If you thought NIFTians were all about high couture, nose rings and the ambition to design clothes for supermodels setting the ramp on flame, well, you have another think coming! When we started digging for information, little did we know we will face the problem of plenty. Not only have these NIFTians donned the entrepreneurial cap, but also ventured into fields beyond fashion, running many a successful startup.
Here are 10 startups from NIFT alumni on our watchlist. However, if any of the co-founder graduated from NIFT, we included them in the listing.
Founder – Veena Ashiya
According to Veena, fashion is a solved problem in ecommerce for the first layer of consumers – those for whom price is the biggest factor that would swing a buying decision. From Flipkart’s Myntra to Jabong and Yepme, scores of fashion ecommerce sites cater to them with incredible discounts and offers. Veena recently got recognitions among top media firms like TechInAsia, Deccan Chronicle and Little Black Book.
“So they don’t really need another ecommerce site or app. As for the luxury layer on top who buy best designer stuff, they already know the brands and where to get them. But the middle layer needs help. They are the financially stable, mostly working, upwardly mobile lot. They can afford to be fashionable but don’t know where to find stuff that matches their tastes or are simply too busy to look,” Veena says. “Diskover is for them.”
Founder – Biswaroop Banerjee
Founded in September 2015 by Kalyan Mazumdar and Biswaroop Banerjee, Motoziel, which means motorcycle destination in German, is a startup which endeavors to provide a ‘one-stop’ solution for motorcycle enthusiasts in India. The startup rents luxury adventure motorcycles such as Harley Davidson, Ducati and Triumph and has a fleet of 20 motorcycles.
The company is also working on two-way tie ups, wherein a company outside India will market their tours and Motoziel will market international guided motorcycles tours in India for them. Ranging from distribution of premium riding gear, helmets and motorcycle accessories to organising luxury and adventure motorcycle tours across India and Asia, Motoziel aims to provide a total motorcycling experience under one roof.
Founder – Narinder Mahajan
ODN was started by Mahajan and Kumar Udaar in November 2015. The startup provides two key offerings, including photoshoot studio services and marketplace management services. It allows the fashion brand to focus on its mainstream products and branding. Mahajan has almost 13 years of experience in the retail industry. He has also worked with Snapdeal, tradus.com, Spencers Retail and co-founded shopnineteen.com and Bricolage Design Services.
Udaar, a management and a fashion graduate, was previously associated with companies like IL&FS Skill Development Corporation and Suncorp Retail before coco-founding this venture. “Our USP is that as a single management, we are handling it all – right from shoots to content creation to marketplace management to order management,” Mahajan said.
Founder – Sharad Puri
Apart from helping small startups raise capital and assisting investors in making informed decisions, Applyifi also aims to create more angel investors in the country. “We hope to do so by enabling senior professionals, HNIs and even recently/modestly successful entrepreneurs to co-invest small amounts in startups. Hence, for their benefit, we want to make deal-discovery and opportunity assessment easier,” says Raut to TechinAsia.
The company recently helped one of its first batch of four curated startups achieve its maiden funding commitment (though that’s a far cry from having money in the bank). OGES, an online Q&A and best practices platform for the oil and gas industry, has secured commitment for funding from a group of investors and high net individuals (HNIs). Two other startups from its first batch are on their way to raise seed funding as well – one aims to raise US$39,000, and the other US$79,000. They are in talks with accelerators and investors from the company’s network.
5. Nysa Health
Founder – Pankhuri Joshi
With 400+ million women in India between puberty and menopause, menstrual and maternal health is a very important area that requires immediate attention. NIFT alumna Pankhuri Joshi created two tech platforms to facilitate efficient purchases in the maternity and reproductive health care market, employing data, knowledge and transparency.
The FLO+ app tracks menstrual pattern and related symptoms, and generates a predictive model for each user. Their system detects health anomalies early, giving users warning signs to look out for. Pankhuri also launched the Bestofthebump app as a platform for expecting mothers, with a week by week pregnancy guide and pregnancy tools like Kick Tracker, schedulers, milestones, logs tests and scans.
