Fund to process 300 applications every quarter; selected start-ups will receive funds between $150,000-300,000
A group of investors and venture capitalists led by the private equity fund set up by Manipal Education and Medical Group head Ranjan Pai and former Infosys director Mohandas Pai are investing in an accelerator fund for early-stage social media, mobile and cloud computing start-ups.The Habit Fund will be managed by Silicon Valley venture capitalist and entrepreneur Sunil Bhargava of mobile start-up incubator Tandem Capital and Rohit Bhagat , former Asia Pacific chairman of Black Rock Inc., and aims to raise $75-100 million, according to two people directly familiar with the matter, requesting anonymity.The accelerator will process about 300 start-up applications every quarter, of which about a dozen will be shortlisted for Series A, or early-stage funding. It will take about another quarter to be fully operational, said one of the people cited above.Each start-up will receive anywhere between $150,000-300,000 in funding, depending on requirements.“This fund is going to invest in the intersection of mobile and consumer…and the accelerator will be based in Bangalore,” said the person. So far, about $25 million has been committed towards the fund, which has started processing applications. At least four start-ups have been shortlisted and are close to securing funding.“There are going to be a few ideas that are going to be global in their outreach and be successful with far less levels of investment than earlier. This entire fund focuses on ideas which touch these three aspects—social, mobile and cloud,” said the second person familiar with the matter.Neither Bhagat nor Bhargava responded to email requests for comment. A Manipal Education spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.India’s fledgling start-up ecosystem has witnessed an exodus of talent to other lucrative entrepreneurial destinations such as Silicon Valley and Chile, with entrepreneurs having easier access to customers, funding and mentors.According to experts and investors, getting Series A funding in India is much tougher than primary seed funding and the country needs an ecosystem of venture capitalists and accelerators that are more willing to hedge their bets on early-stage start-ups.“The problem has been that a lot of seed-funded companies have not been able to raise a Series A round,” said Deepak Srinath , who leads the technology and emerging sectors practice at Allegro Advisors Pvt. Ltd , an investment bank.Most venture capitalists in India are hesitant about investing in early stage start-ups unless they have a robust and sustainable business model.“Any business model that is not going to generate revenues in the first year or two or is going to take a very long time to break even, will find it more challenging to get funded in this environment,” said Srinath.Avinash Gupta , senior director at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India Pvt. Ltd , said, “Getting capital at an early stage (in India) is very difficult. The probability of failure is highest at that level, so people are very, very careful about putting in their money at an early stage.”source: http://www.livemint.com / Live Mint & Wall Street Journal / Home> Industry / by Anirban Sen / Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
Ramesh Manikatti (50), a native of Bagalkot was rushed to a city hospital last month with symptoms of Paraparesis, a disease of progressive weakness of the lower limbs. The disease over a few months had made his limbs weak and dysfunctional over time.
Ramesh had earlier been evaluated in Goa and Hubli but was not given a definitive treatment due to the complexity of the disease and was referred to Apollo Hospitals in Bangalore. He was evaluated by neurosurgeons Dr K N Krishna and team, and neurologist Dr Sreekanta Swamy. The MRI of the spine showed swelling of the spinal cord due to abnormal cross connection of spinal blood vessels which is known as dural arteriovenous malformation, a surgical condition which needs spinal surgery to disconnect the abnormal connection between the vessels sitting on the spinal cord.
Dr Sharath Kumar G G, Consultant Neurointerventionist, Apollo Hospitals, further evaluated and recommended a spinal angiogram be done under local anesthesia in angiography suite. The exact site of the pathology was identified and treated simultaneously in the same sitting using endovascular glue injection, a procedure in which abnormal blood vessel was blocked with a glue like medication using small catheters in the blood vessel there by disconnecting the abnormal connection. This led to the avoidance of the surgery and the patient showed significant improvement on the next day.
According to Sharath Kumar, “The main challenge during the minimally invasive procedure was to get around the disease. Paraparesis was making the patient’s lower limbs dysfunctional with each passing day. The treatment had to proceed very cautiously as the limbs were totally distorted. The next challenge was the connection of spinal blood vessels. The task was to separate the connection between the vessels on the spinal cord.”
Ramesh was discharged after two days and is on the path of complete recovery.
source: http://www.articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> City> Bangalore / by Hetal Vyas, TNN / April 15th, 2013
April 30th, 2013Arts, Culture & Entertainment
Though the local scene is bristling with talented musicians, finding a receptive audience is a tad difficult. Gautam Mahajan talks to local bands to crack the anomaly.
