The morpheus is going NO WHERE. We are just taking a new (more radical) AVATAAR

Morpheus is the Greek God of Dreams. And Dreams never cease!

The Morpheus was started without any set agenda. It was simply for the joy of growing ourselves by working with smart young entrepreneurs & contributing to the eco-system. Today, The Morpheus is a 6 year old project, that is made up of a strong community of 160+ entrepreneurs called the morpheusgang, who provide non-stop support to each other. Nandini, Sameer and a bunch of good folks have been taking care of the morpheus operations.

The following is an announcement, account of our evolution as people working towards creating a community of good people who want to build, create and be happy.

The journey so far

6 years back in 2008, We (Nandini & Sameer) were at serious crossroads of our professional lives. Our first startup Madhouse was acquired by Seventymm and after spending the required time at Seventymm we had decided to move on. Now, on one hand there were opportunities to launch our next startup with committed seed funding or take on “senior exec” positions with high status / fat salaries. On the other hand we had been spending some time with fresh startup founders. These young founders had amazing amount of passion & energy but lacked the startup experience / network. We would meet them over coffee, listen to what was happening at their startup and engage in an exchange of ideas. We noticed that our levels of happiness were super high during all such meetings and while the founders were learning from us, we were getting an opportunity to learn from all the startups.

A thought popped up, “It will be great if we can just do this for all our life. Work with one startup a day and 5 startups a week. In about 6 months these startups will become independent and we can move ahead to engage with the next set of startups. In return for the engagement we can take small equity”. That thought was truly an inspiration & we just followed the inspiration. There was enough saving from the Seventymm stint to last for 1-2 years, so we went ahead and started working with super young startups for just equity (the first batch included Commonfloor). In a few months this effort was formalized and given a name “The Morpheus – Startup Accelerator”.

We have spent the 6 most happy & fruitful years of our lives at The Morpheus, working with the morpheus gang, a truly amazing community of 160+ founders. We have also been fortunate to have loads of good friends around The Morpheus. We feel truly blessed for being a part of the morpheus gang and the Indian startup eco system.

The Morpheus in numbers

 

 Infographic - PR

Evolving for the future

Evolution is the cause of all progress in the Universe. Just as everything in nature evolves, morpheus & morpheus gang are also evolving. In recent times we have deeply felt the need to accelerate our own evolution and the morpheus team has been receiving many inspirations towards that direction.

  • 6 years ago when morpheus was started, startup ecosystem in India was in its infancy. The support available for fresh / young startup founders was severely lacking. So one of the big needs of the hour then was to provide support to companies in 0-2 years of age.

  • Morpheus’ clear purpose in the beginning was to provide dedicated support to startups in the portfolio during the first 2 years.

  • Over the last 3+ years the startup ecosystem of India has grown at a very rapid pace and become a lot better than what it was 6 years ago.

  • Founders these days are a lot more mature when they get started. Also a 0-2 year old startup has many good sources of support / advice & money. Lots of accelerators, incubators , hackathons, events, demo pitches, blogs, videos and a lot more.

  • This observation led us to realize that the basic need for which our accelerator program was designed, is no longer a big need for the young startups in the indian ecosystem.

  • All these years, we have also been working quite actively with our 2-5 year old companies in the morpheus gang. We have also been spending time with many other friendly companies of various stages outside of the morpheus gang.

  • Through the combined experience of last the 10 years (6 years at morpheus, 1 year at seventymm and 3 years at madhouse) we, at the morpheus, have become aware of many other serious and tough problems that need to be solved at the ecosystem level so that Indian startups can go to the next level and way beyond.

  • We have been trying to work on these issues alongside the accelerator program without as much  progress as we would have liked to make

The Big Question?

Now this was our question to ourselves? Do we continue as it is or do we take these problems head on.

It was deja vu,  we were back to the cross-roads that we were at 6 odd years ago. On one hand we are seen as the first and one of the best accelerators in India, we could continue to ride on that or we could go ahead raise a bigger fund and become a seed / VC fund. On the other hand there was this opportunity to take on the next level of challenges.

We have decided to take the “Red Pill” and make an attempt to evolve ourselves for the future.  We are going to take a shot at tackling some of these next level problems for the present & future of the Indian Startup ecosystem. Will we succeed or not, only time will tell. But we are sure that the morpheus gang will give it a really good shot.

The new avatar of Morpheus

1. Supporting young / fresh startups 

In the past:

  • Morpheus has followed this format : 4 months intensive engagement / 5 L INR investment and lifetime support

Going forward:

  • We are going to bring a new / fresh / better way of supporting young startups. In light of new approach the old one will fade way.

