DU Startups


For a while now, Delhi University’s alumni have come up with plenty of successful ventures. So, is it because the varsity fosters entrepreneurship or the college students establish themselves completely on their own?

With the prevailing popularity of shows like TVF Pitchers and MTV Dropout Pvt. Ltd., we can tell that for a while now millennials have been obsessing over entrepreneurship. The whole concept of startups is based on idea of building an empire from the scratch, and if you are a part of University of Delhi (DU) then chances are you know at least one person (the ones hurdling over their laptops, always talking about their business idea, but guarding important details and forever hunting for funds) who aspires to kick start a start-up.

In 2014, a joint initiative of University Of Delhi and Ministry Of Medium, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) started Technology Business Incubator (DUCIC-TBI) at Cluster Innovation (CIC) Centre. The main objective of this initiative was to encourage students to try out their innovative ideas (processes and/or products) at the laboratory or workshop stage and beyond, to carry forward the idea from its mere conception to know-how and then to-do-how stage.

Talking to DU Beat about the work done by the incubation center since its inception, Professor Bibudananda Biswal, Manager of Technology Business Incubator (DUCIC-TBI) said, “We started off with incubating seven start-up projects that were funded by Ministry of MSME. Subsequently, we added two more startups. Out of these nine projects, four are today companies with positive cash flow. One received an accelerator funding and currently operates from Bangalore. One is in an advanced round of investment negotiations. The other two fund themselves on bootstrapping model. Each of these companies has both rapid and high growth potential.”

He also added that the projects which added after the initial five ones were only provided co-working space with computational facilities. We have not followed up with incubating more projects because of infrastructure and funding issues.

Manish Narayan, a Delhi University graduate and one of the founders of successful venture Sign My Tour app launched by Audible India (now Inclusio) that aids deaf and mute people to access historical monuments of Delhi, credits Technology Business Incubator(DUCIC-TBI) in providing them with financial assistance, infrastructural facilities, and mentoring sessions. “There are many start-ups who have reached heights with the help of universities. The universities need a proper channel to identify this kind of talent and should conduct a comprehensive evaluation to find which start-ups they should fund,” Manish said.

Kirti Krishan, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Pollination Project Grant winning start-up Lithics, (an online portal for handmade and indigenous products) believes that Delhi Universtiy’s Incubation centers at Par with any other Incubation center in the country. “The amazing guidance and help at Delhi University in realizing our dream by providing amazing infrastructure or finding us right mentors has been immense and has helped us in getting pass huge hindrances in operations,” he further gushed in praise.

Hello Meal, a Vijay Nagar based food delivery service founded and run by alumni of Swami Shraddhanand College have carved a niche for themselves owing to their pocket-friendly rates and impeccable service. The venture received a recommendation letter from Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Leadership (CIEL) of Atma Ram Sanatan Dharma College (ARSD). Tarun Kanti Das, a founding member told DU Beat, “We often visit ARSD College to talk to Dr. Rajeev Singh regarding our business. I’m also trying to get some assistance from DU in terms of promotion and financial aid.”

If we look around that are plenty of success stories coming out of varsity incubation centers. However, many people still believe that universities should not invest money, either through financial aid or infrastructure support, in amateur, college-level start-ups because a majority of businesses that come out of these incubation centers eventually fail.

Professor Bibudananda Biswal, Manager of DUCIC-TBI, refutes such notions and asserts, “The claim that “businesses that come of out these incubation centers eventually fail” is nonsense. Start-ups fail everywhere, even after a series of funding. The money spent on a college level incubation is insignificant. This is only to nurture an innovative idea. The real business and profit happen long after the incubation process. This, most often, depends on the entrepreneurial skills of the promoters of the start-up.”

Lloyd E. Shefsky famously said, “Entrepreneurs are made, not born”. Perhaps, this holds true for Delhi University too, the culture of startup harvested by setting up of incubation centers does produce an array of accomplished and aspiring ventures. However, with policies of fund cut in education, it is under threat.


Feature Image Credits: Business World

Niharika Dabral

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Third-year B.Com (Hons) student and the President of SGTB Khalsa College’s Music Society, Vaibhav Kanwar’s love for music and entrepreneurship has led to the founding of “Clapbox”, a startup that manufactures and sells the percussion instrument, Cajon. With a six digit monthly revenue and listing among the best sellers on Amazon, Clapbox is all set to reach new heights.

With the idea of encouraging the fellow student musicians, Vaibhav’s “Clapbox” has announced a giveaway of 10 Cajons to the Music Societies of colleges in Delhi University.

 What was the idea behind starting this venture?

Seeing the unreasonable pricing of cajons in the market, I tried making one for myself. With a lot of research and trial and error, I finally came up with a possible frame for my Cajon. I approached many percussionists for trying out my prototype which allowed me to reach out to more like minded people.  I realized the gap that there was in the market for good quality cajons, which led to the birth of this venture. Being a portable music instrument, it works perfectly for percussionists during band practices and drummers with space constraints at home.


