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Silicon Valley visit inspires student entrepreneurs


Kochi: For the five student entrepreneurs from Kerala, who are back after a visit to the Silicon Valley, it was a dream come true.

The five student entrepreneurs incubating their companies at the Kochi Startup Village are still to come to grips with the excitement of spending a couple of week at the Valley.

Aravind Sanjeev never thought that his dream company Scully Helmets would be operating out of one bench and four chairs at Silicon valley in California.

For friend and fellow entrepreneur Vijith Padmanabhan, the fact that the multi-billion mobile app company Evernote has expressed interest in associating with his modest Dolojo Labs Pvt Ltd is yet to sink in.

Fellow entrepreneurs Akash Mathew, Nithin George Charuvila, and Jibin Jose excitedly spoke about their meeting with legendary Silicon valley figures like Orkut Buyukkokten and Ron Conway.

Arvind Sanjeev, Jibin Jose, Vijith Padmanabhan, Akash Mathew, and Nithin George Charuvila were the first five winners of the maiden annual SV Square project of the Kerala Government. SV square was officially rolled out by Startup Village on January 30, last year.

The objective of the initiative is to provide the brightest student entrepreneurs the exposure to the renowned entrepreneurial culture of the Silicon Valley and eventually enable them replicate the success back home.

After their return, the young entrepreneurs narrted their success stories and the Silicon Valley experience before the State Cabinet meeting held at Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.

For the five entrepreneurs the two-week long trip seems to have opened up a world of professional opportunities besides inculcating in them the belief that they could soon convert Kerala in to a cradle of global technology revolution along the lines of Silicon Valley.

Aravind Sanjeev, the founder of ARS Devices, told reporters here said that watching his dream company Scully Helmets operating out of a narrow space in the valley was an all together different experience.

'I was happy as we also work in a similar style out of the Kochi Startup Village. The trip instilled the confidence that students in Kerala could also re-write the rules and become successful entrepreneurs', he said.

Vijith Padmanabhan, who co-founded Dolojo Labs Pvt Ltd when he was 19, pointed out that Evernote, a billion-dollar mobile app operator, has evinced keen interest in partnering with his startup firm.

The youngsters company develops applications to help people connect and interact online, personally, socially and economically.

Nithin George Charuvila, co-founder and CEO of QPlay Tech Pvt Ltd, said that they could visit renowned companies like Google, Dropbox and Facebook as part of the Silicon Valley trip. 'We could also not forget walking nearby the residence of Facebook founder Mark Zuckeburg and interacting with Orkut Buyukkokten, the founder of Orkut. I feel strongly that young entrepreneurs here can do it bigger and better than whats happening in the Valley, he said.

Akash Mathew, the CEO and Co-founder of CIED Technologies Pvt Ltd, said the trip helped them in opening up the second leg of funding for their various start-up initiatives. 'We could hold discussions with renowned companies most of which are headed by Indians on how to mobilize funds for companies in the Startup Village', he said.

Jibin Jose, co-founder of QEdge Code Studios and a final year B. Tech student, said young entrepreneurs here could revolutionise the start up culture once they are able to get the infrastructure available in the Silicon valley here in three to four years.

Sijo Kuruvila George, Chief Executive Officer, Startup Village, who led the delegation to the Silicon Valley, said the visit gifted the young entrepreneurs a diverse experience.

'Besides visiting companies, the team held investor and mentor meetings. The youngsters also had the rare chance to enter the Cabinet room and share and interact with the Chief Minister and other Ministers on their valley experience', he said.


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