  • We will continue to work with young startups. We will not include batches of 4 months.

  • We will start engagement with a startup at a time when the startup and the morpheus is mutually ready, anytime of the year; for as long as our support is relevant for them.

2. Morpheus gang – the participative Community

In the past:

  • At morpheus we have been working on creating a community of entrepreneurs that helps each other evolve & progress, supports each other and grows with each other.

  • In the last 6 years, 160+ founders have come together to contribute to the community we call the morpheusgang and the belief is “you give to the universe without worrying about a direct return and the universe will surely give you what you truly need”

Going forward:

  • At morpheus we want to take this to the next level, by thinking up ways of ‘opening’ the community to other entrepreneurs who believe in a participative community, thus include more entrepreneurs, who can contribute to and draw from the morpheusgang.

3. Early Stage or Later Stage

In the past:

  • We have been focusing on people who are founders of companies from 0-2 years till date.

  • We have realised that founders in the 0-2 years stage have a lot of ready support available. (as detailed in a section above)

  • Also, our portfolio have now grown and are facing newer challenges, as we work along with them on these challenges, we realise that there is a lot to be addressed here.

Going forward:

  • Hence the widening of focus, while we work with a few selected early stage (0-2years) startups, we will be opening morpheus gang to companies in the next stages, 2-5 years / 5-10 years & across other categories.

4. Criteria of Success of a startup

In the past:

  • Here are the two most common questions which we have been asked:  What is your criteria of success for a company in the morpheus portfolio? How many companies have been successful so far?

  • At morpheus we never had a good answer for these questions: Is it follow funding? Dont think so. Is it revenues? Not sure. Is it number of customer? Nope.

Going forward:

  • We have a clear answer for this question & the answer is “Happiness”.

    • If the founders of a company are truly happy (irrespective of funding / revenues / customers) we believe that is a success. Happy founders means happy teams, happy customers and many more happy people.

    • So if a company it worth 250 crores but the founders are unhappy, for us it is a failure. On the other hand if the company is just 1 person, struggling for 2 years but the founder is happy. Its a success.

  • New morpheus will put highest focus on “happiness” starting with the founders, going into the team and to the customers and add more happiness to the universe.

Morpheus is going NO WHERE

As humans, our dreams never cease! We are hopeless dreamers at the morpheus. And we ain’t going anywhere! The Morpheus, is only widening its focus, becoming more radical with its evolution, morphosis.

We have shared truthfully in this article what we know in our heads so far. Rest is still being figured out, as we get more clarity we will come back and let you guys know. Thanks to all for the love & support.

Team Morpheus!

The Morpheus Podcast: Episode 1

In this week’s episode of The Morpheus Podcast, I speak with Maha, founder of Radio Flote

 

[soundcloud]http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/96133737[/soundcloud]

Health bound – One step at a time.

The Morpheus being the melting pot of Entrepreneurial Spirit, Struggles and Successes we get to interact with lot of Entrepreneurs on a daily basis. The one thing which we get to witness from the cockpit is the Yo-Yo Life of a Tech Entrepreneur(The Yo-Yo Life of a Tech Entrepreneur – A Cautionary Tale), now there is no doubt that the founders are the most passionate people for what they are set out to achieve ……… right? and if that was not the case, why the hell they would be the founders. Well that is both right and the cause for why they show such absolute and singular level of commitment.

Now sometimes the only thing that can stop a founder and his jedi powers from making a dent in the universe is their mortal self, yes! the combination of no sleep, late night food and stress to be always-on can take its toll, so it becomes a more of a strategic move to incorporate the discipline of taking good care of their health and be on top of their game.

 

So getting the insight from some of the founders who seem to have cracked the code :-

“Even the racing cars take pit stops! So take your ‘Strategic Timeouts’ correctly and at right time , get rejuvenated and come back strong“

– Prashant Pansare – Co-Founder – Playerify.com

Super sports analogy(No wonder he founded Playerify), he also goes on to mention his take away from his china trip about how chinese guys practice ‘power naps’, post lunch and how great the benefits are.

“Anxiety – and not just workload – can be a big contributor to stress. Anxiety about not knowing what the future holds, about how you’ll be judged if you fail, etc. This is why it becomes so important to enjoy the journey and focus less on the destination”

- Aashish Gupta – Founder – PlanMy.Travel

He also mentions exercise, meditation and taking time off all work to counter anxiety.

 

“Even when you are high as a kite, you are subjecting your body to stress. In a startup it is particularly difficult to switch off and that is one of the prime reasons for stress and delayed recovery for seemingly routine sickness like viral fever etc.”

