Top 6 High-Flying Startups(Kolkata) by Bengali Entrepreneurs

Bengal STARTUP

West Bengal is undoubtedly popular as the cultural hub of India, but it doesn’t have the best reputation for doing business. Marwaris, Punjabis, and Gujratis are the ‘big cheese’ in the commercial landscape of Bengal.

The above mindset has become a thing of the past now as the startup culture has gained momentum because of the emerging and flourishing startupsby the Bengali youth. Here are a few recent inspiring and interesting startupslist, founded by Bengali Entrepreneurs.

Sweethandi

Talking about West Bengal how can we not talk about food?! Gone are the days when authentic Bengali sweets were an inevitable part of the return journey of the sweet-toothed people visiting the City Of Joy. Founded by Abhirup Banerjee in 2015, much of the well-deserved buzz about Sweethandi comes from the gamut of flavors and combinations made available in a simple mishti, and how it manages to deliver perishable sweets in temperature-controlled boxes at the doorsteps of the mishti  lovers, across the country. The customers have the option to choose from their ready list of Shonk Shondesh, puffed Rice and Jaggery, Langcha, or even order sweets from specific legendary sweet shops around Kolkata such as Mouchak, Ganguram, Nalin Chandra Das, etc, with which Sweethandi has its collaborations. Do checkout this Kolkata-born e-commerce setup and tease your taste buds.

Notebook

The inception of this startup was a result of an active discussion between Achin Bhattacharya & Subhayu Roy about the social evils of the society and how education can help to eradicate it, which led them to travel across the globe to get to the root of education related problems of students, teachers, Universities. This soul searching journey ended up with the realization that digital education has a better scope beyond the local school or tutors. So, they came up with high-quality engaging content by making use of sequential art and graphics, similar to a comic book, which would inspire the natural curiosity of a child and enhance the learning experience. It has implemented best-in-class DRM to restrict piracy. It streams videos through Google Cloud much in the same manner as Youtube. Notebook is an affordable self-learning tool which operates on the Freemium subscription model, considering the average Indian parent’s income. The future looks promising as their big plans include creating content in 10 vernacular languages apart from English, and providing educational aids for dyslexic and visually challenged students.

Drivers4Me

During troubled times like this where the pandemic has led Ola and Uber to be the cause of job loss for so many employees, Drivers4Me has come the rescue by making donations of rations to the families of the drivers as a part of its CSR and collaborating with essential service providers like Medlife, Spencers, BigBasket, who would hire its drivers for transporting medicines, daily groceries etc thus generating enough income to sustain their livelihood. Drivers4Me is an app-based startup with on-demand professional and background verified driver’s rental service which is the brainchild of young Calcuttan techies Prachatos Mitra, Rajarshi Basu, Hillol Barman, Paramatha Saha, Rajarshi Nag and Ronit Ray, founded in 2018. What makes Drivers4Me different from the local “driver-centres” is that the customer no longer has to pay for 5-6 hours of service, when all they need is a driver for minimum 2 hours, with the basic charge being as low as Rs 170 for the first two hours which can come down to even Rs 49 per hour if the hiring is for a longer period. All it needs is to book the driver an hour before the trip and within a few minutes of booking confirmation, the Driver’s profile- license, picture, Adhaar card will display on the app. So, if you don’t know driving or too lazy to drive, worry no more! You can count on Drivers4Me which has already made 60,000 rides since inception with more than 20,000 registered customers within a short period.

Bong360

Now, time for some information on our very own startup Bong360!

The non availability of authentic Bengali items in NCR inspired Prithika Bose and K. Umamaheswaran to conceive Bong360. The company came into existence in 2019, with its birthplace being New Delhi. The startup intends to benefit the probasi (Bengali out of Bengal) the most, by satisfying their nostalgic requirements and longing for the missing authenticity in Bengali products such as fish, meat and other daily grocery essentials. Interestingly, our stock also includes all items necessary for a Bengali Puja aka pujo drobbo and before we forget to mention, we can also arrange for a Pandit to chant mantras for the Puja, if you are ever looking for one. So, practically consider your problem solved in arranging for all and anything Bengali, if you are a resident of other states or any remote place by shopping from our website, which delivers all of the ordered items at Mandi Rate. We plan on becoming a well-known global site in the future someday and need your love and support to take things to that level. Hoping to serve you soon!

