Three final-year computer science engineering students of National Institute of Technology Karnataka (NITK) in Mangaluru decided to skip campus placement this year. Instead, Shubham Badal, Ashish Gupta and Ajeet Lakhani wanted to build a global product on website discovery.
Their start-up CybrHome is a platform where users can discover websites and share them with their friends.
Shubham, founder and Chief Executive Officer of CybrHome, says he had implemented the basic idea of this platform when he was in Std 9. It was a website with a directory of favourite websites, and went on to become quite a hit with his classmates.
So, when he joined the first year of engineering in NITK in 2012, he weighed several options for the name, and finally chose CybrHome. He asked his close friends, Ashish and Ajeet, to join him, and they were eager to jump on board the start-up.
Shubham, who is in the final semester of his course now, says time management got harder with every passing semester as start-up related activities increased.
And while Shubham was working from his hostel room for most part of the entrepreneurial journey, the increase in the number of team members and development of the product made him take space in a facility at the Science and Technology Entrepreneurs’ Park (STEP) at NITK.
Of the 11-member team of CybrHome, Ashish Gupta is co-founder and chief technology officer; and Ajeet Lakhani, the founding engineer and lead developer. The technology team consists of their juniors Vadiraja, Varsha Prabhu, Kavya Sree Bhagavatula, Subhasmita Sahoo and Yuvraj Singh, while Almas Parveen, Agnes Sharan and Navya Prakash form the press and marketing team.
Less than four years old, CybrHome already has many feathers in its cap — it was selected as Microsoft BizSpark start-up in 2014; it was accepted for Facebook’s ‘FbStart’ programme in October 2015. Shubham was among the 25 chosen as Tata First Dot student start-ups.
When asked what comes in the way of most student start-up journeys, he lists three points. “Lack of confidence, weak teams and lack of understanding of the entrepreneurial ecosystem”. According to him, weak teams are those with poor entrepreneurial spirit, low appetite for risk or lack of vision and mission.
The one factor that is important for a student start-up to succeed is support by a family member — Shubham says his family is very supportive of the decisions he makes.
Whatever the case, students should start their entrepreneurial journey early, feels the CEO. However, what they require is perseverance. “Starting up is easy. The hard part is to build it and take it to users,” he says.
So what are the plans for CybrHome?
“The team’s ultimate dream is to create a world-class product, employ high technology and run a high-growth, product-based technology start-up. We ultimately aspire to build something that makes NITKians and the country proud,” says Shubham.