The startup ecosystem is continuously evolving and growing in India but every startup founder know that the major challenge they will face during the earlier stages of the company is finding the right mentors, investors and connects,
Connect Club is a networking platform that has been solely designed to make the life of investors as well as startups easier. Founde in 2019, Team Sociobits connected with the Founder of Connect Club, Mr. Nikhil Srivastava to know more about the company.
Team Sociobits: Could you tell us a little about yourself? And how did you ideate Connect Club?
Mr. Nikhil Srivastava: I am a final year engineering student and I have been working on Connect Club for the past two and half years. This is actually my second startup and my I ideated my first startup when I was in the 10th grade, which was a video game console renting platform. I had an extra video game console that I used to rent out to people and this was doing pretty well. But the major problem that I was facing was that I did not know how to escalate it.
As a 10th-grade student, I knew what an incubator was and what an investor was but coming from a service class family, there was no one to guide me. I did not have anyone to tell me how I can convert my idea into a startup or a full-fledged business. That’s when I found a mismatch in the industry and I thought that the startup ecosystem was a very disconnected market where it is difficult for people to network with each other.
When I moved on to pursue my degree in engineering, the thought of doing something about this once again crossed my mind and I finally came up with Connect Club.
“I did not have anyone to tell me how I can convert my idea into a startup or a full-fledged business. That’s when I found a mismatch in the industry”
Team Sociobits: When you pitched the idea of creating Connect Club, what was the first reaction of your friends and family?
Founder: Initially, I got a mixed reaction for my friends, but my family has always been supportive about this. In fact, my family completely supported me and also believed that I can do whatever I wanted to do. My father also offered financial help with this project. Among my friends, there were a set of friends who were very supportive and nice to me, and they also joined me as the co-founding team members. I would also say that Connect Club is Connect Club because of them.
Team Sociobits: Basically, what is Connect Club all about?
Founder: Connect Club is a networking platform for the startup ecosystem where investors, incubators, VCs, and accelerators from all over the world can connect on one networking platform. Like-minded people can connect with each other, share their thoughts, and attend video calls and meetings, so it is a full-fledged networking platform focused on the startup ecosystem.
Team Sociobits: Since 2019, how has your journey with Connect Club been so far? Did you face any challenges in particular?
Founder: My journey began in 2019; I think that challenges are something that every startup faces during their journey and I faced certain challenges too but I got good support from my friends and family so they helped me get over these challenges and also smoothen out my journey.
Team Sociobits: Do you have any competitors? Is there anyone similar to Connect Club? Why do you think startups and investors will choose Connect Club?
Founder: See, there are many platforms that let investors and startups connect with each other, and there are multiple companies that are still doing it. But when it comes to networking, we are one of the first few companies that are doing it.
Also, if you look at the startup ecosystem, it’s a huge market and only in India, around 1000 startups are emerging every day. Especially in India, startups are not just coming from metropolitan cities but also from tier-two and tier-three cities and these startups don’t get the same access or exposure that startups from the cities get. The startups emerging from the metropolitan cities have the access to go to networking events and it is easier to meet investors. So, I am trying to develop a platform where no matter where you are emerging from, you get the same access.
“Especially in India, startups are not just coming from metropolitan cities but also from tier-two and tier-three cities and these startups don’t get the same access or exposure that startups from the cities get.”-Founder of Connect Club
That way, if you are starting from the interiors of India, you can still connect with an investor from anywhere chat with them and network with them. And but obvious, ‘network is the networth’ and by joining Connect Club, you are increasing your net worth.
Team Sociobits: Did COVID-19 had an impact on your startup in any way?
Founder: In a way, the pandemic actually helped us because most of the networking events that were talking place were at a halt or they were converted into an online format because of which, the networking in the startup ecosystem was at a pause. That is when, people started looking at our platform. Though, during the pandemic, we were still at a prototype stage, we started seeing good response from the limited number of users we had.
Team Sociobits: What do you have planned for the future? Do you have any immediate goals set to be achieved this year?
Founder: I aim to be dominating the networking platform of the startup ecosystem and my goal is to have a networking platform emerging from India that could be reached to a global scale. Currently, most of the networking sites that exist are from a foregin country. Indian sites that have a global presence are very limited. And my goal for five years is that I want Connect Club to grow on a level where after five years, if someone says that I have startup, then the other person’s first response should be, ‘what’s your Connect Club like?’
Connect Club wants to make it easier and ultimately upgrade the way startups and investors connect with each other so that funding would be a hassle free job.