Coming back to our list, next up we have is-

Amar Canvas

During his visit to Hong Kong, Rahul Basak, one of the founders of Amar Canvas, witnessed the Art Festival wherein the Westerners truly appreciated art and celebrated their love for it, as opposed to the Indians who do not have the appetite to digest Art as a full time profession and rather choose to limit it as a passion or hobby. This made Rahul Basak and Amit Kumar Mahishya Das, realize the wastage of the untapped potential of artists in India. Founded in 2018, Amar Canvas provides a web platform for the artists to paint their entrepreneurial dreams, and showcase their talent for the world to see by uploading a picture of their artwork along with the price that they wish to sell it for. The interested buyers can get the 100% original product delivered to them straight from the artist’s studio to their home, for a nominal delivery fee. The best part is that the artist can sign up in the online portfolio without any registration fees and be rewarded with 100% profit of the product sold, without paying any commission to the Company. The next time you meet somebody who is trying to make peace with the 9-5 job but Art is their true calling, you know what to do!

Altor

Founded by Shamik Guha, Sayan Tapadar, Muhammad Bilal Shakil, and Anirban Datta Gupta, in 2018, Altor is a unique designed smart helmet that is IoT( Internet of Things) and AI(Artificial Intelligence) powered. It aims at making the lives of the two-wheeler riders safe and efficient by providing intuitive in-vehicle analytics such as the rider’s helmet-wear status, speed, position and other riding behavioral insights to the companies, to detect as well as prevent accidents. They plan on bringing down the number of road traffic casualties and save loss of lives. In case of accidents, the smart helmet will alert the preset emergency contacts about the mishappening and aid the relevant authorities like hospital or insurance company with details of the rider such as medical data, to facilitate the process of treatment or claim, whatever the case maybe. This high-tech protective helmet will be a game-changer in the new era of two-wheeler driven services like delivery, logistics etc as it will enable better fleet management. Altor’s innovative idea has attracted investment from the India’s leading and largest early-stage incubator and accelerator, Venture Catalysts. The founders of Altor claim that they will use the freshly raised funds to enhance its products, establish a clear market, strengthen its customer base, and expand geographically.

Twirl.Store

The idea of Twirl.Store was born out of a moment of utter frustration from her wardrobe which was brimming with unwanted clothes, by the 37-year-old woman entrepreneur Sujata Chatterjee. With socio-environmental objectives, the startup is an initiative to bridge the gap between the consumers with overflowing cupboards and the less fortunate who struggle to find basic clothing. It encourages everybody to contribute anything made of fabric to them, in lieu of being rewarded and incentivized with e-points, which can be redeemed to buy handcrafted clothing, accessories, home décor etc,  on the website, with a distinctive buy-back policy allowing the customers to buy, wear, enjoy and then return the clothing back to them, when they no longer want to repeat it. Being an all-women team, Twirl.Store promotes women empowerment by employing women from different strata of the society, who have a knack for weaving and stitching. The clothes that cannot be upcycled reaches the needy through their monthly donation drives. So if lockdown boredom is getting into your nerves, de-clutter your wardrobe, release the load, earn Twirl points and become the reason behind someone’s happiness.

Bengal has always nurtured independent thinking which is imperative for fostering innovation. Only if we are willing to acknowledge the underlying potential, we can make the state a startup hub in India, which will be in the best interest of wealth creation and employment generation in the country.

Conclusively, the perception of West Bengal and Bengali entrepreneurship needs to be changed. We need to look beyond Mumbai and Bangalore as the only breeding ground for businesses and normalize the entrepreneurial culture in West Bengal as well as amongst Bengalis.

Urvasi Jain

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