Bangalore has long been known for its rock music scene, no matter what genre. The city has been host to some of the biggest bands in the world, and with great success too. Despite clearly having an audience for rock, it is surprising that no local band have ever made it to the mainstream.
And it’s not like there is a dearth of talent in the city. On the contrary, the city is filled with talent with musicians experimenting with different genres and sub-genres of music and pushing the envelope of creativity. But is there an audience for music that is not the usual run-of-the-mill commercial stuff?
“There is a growing audience for indie music in Bangalore and the other metros of the country,” say the members of Clown with a Frown, one of Bangalore’s most popular bands.
“However, people need to start going to more live venues to discover and support local artists. Being appreciative of local bands also goes a long way in building up the music community as a whole.” Winners of various music competitions including the prestigious Strawberry Fields Forever in 2012, Clown with a Frown, a nine-piece funk rock outfit, has made quite an impact in the city thanks to their energetic performances and distinctive brass-tinged sound.
Another typical problem faced by most bands is an actual venue to perform. However, according to Groove Chutney, the scenario is changing as quite a few performance venues have cropped up over the last few years. The popular blues band lists some of their favourite venues.
“Legends of Rock, Koramangala has played host to almost every band in Bangalore over the years. The crowd is always loud and energetic and it’s a rush to play there live. B-Flat, Hard Rock Cafe and Opus are some of the great venues to play at in Bangalore. Bak Bak Bar is also a great place,” they say. The three-piece band, playing for over two years now, have garnered a fair bit of success in the local music scene, with their style and originality being greatly appreciated and breathing new life into the typically overdone blues rock genre.
Why aren’t alternate genres and styles not being embraced by the general public?
Space rock band Space Behind The Yellow Room, who started performing in 2012, try to answer: “We feel people like the familiarity in what they hear and understand easily. People really need to know what else is out there. A major change that needs to happen is that people have to break out of their comfort zones. For example, why should instrumental bands be of any less value than a band with vocals? With this kind of music, people really need to be patient and get absorbed. After all, something is being communicated through it. You just have to listen.”
The group make a valid point considering the experimental nature of their music, which consists of ambient sounds and a unique ‘spaced out’ feel. For a band that has such a niche sound, it is doubly important that people have open minds to try to give this kind of strange, yet stunningly rich and creative, music a listen.
It is important to note that a few years ago, bands who had a ‘different’ sound would have ceased to exist after their first few performances simply due to lack of support. So what has changed? All the above bands whole-heartedly agree that social media, especially Facebook, has been an important tool for upcoming bands to showcase their talent and keep people informed about future performances, new tracks etc. And thanks to the ease of merely ‘liking’ a band’s page, even fans can keep track of their favourite local musicians.
India as a whole has never been entirely receptive to rock music. A few bands enjoyed moderate success before fading into oblivion. The above three artists are only a few among many such talented youngsters who wish to make music a medium of communication. The good news is that now there is a sea of change.
People are accepting new genres of music and are showing interest in original music as opposed to popular covers, which has been the norm for a long time. Who knows, maybe this could be the start of something special for Indian rock. Or maybe it’s just a passing fad. So, is there a future for indie rock in this city, and the country for that matter? Only time will tell. But for now, the future looks promising.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Features> Friday Review> Music / by Gautam Mahajan / Bangalore, April 15th, 2013
It is vital for a business to identify would-be consumers who might be looking for services or products it offers, says a new book.
The deceptively simple question, ‘Who is my customer?’ is perhaps the trickiest one as far as business model exploration is concerned. If you decide to own a taxi or an auto in an Indian town, this question may not bother you so much. Anyone on the road who is waving is your customer. Or if you are seasoned enough, you may be able to figure out who among those standing at a bus stop are potentially your customers. But what happens when you decide to run a helicopter taxi business? Who is your customer?
The question becomes even trickier when you know that there is nobody waking up saying, ‘I want to go from Bengaluru to Kabini River Lodges, let me find a helicopter taxi.’ Captain Gopinath, the pioneer of low-cost commercial flights in India and founder of Air Deccan, has narrated the story of how he figured out who the customer for his helicopter service would be in his autobiography Simply Fly.