Founder – Sharon Borgoyary
An award-winning art director, this NIFT alumna has over nine years of experience working in advertising, graphic design, illustration and branding. In 2014, she and a group of friends met with the Salaam Balak Trust and invented a light bag for them powered by solar energy, which would help homeless children study at night. The initiative won several accolades not just in India, but around the world.
As the co-founder of creative agency Animal, Sharon is responsible for design and advertising for brands like adidas Originals, Google, Microsoft, Housing and NDTV Gadgets, amongst others. She and her team constantly experiment with technology in most of their projects. Recently, they used virtual reality to help launch and showcase the Pharrell Williams collection in India for adidas Originals. Currently, she’s working on revamping the visual look for Keventers, a legendary 100-year-old Indian brand of flavoured milkshakes.
Founder – Vamsi Krishna Kaki
Founded by Vamsi Krishna Kaki, Akshay Halve and Sahithi Madhuri in May 2015, Jet Set Clean is a laundry service provider which promises to pick your dirty laundry from your home, wash and press it, and drop it back at your doorstep within 24 hours. The services can be availed via Web, Mobile App as well as Helpline. The company provides premium laundry services with a flat 24 hour delivery, starting at Rs60/kg. It also offers light speed services with 12 hour and 6 hour delivery charging at Rs90/kg & Rs120/kg.
Further, it provides dry-cleaning & leather cleaning services delivered within 48 hours, starting at Rs 80/item. The startup has created a customized CRM technology platform that connects its franchise laundry partner with its customer support team and logistics team. This tool helps the company streamline its operations to achieve its promised timelines, and also helps in inventory management and payment tracking.
Founder – Taniya Dhirasaria
A self-funded start up, Zoe kicked off on February 14th of 2016 and the 2-month-old brand has come a long way in a short span of time with delicious frappes, cold pressed juices and smoothies in its kitty. The name ‘Zoe’ is Greek for life and with that as an inspiration the company goes with the tagline “Nutrition for life”. I know, like pieces of a puzzle, isn’t it?
“The whole idea behind Zoe was to make healthy and nutritious food available to consumers and to up the quality of their life”, describes the founder.
Founder & CEO, Taniya Dhirasaria, comes from a corporate background where she has worked for enterprises like Reliance Brands & Myntra. She noticed corporate professionals skip proper meals and instead resort to extraneous munchies and beverages like biscuits, tea, coffee and other cafeteria snacks. This unhealthy habit led a lot of them to fatigue, body ache and dizziness.
Founder – Aditi Rohan
Bangalore-based Elanic started in 2014 to standardize the process of buying and selling used clothes, shoes, accessories, jewelry, and handbags. The primary goal was to avoid the problems that would arise in a situation that involves transacting used products. Narahari and Palkush Rai Chawla, another co-founder, began Elanic after experiencing the rough edges of consumer-to-consumer transactions.
Their aim is to create utility out of the idle part of a woman’s closet. So they got Aditi Rohan along as another co-founder, a National Institute of Fashion Technology graduate and a shopping enthusiast. “Many women tend to shop a lot even if they don’t end up wearing over 30 percent of the things they buy and we thought our idea would create purpose,” Narahari says. Both Narahari and Chawla studied together at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, and worked for ITC before venturing into the used fashion marketplace.
Founder – Mausmi Ambastha
On a fortunate evening of January 2011, Mausmi shared her apparel and garment industry experience with her software and marketing expert friends- Manasij Ganguli, Abhishek Srivastava, and Bratish Goswami – who were all in a way exploring opportunities to startup. And the idea clicked. The scope of contributing towards the industry by developing a complete solution, which can not only bring productivity, profitability, but also contribute towards the greener environment was a vision that excited each and they started out building it.
The company is Threadsol and after undergoing a 2 year gestation period of product development, intelloCut broke through the cloud in early January 2013. There are various processes in the functioning of a manufacturing unit which includes buying, cutting and use of material. intelloCut snaps into these various processes of a manufacturing unit and tries to improve utilization, reduce wastage, increase productivity and improve estimation accuracy. Today, ThreadSol boasts of an amazing clientele of 90+ manufacturers across 13 countries who plan 2.5 million pieces with our software, every day!