- Rishi Kar – Founder/CEO – Learning Outcomes

He says this is another skill set founders have to learn and develop as part of the startup journey and one that should not be neglected.

“It’s like long bike rides. I enjoy long drives and never feel tired during the ride. But once I’m back home and lie down on the bed , I feel like dead meat and sleep for hours. Apparently the mind conceals the stress of the body”

- Srix Sriramkumar – Founder – Watchy.in

 He recommends giving your body more rest and stealing some extra hours to sleep.

“You’re doing an 18 hour shift every day for months at end with absolutely no willingness to compromise on anything at all – since it’s your ‘baby’  - as we entrepreneurs like to call it. And babies poop every other hour, throw up and need attention all day long. And there’s no way for you to take a break from it. And that is going to take a toll on your body, no matter how positively/spiritually you chose to look at it. I think it’s wiser to accept it and have a plan in place to accommodate it in day to day life. That ways you continue to do what you love, and your batteries last longer.”

- Saurabh Mathur – Co-Founder/CEO – Motorpaneer.com

 

Hug-a-startup: The Experience.

Director: This could be the worst disaster NASA’s ever faced.

Gene Kranz: With all due respect, sir, I believe this is gonna be our finest hour.

-      Mission Control, Houston, Apollo 13 Moon Mission

Though we could not land on the moon last weekend, but surely, what happened was (the experience) definitely a thing which has given us all the more reason to conduct the next take-off sooner.

At HAS, our approach towards the event was to attract people who could be potential hires for our portfolio companies and get them talking. Though, we were not able to capitalize fully on the gathering but we’re happy that it was a great get-together of the right set of people.

Out of some 81 invitations we had sent out, Almost 50-55 turned up at the event which started at around 1845 hrs in this beautiful office of Akosha in Okhla.

As a run up to the event, HAS team was debating the ‘right’ format of the event with all the hiring founders, till about 1830hrs on Saturday.  Finally to settle on the ‘Problem-Solving Format’.

We waited a bit for people to trickle in and unwind before kick-starting. It started off with Rishi (Learning Outcomes) discussing his problem of digitizing the answer sheets of school exams for better evaluation. Some really promising answers kept the atmosphere exciting. Following on with Airwoot (Which had a very fine discussion), then iDubba, iimjobs and One52.

We wanted founders to use the candidates as a collective pool of experience to input new ideas/ perspectives for our start-ups. Founders were open, technical and frank about problems they were facing.  For candidates, it was a chance to get into the details of understanding real-time challenges of the startups, and to approach founders armed with knowledge of their business needs / interests.

As we jogged along discussing problems intensely, the format failed to keep the attention span of all attendees. (We had failed to consider the offline attention span of our consumers) This prompted us to change the format to an informal interaction session when we saw our audiences unsettled. But, this experience gave us a lot of food for thought, which we’re improvising on for the next event.

After about an hour and a half, we moved on to the rooftop for casual networking. This was where engagements happened. People were meeting their favorite founders and vice-versa. We realized that this engagement could have been much better if the problem-discussion round was much more planned and channelized.

Nevertheless, it was a well executed experiment for us, which gave us a better view of what more could have been done with this kind of event. Being a first timer, we are happy about the traction we have achieved and the word-of-mouth has been immensely successful.

So, for us, the metric of success was the quality of people, than quantity. Founders are already connecting with people and vice-versa.

We have learnt a lot from this event and we hope to make the next event more productive with all the learning we have got.

At The Morpheus, we will always keep striving to help our portfolio in their every endeavor. As far as hiring is concerned, we will soon be back with second event. This time, More Hugs and More Productivity.

If you are one of the participants, please take some time to fill this feedback form.

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Love & Hugs

The Morpheus

Gearing up for a moonshot: Airwoot transforms how companies engage consumers


We think the digital technology exists today to fundamentally change how companies and consumer interact with each other. We believe that a few great people can make a big difference  -  Saurabh, Founder, Airwoot (Memetic Labs)

 

The beginning

At first, we mined consumer buying intentions from twitter to predict spending. But, our data showed more consumers were complaining about the product than endorsing it. We realized that there was no tool out there to help international brands handle social engagement.

Today, we’re building Airwoot: the smartest support helpdesk by re-thinking customer support, enterprising social and making analytics actionable in real-time.

On a typical day

You can find us at 91springboard – a warehouse turned into a cool co-working space in Delhi filled with great energy. We work in sprints, which are 7 days long tasks, to stay focused and achieve our targets. We take team lunch very seriously – it’s where we smash crazy ideas at each other discussing art, politics, philosophy and technology.