Several user scenarios came to Gopinath’s mind – VIP visits, surveys for power and gas lines, tourism, surveys for land-use mapping, aerial photography etc. The service was launched after clearing hurdles, such as getting a licence from the government, putting a team together, financing the project, getting a hangar ready, leasing a helicopter etc. Creating a business plan on paper and having a customer willing to hire a helicopter taxi and pay Rs 35,000 per hour are two different things. One event made Captain Gopinath understand the customer better.
The CEO of a large multinational bank was to visit India and the local office of the bank wanted to arrange an outing for his wife during his visit. The programme the Air Deccan team came up with included a visit to the royal palace in Mysore, followed by lunch; then a flight to a game sanctuary nearby; a barbeque on the Kaveri’s banks and then a return flight to Bengaluru before dusk. The India head of the bank liked the proposal but was not so sure about its actual execution.
The bank’s headquarters would not go by just the India head’s approval so one team was flown in to do an audit of Air Deccan’s systems and another one to carry out a security audit. Air Deccan passed both. In the event, the CEO’s wife had a great experience as Jayanth, the Air Deccan pilot, was not only an excellent pilot but a capable tourist guide and conversationalist as well. In this way, over a period, Air Deccan came to understand the needs of global CEOs better. Subsequently, Air Deccan learnt that global CEOs were not the only type of VIP customers they were to get. One of Air Deccan’s customers was Sai Baba of Puttaparthi.
Understanding who will look for the services or products you offer and why they will come to you instead of going to your competitor is an important aspect of the business model exploration. Sometimes you get lucky and a global CEO comes to your doorstep sooner than you expected and that defines who your customer is. As you start serving global CEOs you may end up asking, ‘Why isn’t any survey-related work coming our way?’ And that exploration may lead you to a different customer. For example, within two years of its launch, Air Deccan built a diverse portfolio of contracts like aerial survey, aerial photography, support to oil rigs, geophysical survey for mining, logistics support and medical evacuation apart from, of course, heli-tourism.
What if Captain Gopinath wasn’t so lucky and the global CEO hadn’t turned up so soon? It was quite possible. However, it is important to note that Captain Gopinath had identified at least six different customer categories as possible use cases for his helicopter taxi idea. Thomas Edison did something similar when he invented and built his first prototype of the phonograph in 1877. He wrote ten possible uses of the phonograph in the North American Review in 1878. They were: (i) Letter writing/ dictation (ii) Audio books (speaking to the blind) (iii) Teaching elocution (iv) Music reproduction (v) Family record-sayings from members of the family (vi) Music boxes/toys (vii) Clocks that time everyday activities (viii) Language preservation (ix) Education (x) Connection with telephones. Only one of them – reproduction of music – became a commercially viable business model during the lifetime of Edison.
source: http://www.business-standard.com / Business Standard / Home> Management> Features> B-School / by Ankita Rai / April 15th, 2013
Music lovers of Dharwad will never forget September, 5, 2009. For, this was the day they saw renowned playback singer P B Sreenivas performing live at theKarnatakaVidyavardhakaSangha hall. The veteran playback singer who rendered old, popularKannada film songs left the audience spellbound. It was a privilege for the citizens to felicitate him on the occasion.
Sreenivas had agreed to give an interview to TOI during his visit to Dharwad in 2009 and when this correspondent went to his hotel room at the appointed time the singer was not to be seen anywhere in the hotel. The staff also did not know where he had gone. Sreenivas’ son, who also had come down to Dharwad along with his father, got worried. After searching for a little while, Sreenivas was found sitting in a nearby restaurant sipping tea and scribbling some lines of poems. He said he was composing a poem and found the hotel room not inspiring and hence set out to a nearby restaurant.
Shared his experiences in life, Sreenivas had explained how his mother Sheshagiriamma had great influence on him. “It was my mother’s singing of devotional songs at home which made me go for music,” he had said. When asked why he did not pursue classical music, Shrinivas had said he did not get an opportunity to learn under an able guru.
Recalling his association with matinee idol, Rajkumar with reverence, Sreenivas remembered how he had been identified as the voice of Rajkumar for several decades till the actor started singing for himself.
“Rajkumar used to call me as ‘Shaareera’ (Voice) while he referred to himself as ‘Sharira’ (Body). Rajkumar had a golden voice and all his songs are hugely popular. He excelled in singing all types of songs from romantic to heavily classical. After ”Yare Koogadali ” he sang for most of his movies and for many private albums which were mainly devotional songs,” Sreenivas had recollected.