  1. What do you think has been your key to success?


With the goal of creating something unique, our team of product designers has been constantly studying the market and developing new models made of different wood. Each model, with its different specifications, competitive pricing and strict sound quality checks have led to the success of Clapbox.


  1. What has been your biggest challenge in this journey?


Competing with the already established foreign brands on the same platform while minimizing the cost of production without compromising on the quality was a big challenge for us. However, we were able to overcome this problem by constantly interacting with customers and being responsive to their feedback. Being a drummer myself for the past eight years, my passion for music did not let me give up during hard times.


  1. Tell us more about your range of products.

We at Clapbox; in addition to our growing range of Cajons are planning to introduce a highly affordable line of other instruments soon. The success of our new models, the ‘Jingle Cajon’ and the ‘Adjustable Snare Cajon’ has inspired us to work on new models like ‘Electric Cajons’, ‘Travel Cajons’ and ‘Practice Pads’ for drummers.


  1. What are your future business expansion plans?


We are in talks with music stores across India and have been approached by some established business houses for an alliance. Let’s see how it pans out.


To stake a claim for a free Clapbox Cajon for your music society, please send in a request on your College Letterhead, duly signed by the President of your music society and attested by the College Principal to [email protected]

Feature Image Credits:  DU Beat


Priyal Mahtta

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Jose Rizal could not have said it better when he exclaimed, “The youth is the hope of our future.” Today, we see many young individuals, both college and school students, achieving great feats at the social front. Recently, a similar path was taken by Ashutosh and Pranav, Co-founders of WeConvert to make an impact in the field of garbage disposal. These students from Bhaskaracharya College of Applied Sciences (Delhi University) started their journey to revolutionize the waste being managed in the country. DU Beat gets up close and personal:

DUB:Can you tell us a little about We-Convert?

It was just another day for us when we were talking about how to put our engineering skills to something useful and creative. On our way to the platform at the metro station, a vending machine caught our attention. That is when we thought about a machine that could collect waste automatically. After a few minutes, both of us realised the only way to get people to use that machine would be by rewarding people.
Waste management has always been an issue in India. No organization, be it private or government, has come out with any solution that could prove to be successful. Therefore, to solve this problem, we created We-Convert. We introduced the concept of e-collectors that are meant to accept a user’s waste material and in return generate some rewards. These machines will be installed at various locations, initially only in Delhi/NCR.

DUB: What was the inspiration behind setting up a waste management domain?

There has been tremendous increment in the amount of waste material generated- almost 7% annually and we felt that there has been no practical solution to it. Around 500 billion bottles and beverage cans are discarded globally every year. Out of this, India contributes nearly 5.6 million metric tons of such waste generation (according to a report suggested by CPCB). Delhi alone is responsible for generation of 689.5 metric tons of such waste every day.
Most people never dispose their waste correctly. No one takes the pain to find a bin, identify the colour and throw their waste rationally.

In order to provide a solution to these problems, we let ourselves go with this idea of developing smart waste collecting machines that will reward people for disposing their waste correctly.

There has been tremendous increment in the amount of waste material generated- almost 7% annually- and we felt that there has been no practical solution to it.

DUB: What would be your perspective on the current waste disposal issues and how does your start up aim to resolve them?

It is our belief that the current waste disposal system has many flaws.This gave us an opportunity to develop our smart machines. No individual takes the pain to throw their waste correctly. This is the reason why our streets are full of paper waste, bottles, cans etc. The recycling procedure has always been an issue in the Indian context. The Indian recycling units tends to import scrap material worth Rs. 28 crores. Incentivising the entire process is an innovative technique to get ordinary people involved in recycling.

DUB: Could you elaborate more on how one can get involved?

We had our machines installed at various locations earlier and are waiting for the re-launch after development.A user who approaches the machine needs to follow the instructions written on the machine:
• Drop in your waste into the inlet of the machine. Then press the start button located on the upper left corner.
• Wait for the machine to scan. The machine takes 10-12 seconds to detect your waste material.
• If the waste detected is a bottle/can/glass, the machine will reward you else you won’t be rewarded for the rest of the waste categories.
• The machine will shred the bottles/cans and will store them in the inbuilt containers and the rest of the waste will be stored in a different container of the machine.
• The user will be given a 5-digit unique code that needs to be entered via USSD on your mobile keypad (No internet or Mobile App is required).
• Once the USSD number is dialed, the user will receive a message(SMS) with a link to redeem their credit points. The user needs to follow the steps as guided by the link in the SMS.
• The rewards include attractive offers from food chains and online retailers.

DUB: What advice would you give to college students who would like to make a difference like your team?

We started this project in our final year of college. Prior to that, we used to seek out opportunities so as to shape our interest and path for development. A start up is something that provides you with an opportunity to test your skills, understand people’s problems, solve the issues with your idea/concept, and most importantly, provide you with experience that no college can teach you. On behalf of We-Convert team, we suggest all students to get out of their comfort zone and seek experiences beyond what your books and classrooms have to offer.

DU Beat would like to congratulate WeConvert and wish its team all the success in the time to come!

Feature Image Credits: We-Convert

Interview taken by Shaina Ahluwalia for DU Beat.

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