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Indian Startups and Indie Entrepreneurs Now Have A New Funding Platform

Artist and event management company Only Much Louder and Delhi-based strategy consultants Do One Thing launch The Coalition in Delhi next month


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The Coalition

Vijar Nair [Only Much Louder] and Laura Quinn [Do One Thing]

Few understand entrepreneurship better than Mumbai-based Vijay Nair, co-founder of artist management and event agency Only Much Louder. Nair dropped out of college to work as a manager for bands such as Pentagram and Zero back in 2002, when the concept of a band manager was as unheard of as the idea of an Indian music festival. That his team launched a multi-genre festival in 2010, which is in its third year running, redefined music entrepreneurship in the country. So it’s no surprise that Nair, who is a huge fan of TED Talks that gave shape to a series called Startup Weekend, a forum to not just talk, but turn ideas into successful business model, has launched his own version of Startup Weekend called The Coalition.

Nair, along with Laura Quinn, founder of the Delhi-based Do One Thing, a strategic consultancy for social, arts and cultural initiatives, came up with The Coalition to help startups and indie entrepreneurs find funding. “I was tired of listening to young people crib about their day jobs and using lack of funds as an excuse to not start something by themselves,” said Nair last year when he informally launched the project.

The Coalition kicks off with a three-day event called TC/1 in New Delhi between March 14th and 16th. Day one and two will feature talks from the industry experts, interviews, debates, workshops from Wieden+Kennedy, tech workshops from Google Business Groups and from OML on music management and production. Day three is when budding entrepreneurs will get to pitch their ideas to funders. Says Quinn on what they are expecting from the aspirants, “We’re looking for passion, some level of creative vision and potential for these people to be the next generation of India’s creative industry. What we’re not looking for are expert business people with MBAs who’ve got a business plan. That’s not what The Coalition is about. It’s is about passionate people with great ideas and supporting them to turn them into businesses.”

Startups and entrepreneurs will follow a year-long program to eventually find funding. The TC/2 stage will include skill building via an online platform. Says Quinn, “It will give them the knowledge and the advice needed to start their business. So we’re working with knowledge partners from around the world and in India of course and with companies in India like business groups, chartered accountants and lawyers, investors and collate really great learning material for young entrepreneurs.” The Coalition ends with the last step TC/3 where investors decide which idea they want to fund.

The Coalition took shape after Do One Thing and OML decided to collaborate in 2011. Says Quinn, “Vijay approached us initially to do some strategic work, to look into a plan and strategy for this project. And after about 18 months of doing this collaborative work, we realized that we were both equally passionate about this; that we both have shared knowledge and expertise in this so we decided to co-found it together.”

TC/1 will feature speakers like Roysten Abel [developer of the Manganiyar Seduction], Neha Kirpal [founder, India Art Fair], Martin Da Costa [from event planners Seventy EMG], Ashish Hemrajani [founder of ticketing website BookMyShow.com], Sharad Devrajani [CEO, Liquid Comics and Graphic India], Amitabh Kant [developer, Incredible India campaign] and Vir Das [comedian and founder of Weirdass Comedy].

For more information on The Coalition, click here.

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