‘Aadisi Nodu’ was a hit among BJP ministers
Kannada film song “Aadisi Nodu, Beelisi Nodu, Uruli Hogadu,” sung by Sreenivas had become a favourite with BJP ministers and MLAs having allegiance to B S Yeddyurappa, when the latter was the chief minister and there were attempts by his detractors to topple his government in Karnataka. They had set this song as the caller tune on their cellphones.
File photo of PBS speaking at a function held at Dharwad on September 5,2009.
source: http://www.articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> City> Hubli / by Gururaj Jamkhandi, TNN / April 15th, 2013
For the first time in the history of ice skating in India, two girls from Mangalore have the won awards at the international level in the sport.
The duo are Seeliya Simmith, silver medalist, and Avani S Kumar, bronze medalist. They took part in the short track speed skating, a form of ice skating at the ‘World Development Trophy- 2013’ held in Singapore, organized by the International Skating Union.
A total of five contestants had represented India in the events – two girls from Mangalore, a girl and a boy from Maharashtra, and a boy from Bangalore.
Seeliya Simmith is the daughter of P A Mohammed and Asma Mohammed, and resident of Pandeshwar. She is pursuing her Class 10 from Lourdes Central School, Bejai. She has been getting trained in roller skating for nearly seven years. She has also taken special training in ice skating from Shimla in almost -2 degrees and from Leh Ladakh, Kashmir, in nearly -30 degrees.
Avani S Kumar, daughter of Suresh Kumar and Sundari, is a resident of Kadri Vyasa Nagar, and is pursuing her 7th standard from St Theresa School. She has been training from nearly six years. She attended the ice-skating camp last December in Shimla and has won the gold in the event there and got selected to this international event.
The two are the students of Mangalore Roller Skating Club, trained by Mahesh Kumar.
source: http://www.daijiworld.com / DaijiWorld.com / Home> Top Stories / Pics: Ramesh Pandith / by DaijiWorld Media Network – Mangalore (BG) / April 15th, 2013
April 29th, 2013Arts, Culture & Entertainment
Assam Society of Bangalore (ASB) recently organised its 15th annual Bihu celebrations called Bohagi Adoroni 2013 at Kanteerava Indoor Stadium. Of the three Bihu festivals celebrated by the Assamese, the spring festival, Bohag Bihu, is the most important as it marks the beginning of the agricultural season.
The celebration spread over six hours and saw thousands of attendees eagerly participate in Bihu songs and dances, Bihu Konwori competitions and quiz contests. It was a time to celebrate the spirit of the community and they did so with great pomp and show. “Every year, we have a gathering so that the whole community can come together and celebrate.
This year, like in the past, we had a great response,” shares Dipankar Kalita, general secretary of ASB. The evening’s highlight was a performance by popular Assamese duo Dikshu Sarma and Priyanka Bharali. Another popular singer, Gautam Konwar, also performed to an energetic crowd alongside a host of local talents like Prozir and ‘29th Main Band’. Dances from Manipur, Nagaland and even Karnataka’s yakshagana were also on the cards.
“In the last few years, whenever we have performed, the response has been good. For us, it’s more about giving people their own music than the celebration of the New Year. But it’s always a lovely experience to be with the community,” shares Saranga Pani, vocalist of ‘29th Main Band’. Given the occasion, the young and old were dressed in traditional attire and had a great time.
“This was my first Bihu experience in Bangalore and I felt like I was transported to Assam sitting right here. ASB put up a brilliant evening of cultural extravaganza. The Bihu songs and dances were exquisite and the crowd went just berserk when Priyanaka and Dikshu took to the stage. Even the food stalls serving traditional Assamese cuisine was a wonderful touch,” shares Rajesh Kumar, an attendee.
B M Gogoi, who has been associated with the organisation since its inception in 1982, adds, “My family and I have been part of all the Bihu celebrations that have been organised over the years. The entire community comes alive and is brought together and this year too has been no exception. It was a very well organised and extremely enjoyable cultural evening.”
source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> Supplements> Metrolife / DHNS – April 10th, 2013
April 29th, 2013Arts, Culture & Entertainment
City-based journalist Kavya and her talking doll Kishan will be presenting a programme today at 6 pm at the Rotary auditorium near Kamakshi Hospital in Saraswathipuram under the aegis of Sneha Sinchana Vedike.
Daughter of S.R. Mohan Kumar of Police Department and M.N. Latha Mohan, Editor of Sanje Minchu daily in which she is working as a reporter, Kavya has already given more than 40 talking doll shows.
