Encounter | Maulik Sailor, Founder Innovify

Being passionate about the idea is great but it can blind people into wanting to achieve perfection.

Startup success stories abound- Billion‐dollar acquisitions, high‐stake exits, consecutive rounds of funding. That is unless you track the world of entrepreneurship and startups for a living. Like we do. Because that is when you see the other side of things. The dose of reality that shatters the rags‐to-riches tales that the world has come to see, nay, expect of entrepreneurship. No sir, that’s far from the complete frame. While those that make it, go on to carve their names in the books of history, it’s a long journey to startup stardom, and a longer one from there.

For a great idea alone, does not a great business make.

The Startup Genome Report Extra on Premature Scaling ‐ a project coauthored by Berkeley & Stanford faculty members analyzed 3,200 high growth web/mobile startups and concluded that 9 of 10 startups will fail.

To know more about Maulik, please listen to his interview on Star Business Podcast

As we take in the reality of this prodigiously skewed number, we chatted up Maulik Sailor, founder of Innovify, a unique product foundry based in the UK about how an investor can evaluate the achievability of a good idea in its early stages and how startups can benefit from working with incubators that go beyond financial backing.

1. What sets Innovify apart from similar product foundries in UK or India? How many startups do you currently work with?

Innovify believes in three simple principles: Ideate, Incubate and Accelerate. We follow structured processes for product ideation, idea validation, as well as prototype testing. With our global reach and expertise across various product domains, we bring to the table a well-executed and balanced approach to evaluating ideas and business models. Our development team is well versed with Mobile Applications, Web framework, Dev Ops, E-Commerce, Web UI / UX and various tech integrations. With this expertise in-house, we are a notch ahead of our competition when it comes to product development. Currently, we work with close to a dozen startups, with a few more in the pipeline.

2. Could you tell us a little more about how the philosophy of Ideate, Incubate, Accelerate translates into an actual business process to help startups?

A majority of start-ups fail during their journey from the ‘idea’ stage to the MVP stage. At Innovify, we ensure that a good idea is implemented into a scalable and widely acceptable business model. With a slew of angel investors and VCs on board, we help startups to acquire the right funding through the right channel. And finally during the acceleration phase, we help startups scale up to the next level.

3. What do you look for before investing in a startup?

Well, this is always a tricky one. At Innovify, we focus on startups that are globally scalable, have speedy ROI, and those that can challenge the existing ecosystem. We thrive for those disruptive ideas that might shape the economy in a completely new way. We do look at the intent and intel of co-founders. A mighty brain with great business skills may score higher, even if a business model may not be too clear at the inception stage.

4. What is your yardstick to judge a successful and sustaining startup in its early stages?

We judge ideas by the innovative quotient and need it caters. At an early stage, it may be difficult to communicate the need. However, focus on innovation and adaptability of a product is something to be looked at. Great ideas get adapted sooner and that’s what defines early success for a startup.

5. In contrast, what are some early signs of failure?

As I said, a majority of startups fail before MVP stage. And I’d put the reason as ‘lack of clarity.’ There is nothing more fascinating than clarity of idea, clarity of vision and clarity of business model. If a startup is struggling with any of the above, I’d be cautious about investing.


6. How do you reach out to entrepreneurs in India/UK?

Innovify regularly announces incubation cycles through various platforms. Our objective is to reach out to tech enthusiasts with innovative ideas, which we drive through various online and offline communities.

Maulik addressing startup entrepreneurs & product people at the Product Talk hosted by Innovify in London

7. You are headquartered in London with a branch office in Ahmedabad. Do you see increasing interest towards entrepreneurship in tier II cities like Ahmedabad?

The technology revolution is a global phenomena and Ahmedabad is no alien city to it. We have seen a growing number of entrepreneurs coming up with new business ideas. Besides, Ahmedabad offers a unique blend of education, culture, lifestyle and growth opportunities that is proving conducive to the startup atmosphere. Not just Ahmedabad but a lot of other tier II cities in India are hit by the startup wave and the Indian economy is rightly set to bloom with a slew of young companies aiming to make it big.


8. What according to you are the tech trends to watch out for?

Location based apps, IOT (internet of things) and cloud-based apps are creating a lot of buzzes. In India, particularly, one should explore opportunities in entertainment, tourism, mythology and IT sectors.

Maulik in a strategy meeting with Vikas & Ruchit, co-founders of Innovify at the Ahmedabad Office

9. What is the future of fund-raising for tech startups?

Over the past few years, investors have shown enormous trust in tech startups in India. Indian startups have shown promising growth as well, which is fueling the positive sentiments of VCs. Innovify is bullish about this sector and these opportunities cannot be missed.

10. Lastly, what’s the most important advice you have to share with startups?

As an entrepreneur, you must have ‘belief’. Believe in your idea, believe in your business model and believe in your team.

Well, that’s Maulik Sailor for you! To know him better, connect with him at: Linkedin | Twitter
What are your views about the topics discussed above? Do share your views in comments below!