I Believe in Magic

It is said that there are only two ways to live life. One, as if everything in life is magical. Two, as if nothing is. I guess from the above title you know which way i choose to live. Now I am not a hopeless romantic. I am logical person who choose a life of entrepreneurship. Now, how can someone who advocates logical thinking and entrepreneurship believe in Magic? I will get to that shortly.

Its been close to two years since the Coimbatore startup community started actively shaping up. Ironically it all started with an aptly titled movie meetup… “Velai Illa Pattadari (VIP)” the story of a Young man fighting the society that wants to push him into the rat race and at the same time fighting to make a mark for himself in the world. What started with this small team is now a 200 entrepreneur strong community from a wide array of fields in the city.

Coimbatore has a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem built on Mutual respect, Peer to Peer learning and knowledge sharing.

The monthly meetups and talks have been inspiring and have been the launch pad for various startups, initiatives and Partnerships. We have no lesser than 30 members every month participating with a good mix of new participants every time. Meanwhile a few of us techies banded together to launch a platform for Tech Startups and called it “Kovai Techstart”

Techstart along with TIE organizes Kovais largest hackathon to date, the Kovai Techathon a 30 hour long gala hackathon . It was a spectacular success and it would not have been possible without the support of this strong community. Entrepreneurs, Professionals and various organization’s banded together to pull it off. This event put the spotlight on new age entrepreneurship in Coimbatore. Since then support and recognition for the community and the resolve of the community itself has risen. One problem we noticed at the hackathon was that companies were badly in need of resources and some even utilized the hackathon to scout for young talent. We realized that startups in Coimbatore were losing talent to MNCs and larger companies. We understood that to look for the best apples, we should not be searching at the bottom of the barrel, rather pluck it straight from the tree. About 15+ startups organized a joint Hiring drive in which 50 offers were given out. This placement drive in itself is another great example of co operation and peer to peer support.

It was evident that the success of this community was not only noticed inside Coimbatore, but the national startup scene was looking at us. It all started with the Launch of Native Angel Network (NAN) a network of Angel Investors focused on investment in tier II and tier III cities. Then the Bangalore based Unitus Seed fund appointed a scout for the region. PayUMoney, one of Indias premier Payment solution provider launched an initiative to support local startups. The recently concluded Startup Payanam had participants not only from Coimbatore , but also as far away as Madurai, Karur, Erode and Pollachi. All these participants were introduced to the Coimbatore ecosystem and the uniqueness of its startups i.e) Strong affinity to Bootstrap, Focusing on Unit Economics, Culture and more over building business that last a life time, not just to exit.

Behind all of this was just the love and passion to see Coimbatore transform into a Startups destination shared by all of us. Now I would love to quote another line I love from the movie Om Shanthi Om

“ Agar tum kuch bhi haasil karna chahtey ho toh saari kaynat usey haasil karne mein lag jaati hain “

Loosely translated as

“When you love something badly enough, the entire universe conspires to give it to you"

What does that line signify to me? Does that mean I believe in magic and miracles? All you have to do is love and the universe will take care of the rest for you? Live your life counting on Magic to transform your life?

No… To me it means, that when you really love something, love it will all your heart and soul you will start doing things. You will start doing the right things to attain that love of your life. Because losing it is not an option. Everything you do from that moment on will be focused toward your goal and that will help you attain it.

The success story of the Coimbatore startup community is one such magical story. When a few of us started to build a community we started doing it with our heart and soul. As a result we worked with the best people, the best teams and best organization to achieve our goal. We made sure that everything the community was part of shared our belief in a common good for Coimbatore. As an example, it is not secret that investment firms arrived at Coimbatore, because Techathon gave them the confidence that there was possibility of a Deal Pipleline in Coimbatore .What started as an informal Saturday gathering has given raise to umpteen number of events a month today that it is impossible to keep track. A number of Startups clubs and organization’s want to open a chapter in Coimbatore.

This was the universe conspiring to make it happen for Coimbatore. If this is not magic…then what is?

I don’t believe in giving gyan. I am not an expert in such things. I barely have a success story behind me. But In closing I would love to leave this message for us, entrepreneurs from Coimbatore. There are various schools of thought, various business models, various mantras on how to build a successful startup. But I believe in this simple approach. Love what you do with all your heart. The universe will take care of the magic.

Arvind Subramaniam