What we’re upto?

We successfully launched Barometer, a real-time infographic which gauges brands on social customer support performance. We now serve top e-commerce brands as anchor customers. We are geared for the product launch in May.

With Airwoot, we have just started scratching the surface in re-shaping customer support and we have tons of ideas lined up for next months and years to come.

We’re looking for

Passionate people who would like to join our mission to bring radical design changes in our lives with the use of technology. You’ll work with a small team of data scientists and hackers striving to develop products that deliver high performance and better predictive ability – we’re aiming for a moonshot!

Tags: backbone.js, html5, machine learning, natural language processing.

 

Life at Airwoot…

  

  

Predictive, real-time data technology will radically change lives. Curious? Then why don’t you come over on 27th April to meet Saurabh, Prabhat & the Airwoot team, interact with them and perhaps Hug them?

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Know more about Hug-a-Startup here

Register for the event here

MyFruitChaat: Hits the spot in Delhi & inspires a new look for food chains

 

Our offerings present an healthy and yummy alternative for a snack/light meal. We are confident of creating next big chain of food outlets out of it  - Apoorva, Founder, MyFruitChaat

The opportunity

In the world full of pizzas, burgers and fried chicken, we looked for a delicious and healthy snack which would have no guilty feeling and yet be incredibly tempting.  Hence MFC (MyFruitChaat) was born.

Where we are heading

We want to open a chain of retail outlets and small mobile carts in busy markets, food courts and malls. Our customers can pick can choose their fruits which are already sliced n’ diced, and choose their sauces to make their bowl of FruitChaat.

Where we are now

We started off through a ‘deliver only’ store in Gurgaon (Cyber City).We also have couple of carts operating in South Delhi markets. We get excited about developing new foods that people will crave (without guilt!). We have introduced FruitCream, FruitCustards and Frozerts to our product line.

We’re looking for

Someone who has ‘been there, done that’  - who enjoys people, incidents, situations as they come. Eighty percent of the time, we are dealing with people. Ideally, you’ve been in the market and dealt with plethora of funny people in your past.

 

Does the opportunity to scale up a proven food treat excite you? Then why don’t you come over on 27th April to meet Apoorva, interact with the MyFruitChaat team and perhaps Hug them?

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Know more about Hug-a-Startup here

Register for the event here

Learning Outcomes wants you! Join the fight for better performing schools in India

Learning Outcomes was something I did during my layovers enroute home – Rishi, Founder, Learning Outcomes

The beginning

Learning Outcomes started out as an experiment. However, the response to the MVP and the potential for creating real impact convinced me to quit my job and build a product that re-imagines school assessments.

A defining moment

All the need-gap analysis could have never prepared us for the challenge of building our business – we have had to make up imaginary kids, fight with security guards and resort to using lines like “I am like your son only” to secure a meeting with the school principals. After dramatic mornings, we come back to create India’s outcomes based reporting suite using R/Python/Django/Android/MongoDB /MySQL/VBA/Excel.

What we’re upto?

We work with schools in Pune, Nashik, Bangalore and expanding to Delhi and Mumbai. We are helping the premier educational board in India on a custom assignment & started an extremely presitgious scholarship evaluation assignment.

Our team personality?

We’re extremely sensitive towards our customers. We are fun, flexible and as laid back as a growing start up can afford to be! We don’t tolerate nonsense. We work hard. We promise there will be no bullshit team building activities for the heck of it.

We’re looking for

People who have good mathematical aptitude and are willing to get their hands dirty. We love to try out our ideas instead of ‘brainstorming’. We are hiring
1: Android Application developers (Specialist Role)
2: Business and Operations Analyst(Generalist Role)

Deets here: http://blog.learning-outcomes.com

 

Meet some of the guys behind Learning Outcomes… 

  

Do have the skills to help design outcome based reporting for Indian schools? Then why don’t you come over on 27th April to meet Rishi & the Learning Outcomes team, interact with them and perhaps Hug them?

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Know more about Hug-a-Startup here

Register for the event here

Cardback helps Delhi, Mumbai & B’lore folks create more value in their wallets



It’s not just about the cards you hold. It’s also about how you pay with them! -  Nikhil, Founder, Cardback

 

The beginning

We paid too much at a café, unaware that we were entitled to free cups of coffee on one of our credit cards. We realized that people are  spending money, but cannot check in real-time what payment & saving options exist while they shop. Cardback lets you see offers across all credit, debit, pre-paid & loyalty cards on your phone.

