17 Nov 2017 21:18 IST

‘Fundability, not funding, a major problem for start-ups today'

Sound business model largely absent, says Subhrangshu Sanyal, CEO, IIM-C Innovation Park

A majority of the start-ups that are coming up nowadays lack a solid business model, says Subhrangshu Sanyal, CEO, IIM Calcutta Innovation Park.

“Funding is not an issue, it is fundability. The absence of a solid business model is the reason why start-ups need to be mentored,” Sanyal told BusinessLine on the sidelines of a seminar on ‘Start-up Pad 2017’ organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce here on Friday.

A number of start-ups emerge as ‘me-too’ models, motivated by success of e-commerce entities such as Flipkart, Snapdeal and Paytm, among others.

“Encouraged by these companies and motivated by the funding these start-ups secured, new ones merely copy the business model. Hence they do not see success,” he said.

However, niche start-ups — aimed at solving problems in the areas of healthcare, agriculture and sustainable living — seem to find some takers.

IIMC: Knowledge partner

According to Sanyal, IIM Calcutta, is working towards promoting entrepreneurship as a career option and developing the required ecosystem through mentorship programmes.

The institute works as a knowledge partner in West Bengal, Sikkim and Mizoram providing requisite support that includes seed funding and mentorship.

“We conducted a State-level business competition in Mizoram. We got 300 business plans that focused on the issues or problems being faced by the local community in these areas,” he said.

IIM-C is also working through its partners in Assam, Bihar and Jharkhand.

“The East and North-East are very rich in natural resources and skills. Solutions should be designed keeping these resources in mind and focusing on areas such as education, healthcare and agriculture,” he pointed out.

Smart Fifty

IIM-C Innovation Park, in association with the Department of Science and Technology, has launched an innovation hunt project — Smart Fifty — to identify and fund 50 start-ups targeted at socio-economic transformation. These will get an assured funding of ₹4 lakh each and access to dedicated mentoring.

The contest will follow a multi-stage process to identify promising entrepreneurs with viable plans in areas of agriculture, healthcare, sustainability, learning, finance and living.