Kolkata, the City of Joy, calls to mind pictures of the slow life of the old times – the trams, Howrah Bridge, ambassador taxis, Bengali sweets and more. But if you’re talking about startups and technology, Kolkata is usually not likely to figure in the scheme of things. Although recent reports point towards a change in that situation, a lot remains to be done. YourStory visited the city earlier in August to test the waters with a meetup and saw good response. It is still difficult to book an Ola or Uber considering the amount of training and efforts that need to go in to bring drivers up to speed, but we did meet a handful of technology entrepreneurs who are trying to push the envelope. FusionCharts and Indusnet Technologies and the likes are companies that come to mind first when talking of technology and Kolkata but in this post, we make a list of some of the upcoming startups from the city:
TaxMantra: Founded by Alok Patnia, TaxMantra works with startups and SMBs to provide legal and tax-related services. The company has been bootstrapped and operates out of Kolkata’s Salt Lake City area with the aim of making all tax-related activities paperless and painless. The company has helped with 5000+ business registrations and helped to manage 8000+ businesses. (Alok Patnia’s columns on YourStory)
BuyHatke: Online price comparison engine BuyHatke was started by Gaurav Dahake, Prashant Singh and Srikanth Sethumadhavan when they were final year students at IIT Kharagpur, to counter the problem of finding the best price for any product sold online. The company has raised USD 1 million in seed funding. (full story)
Mihup’s Nectar: Nectar is a Personal Mobile Assistant (PMA) that provides users desired information on demand and finds best things from the web eco system. It is an SMS based web search engine for context independent information retrieval. The application has been hosted at a third party platform and already has more than 5 million-user hits till date and monthly user growth is around 15%.
SIBIA Analytics: Founded by Angshuman Bhattacharya, SIBIA Analytics is a cloud hosted predictive analytics solutions start up. It offers real time intelligence through deep predictive modelling and provide decision enabling tools. Their core competency is in algorithms and modeling, however they wrap it up with enabling technologies like Big Data, cloud computing etc. They mainly work with retail and consumer brands.
MindHour: An ed-tech company started by two couples, MindHour is gamifying the learning experience for students of Classes VI to X. The company is bootstrapped and has managed to get 10,000 registered users. (full story)
iKure: Healthcare startup iKure Techsoft builds technology which can be used to provide affordable healthcare services to the rural masses. Led by Sujay Santra, iKure has developed an in-house software that enables treatment of patients in remote settings, where access to hospitals and clinics is limited. (full story)
Surgerica: Founded by Amit Bhagat, Surgerica aims to bring transparency to healthcare in India. The company has raised USD 2,00,000 in funding and users can browse the website to look for the best doctors and hospitals. (full story)
Wow! Momo: Sagar Daryani and Binod Homagai started Wow! Momo, with the idea of turning ‘momos’ into a diversified product category. The company has raised funding from IAN and aims to expand to 60 outlets in the next two years.
Outbox: Started by young, first-time entrepreneurs, Outbox offers a hassle-free experience of delivery of gifts, cakes and flowers in Kolkata. Powered by a call centre, the company has had a good start and shows potential to take on various routes for scaling up and getting the hyperlocal wave going in the city. (full story)
Fashionove: Cofounded by Sharad Kumar and Tanushree Khandelwal, Fashionove is a location-based, hyperlocal fashion search and review portal, connecting shoppers with local independent fashion stores and boutiques. The company has launched in beta with 800 boutiques and has raised an angel round from cricketer Umesh Yadav.
Justshop24: Healthy competition in e-commerce is surely a sign of a budding tech ecosystem. JustShop24 is an e-commerce portal which provides doorstep delivery of groceries in Kolkata and Howrah. Founded by Utkarsh Lohia, Chetan Sethi and Porav Jain, it is bootstrapped and is making more than 30 deliveries a day. (full story)
Packr and Paaltao: Co-founded by Arpan Das, these two companies have common origins. Packr is an on-demand logistics company that helps customers deliver anything legal, anywhere in India. Paaltao is a marketplace for natural, handmade and vintage products.
These were some of the companies that caught our eye when we were looking for upcoming tech-based companies in Kolkata. There are a bunch of other startups in the QSR segment (Yellow Straw, Chai break, Kaidi Kitchen and Tyre Patty) and there is also an increasing trend of companies like TookiTaki relocating to Bengaluru in search of a better environment.
Share your thoughts about entrepreneurship and Kolkata in the comments…