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing?
Visibility is one. Everybody who visited the site definitely liked the idea. However, I will consider it successful only when people will actually take something useful from the site. i.e. if they come to my site looking for a Chartered Accountant and if they are able to find one in their area, that is when I would say I have built something useful. For this to happen there should be more and more organizations getting listed on the site.
What are your plans for promoting Startup Town? Do you have any tie-ups?
Whenever I am free, I send out mails to startups, CAs, printers etc. to take a look at the site and submit their business profile to get listed. I check out profiles of active people on Quora in the startup related questions and send them messages regarding the site. I also try to talk about Startup Town to relevant people at startup related events that I attend. As of now, I don’t have any tie-ups but if there is a good opportunity, I would love to explore.
Which one is the most important ability a leader should have?
A good leader is one who knows how to get things done. In my experience, I learnt that people who maintain their calm, who do not easily get distracted or disappointed are the ones who can lead from the front and be successful. For example, suppose you are in the middle of a deserted area and suddenly your bike’s back tyre gets punctured, instead of cursing yourself, the bike and the God, think of a way to move forward because that is your goal for the moment. Just do whatever it takes to achieve it even if it means walking 20 km under the hot sun. Just do it!
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
I have made lots of mistakes and I am an eternal learner. If you are facing issues with anyone closely working on your startup, get them resolved as early as you can. The longer you wait, the messier it gets. Also, I learnt that it is very important to maintain paperwork for each and every task of the startup.
Do you have any new features in the pipeline? What more do you wish to include to take Startup Town to the next level?
There is already a rating system in place for the listings. You can rate a firm based on the service/product it offers. I also started a section called Stories where entrepreneurs can anonymously share some interesting experiences in their startup journey. Once there is a decent no. of listings on the site, I would also like to produce some infographics on the statistics related to the listings on the site – For instance, no. of startups registered in each city, no. of product/services firms in various cities etc. that might give valuable insights into the entrepreneurial ecosystem of India.
What one piece of advice would you like to give to soon to be startup founders?
Ideas are of very little value. Execution is all that matters.
Thanks, Raviteja! Make sure you check out Startup Town if you are starting up a business in India or even if you have already embarked on your road to entrepreneurship and share your views on this startup with us.