Conquest: Building India’s First Student-Run Startup Launchpad

Rahul Chhabra
Feb 19, 2018 · 4 min read

It’s insanely difficult to build a startup. Conceive an idea, find the first person to pay for it, get people to help you build it, get more customers, raise more money, hire more people and continue making something that people want.

The only way to succeed is to be exceptionally correct while doing it all, everything for the first time. Yet, the only way to push the human race forward is to have enterprising small groups of people reject the status quo and build the future.

Doing something new and being right is hard. Doing something new while risking being wrong is a lot harder. In this magical moment of hardship of giving birth to innovation, we stand by the crazy ones who dare to change the world, the ones who love building and creating just for the fun of it.

Conquest is on a mission to enable founders, to catalyse innovation and to assist creation.

What We Do

We stepped into the shoes of an early-stage first-time founder. Then, listed down everything that could be made easy in this world for that founder and just built all of it.

We provide a six-week long fully-sponsored summer mentorship program at Bangalore to ten early age startups from all across the country. We give them a great place to live and work together, advice from people who have founded great companies themselves and the people who are leaders in their field.

The goal of the program is to help the best founders build great businesses and raise money. The ten startups will stay and work together in Bangalore and we will hold weekly Mentoring Lunches with about five mentors who are founders who have built great companies in the past.

Lunches begin with all startups telling everyone what all they accomplished in the previous week and the problems they are facing. After that, all the mentors talk about their experiences from when they were at similar stages, faced similar problems and the solutions they could advise with the wisdom of their hindsight.

This is followed by the delicious Sunday Lunch accompanied with chit chat and sharing ideas. Then, the large group of mentors and startups breaks off into smaller groups for individual mentoring which could involve brainstorming on a whiteboard with mentors or them going through codebases or designs of the startups together.

All these startups are also connected online with industry experts in various domains from customer acquisition to legal help. They can request an online mentoring session with a mentor of their choice over a video call throughout the program whenever required.

After this period of six weeks of intense product development, we give all startups about two weeks to prepare for the Grand Finale along with VCs, investors and other founders who’ve raised recently. Finally, after these two weeks, the ten startups get to pitch themselves before India’s top investors and media houses.

We do a bit more. But that’s a fair share of what we do at the core. We help the best founders build great business and raise money.

What Else Do We Do?

We bring the startup ecosystem together. Startups, Mentors, Investors, Developers, Experienced Founders, all come together at Conquest.

  1. Conquest Mentoring Sessions: From among all the startups that register with us, we choose Top 50 and call them for a day-long mentoring session in Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai with industry stalwarts in Tech, Customer Acquisition, Fundraising and so on.
  2. Conquest Community: It connects startups, mentors and investors across Conquest editions. Brings alive discussion, intros and advice among the members.
  3. Conquest Hiring Platform: This gives an opportunity to our Campus Ambassadors, College E-Cell Partners and Developers to get a chance to work with one of the previous Conquest Finalists.
  4. Conquest Academy: Building a repository of great advice to first time founders on how to find the right cofounders to how to find the product-market fit.
  5. Conquest Meetups: We also, regularly hold meetups/hackathons with mentors, founders and developers.

What Startups Are We Looking For?

We know it’s hard for startups to disrupt their daily operations, leave their already setup workspaces, families, comfortable homes and move into a new place. Despite making the transition really smooth and valuable, we realize we’re asking startups for a lot.

And to justify that investment, we have built a distraction-free, hassle-free, high growth environment for founders who really, really care about the companies they are building, who are ready to leave back every other thing and single mindedly focus on building their companies.

We have ourselves learnt that the only way to be significant in the startup ecosystem is to build something really valuable. And that transactions of high value require high investments. The startups we are looking for at Conquest are the ones who are ready to make that investment.

Does it even matter?

We don’t know whether it helps us make a dent in the universe or even a tiny difference in India’s startup ecosystem. But as long as we are immersed and consumed by the idea of making things better, building stuff that people care about, having the right values and doing everything really well, that is all that matters.

Now, let’s do it.

Check out more details on the Conquest website:

Rahul Chhabra

Written by

Startups, code, products, great art and a bit of adventure.



Conquest, BITS Pilani is India's first student-run startup launchpad for early age startups. We hold a month long fully-sponsored and residential startup mentoring program for ten startups. In order to help best founders build great business and raise money.

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