A defining moment

Early on, a startup veteran told us Cardback had no potential as the entire sector is on a decline. This made us re-think our beliefs. We did intense market research, spoke to banks & potential users. We realized we were going in the right direction and launched our app.

What we’re upto?

Cardback now hosts 75-80% offers for the top five banks’ cards in Delhi, close to 50% for Mumbai and Bangalore, and we’re rapidly expanding. A new feature,  Cardback Suggests, saw a 300% increase in hits on our blog last week. We will revamp our app and extend it beyond Android.  Our vision: Cardback is available to anyone who’s holding even a single card, irrespective of phone type.

Our team personality

We are inherently nomadic, love outings & can work anywhere – a car, metro, train, plane. We believe in 150% sincerity, dedication, and open communication.

We’re looking for

Somebody who can dive into whatever comes their way. You are not afraid of donning multiple hats at a time. Being crazy about plastic money is a bonus :-)

 

Life at Cardback…

  

 

Does changing how people shop using cards appeal to you? Then why don’t you come over on 27th April to meet the Cardback team, interact with them and perhaps Hug them?

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Know more about Hug-a-Startup here

Register for the event here

One52 poised to expand a world-class adaptive learning engine – tech rockstars wanted!

We want students preparing for competitive exams to get targeted practice to save time and improve faster. That’s how we thought of building One52 - Deepak, Founder, One52

The beginning

Competitive exam models are evolving. We believe that a “one size fit all” approach to training for entrance exams (GMAT, CAT and others) doesn’t work.  So we created a study platform based on a smart algorithm that continuously adapts to each student.

A ‘smart algorithm’? ‘Adaptive learning’? Huh?

Our students prepare better for competitive exams because we use Item Response Theory to help identify a student’s true ability in different learning areas. Our Adaptive Recommendation Engine fast-tracks the learning process, by adapting a student’s study plan based on their learning history.  Our algorithms have been scientifically designed and refined by test takers and experts over time.

What we’re upto?

Right now, we have 2200+ users (last 500 users in less than a month);administered 40,000+ questions; and we’re seeing lots of positive traction in the market.

We are excited to introduce psychometric testing into the engine to enhance our assessment solutions. We will also build a brand that recognizes One52 as a world class assessment engine.

We’re looking for

A technology rockstar to help our one man army of developers. One52 is based on a .NET platform and uses the ‘R Project’ for statistical calculations. People with a penchant for marketing, brand building and unique ideas should also stay in touch.

 

Meet Deepak Nanwani & Rohit Gulati from One52…

     

Want to work with adaptive learning & assessment platforms? Then why don’t you come over on 27th April to meet Deepak & Rohit, interact with them and perhaps Hug them?

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Know more about Hug-a-Startup here

Register for the event here

CvBhejo via mobile phone?! Help link jobseekers + SMBs in small town India

 

You go through the highs and lows of educating all stakeholders on what’s possible – job seekers, College Heads / Directors, and SMBs. When you face all this during a day, you surely know, that you are on the right track and solving a highly complex but necessary problem - Nikhilesh, Founder, CvBhejo

The beginning

Before CvBhejo, I founded an NGO in Pune to teach slum children and a theater group in Hyderabad. Now, my vision is to  redefine how recruitment is done in small cities.

Why CvBhejo?

I saw that SMBs in small cities need skilled people but can’t afford platforms to recruit effectively.  It’s also difficult to contact job seekers via internet. Only 3 of potentially 10 crore job seekers in regional areas are listed in current databases. CvBhejo is India’s first mobile-based platform to help job-seekers, colleges & employers recruit effectively.

Typical day in the office

We pitch to prospects from newspapers; build partnerships with colleges, counsel job seekers, and sell to SMBs. We quickly realized it’s tough to sell anything… but tougher to sell to an SMB, and toughest of all, to sell to a small city SMB.

What we’re upto?

CvBhejo is used by 42K job seekers,  900 recruiters, and partners with 65 colleges. We have 5500+ jobs with notable clients like IDBI Intech, PVR Cinemas, India Infoline, Idea Cellular & others. Based in Rajasthan, we grew to six cities. We plan to focus on Jaipur.

We are looking for

Somebody who doesn’t want to fit into a particular role and is happy to work in Jaipur. You need to have the attitude ‘I will figure it out (with some expletives)’.

 

Life at CvBhejo…


Want to create a social impact by using mobile technology in regional areas and giving people jobs? Then why don’t you come over on 27th April to meet Nikhilesh & his team, interact with them and perhaps Hug them?

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Know more about Hug-a-Startup here

Register for the event here