The 18-year-old artiste is a Diploma holder in Computer Applications. She says she was inspired by talking doll artistes Indushri and Suma Rajkumar. She trained under Guruswamy for three months and presented her first experimental show during the anniversary of ‘Naa Kanda Mysore’ newspaper. This was followed by shows during Mane Mane Dasara, Rajyotsava-related programmes and other cultural events. She has also given shows in Chamarajanagar, Kollegal and Nanjangud’s Sindhuvalli.
source: http://www.starofmysore.com / Star of Mysore / Home> General News / April 23rd, 2013
Student scientists set for display talent at International Environment and Sustainability Project Olympiad0
Six class X and one first PUC students from Puttur, about 50 km from here, will represent India in International Environment and Sustainability Project Olympiad (INESPO), an international science competition, to be held at Middleburg in Netherland from June 2 to 7.
The selected students are: Shivaprasad B, Aditya SN, Dhimanth S, Sreekumar, Ashish K, Sindhura Shankar (Sri Ramakrishna High School) and Abhiram PS, (PUC student of Vivekananda PU college). They will form four teams to showcase their science project.
INESPO is a Netherland-based international Olympiad which will be held on a yearly basis. The first Olympiad was held in 2009 for students between 13 and 18 years of age with an aim of spreading awareness about environmental problems among students.
Vasanthi K, science teacher of Sri Ramakrishna High School, told TOI that the students worked hard for over two months to complete their projects. “They submitted their project details online to NESPO and got selected,” she added.
Shivaprasad who has teamed up with Aditya is excited to take part in this competition. Shivaprasad said, “I am extremely happy because I and my friends will be visiting a foreign country for the first time.”
Each participant will need Rs 1 lakh each to take part in this science contest. “We will be happy if someone sponsor us,” he added.
Shivaprasad and Aditya will present a project titled Germicidal Dustbin – a novel way of minimizing clinical pathogens. These students have designed a dustbin equipped with ultra violet lamp. Once the dustbin is closed UV rays emitted from the lamp will kill the pathogens in the dustbin.
Shivaprasad said the dustbin can be used in hospitals to prevent diseases that spread through clinical wastes. This duo has done this project under the guidance of Rekha P D, deputy director of Yenepoya Research Centre and Vasanthi K.
Details of students names and their projects:
Dhimanth S and Sreekumar will present “Development of an effective biocide from Acacia Concinna,” done under the guidance of Vasanthi K.
Ashish K and Abhiram PS will present “Extended applications of pollution free Vitex Nigundo.”
Sindura Shankar will present “A novel product to increase crop production by enriching pollination.”
source: http://www.articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> City> Mangalore / TNN / April 04th, 2013
April 28th, 2013Education
Those youngsters looking to do something other than the hackneyed engineering and medicine courses now have another option open to them — detective sciences.
The maiden batch of a modest nine students graduated from the first academic programme of ‘security and detective sciences’ certified by Mangalore University on Tuesday. The graduates are all set to take up jobs as investigators and detectives. “This is indeed a breakthrough. These nine graduates of BA in Security and Detective Sciences have already been lapped up by private investigative agencies,” said course director MG Hegde. The students were sent to crime scenes and prepared their own case sheets. “A couple of them have even helped the police investigators in drawing up a investigation plan,” he added.
“It was an eight year odyssey that the course has taken to arrive at the fruition level. The curriculum has been drawn by the forensic experts, retired police officials, experts in private investigation agencies and peer reviewed by experts in criminology” said Chandralekha Gowda, principal of the institute.
One of the graduates, Devasweelan, who was was chalking out an investigation plan as a part of his course, told DNA: “I had surfed the net for such a course for hours after my Pre-University education but only Mangalore had it. After the three-year course, I am now confident that I can take up independent investigation on several crimes including murder, suicide, cases connected to narcotics.” The graduates were also given insights into tracking terror elements, corruption and infidelity between couples.
There are more than 300 top investigation and detective companies in India that are constantly on the lookout for academically trained investigators and detectives. “Right now, we have facility only to train small group of graduates, but in the coming days we will expand the facilities and also train more faculty members. We are looking at including more subjects like cyber crimes, financial frauds, various types of terror and anti social crimes,” Hegde said.
source: http://www.dnaindia.com / DNA / Home> Bangalore> Report / by M. Raghuram / Place:Mangalore, Agency:DNA / Thursday, April 04th, 2013