Start-Ups and Smoke-Ups

It’s impressive to see the number of start-ups hitting the scene all over India, and its interesting to learn of the hot-spots of such activity in cities including Bangalore. My visit to the energetic lively city in the South includes meeting Jaytirth Ahya who works as a designer for Let’s Venture. This is an online platform that allows startups looking to raise seed/angel money to create investment ready profiles online, and connect to accredited Investors. I meet many people in Bangalore doing just that, having ideas constantly and making them happen. Another thing I keep hearing about is new working spaces being set up in cities to become hubs for creative people and those with enterprising ideas to connect, collaborate and succeed. Jaytirth is also the founder of The Roadtrip Experience, a once a year travel experiment in India that brings together a small select group of dreamers, doers and influencers to go on an adventure trip together allowing collaborations and innovative ideas to surface. I love the energy and passion driving these initiatives and they are happening all over the place, involving arts and crafts, travel and sport, as well as IT and marketing.

My friend Emmanuel Ambe originally from Ethiopia but now living in India for 6 years, currently based in Bangalore works as a writer for Your Story, and is constantly in meetings, interviewing people and attending events, meeting me in different places for coffee, food or at a bar as and when he can. There is so much happening that he needs to cover. Your Story started in 2008 and is India’s no.1 media platform for entrepreneurs, that champions and promotes the entrepreneurial ecosystem in India. Emmanuel himself has an interesting story of coming to India 6 years ago from Africa to study IT. He dropped out and spent most of the 6 years living in Hydrabad, a place he loves, and started his very own start up. He tells me, many people aspire to go to the USA or Europe who are from developing countries, but he does not see the attraction. He loves living in India and during the time we spend together I feel like he is more Indian than me!

I meet many people during my week in Bangalore, most of whom are new friends following the Jagruti Yatra project I recently completed, so have the opportunity to experience the night life of the city. My friends take me to a range of bars and clubs including The Social, Sky and Tao. We have a great time and leave early, as here bars and clubs don’t stay open later than 1am. I find this surprising and a little disappointing, but have to admit we have a great time. Going out in India includes getting the drinks in early, no doubt someone will order some food however late it is. There will be a crazy drive around the city to electronic house beats before getting home, usually whilst speeding(!) and searching for a store selling cigarettes or searching for more food. Mad times! Then a few friends gather in someones place for the after party. More drinks, and then someone rolls a joint to pass around for the next few hours whilst listening to more music, watching videos, jamming with a guitar or just chilling. This is what the young people do in many Indian cities if the clubs and pubs have said good night early. I hear the lads often refer to getting together for a ‘smoke-up’. There is a good energy in Bangalore, great people, great fun and it feels less dirty and chaotic than some other cities. I like it and I’m sure I’ll be back at some point, especially to see some of the lovely friends I now have there.

Jaytirth, Harpreet, Ganesh, Emmanuel and Neha

Jaytirth, Harpreet, Ganesh, Emmanuel and Neha

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