Leverage key Indian startup online communities

What are some of the interesting online communities to follow in the Indian startup industry? Here's a look at a few of the popular ones and why you should join them.
Written by Srinivas Kulkarni, Contributor

I wrote a blog a couple of weeks ago about how to be a better community evangelist for your product startup. Well, one of the key things I wrote about in that blog was about how participation in various online and offline communities and how that will help you in terms of how that will help you in terms of building a better network as a community evangelist.

Here I'll take a look at some of the interesting online communities within the Indian startup ecosystem where you can actively participate to:

  1. Enhance learning of their own
  2. Provide or add value to the startup ecosystem
  3. Network with likeminded folks who are entrepreneurs as well as executioners

Overall it is important that, as a person in the startup ecosystem you should make your brand presence felt as an individual. Not only that, it should be a great opportunity for you to learn especially if you are new to the industry and want to know the who's who and interact as well as learn from them. Also note, that some of these online communities have offline presence and it always helps to mix both of it especially if you have one within your city.

Of course there are plenty of groups and communities that will help you identify, network or hire and at the same time talk about your product and get insights on various aspects within the Indian startup ecosystem, But you have to ensure that you maintain a proper balance and adhere to the guidelines that'll help you interact and participate better in these communities.

By adhering to guidelines I don't mean, just the policies and guidelines of the startup communities. What I want to say is how you make that difference in terms of connecting with people and be that change agent for your startup. Maybe as a product manager, marketer, community evangelist or as the founder of the startup yourself.

So here's a look at a few interesting groups ands communities within the Indian Startup ecosystem:

A. Headstart Network

Headstart 1

They have various groups on Facebook, Google Groups and LinkedIn. But being one of the earliest communities in the startup ecosystem you will find a lot of members from the startup community who have been part of it for a while and of course a lot of new members who have just joined the community too. From Inviting developers, designers to contact card providers.
From sharing office spaces to specific contacts from various verticals you'll find a lot of threads in various groups across platforms of Headstart network. Very recently, Headstart also started hosting Hackerspace Hackathons, as mentioned on their blog. These events are quite a treat especially in Mumbai where hackathons aren't that common as opposed to Bangalore.

Headstart.in is also the group that hosts Startup Saturday in different cities of India. So of course, while you communicate with the community through its various social channels, it's also a good idea to attend Startup Saturdays. They happen on the second saturday of every month in various cities such as Bangalore, Pune, Kochi, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Gurgaon, Kolkata and even Goa and Navi Mumbai.
Head there especially if you are new and want to network with them and it's always a good idea to know who the people are if you are a member of these communities online:

  1. Headstart Network - Google Group -- 6,000+ members
  2. Headstart Network - Facebook Group -- 4,500+ members
  3. Headstart Network - LinkedIn Group -- 1,800+ members

B. Startup Saturday Groups


As part of the startup groups, folks who meet up over Startup Saturday also have various groups on Facebook and members there are pretty active there too. Also of course, if you are part of the google groups of Headstart.in you should be able to connect and interact there as well.

C. Hackerstreet.in

Yes, for those who don't know yet, Hackerstreet is certainly similar to Hacker News. But it has a lot of Indian hackers and product builders as part of the community. Certainly it's nothing overly inspirational as a product, but over the years it has built itself as a good Q&A thread based forum or discussion group. At the same time a great way to interact, build, learn and network with innovators across the startup ecosystem in India. So if you have any queries within the Indian startup community, fire away. This is the place where you'll find a lot of folks active at the same time you'll be able to interact with them on a one-one level.

D. NextBigCommunity (Formerly Pluggd.in Forum)

forum.nextbigwhat.com which was formerly the Pluggd.in forum, is also one of the quite older communities in the Indian startup community. It certainly has various threads and posts, including startup ideas, specific threads on design UI/UX, with various categories on specific resources on how-to's, technology, support functions, research, hacks and tricks etc.

E. OpenCoffeeClub.in

Open Coffee Club

Those who have been in the startup industry for a while know about Open Coffee Club for for Internet entrepreneurs in London opened by Saul Klein, one of the founders of Skype.
India also has its OpenCoffeeClub.in which essentially collaborates on various aspects of startups such as peer support for technical problems, startup infrastructures, networking for hiring and recruiting, post or seek funding opportunities and etc. However, it also further bifurcates within Google groups and other communities of OpenCoffeeClub.in which are city specific, e.g. Pune, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai have different pages or google groups with their respective members.

But overall, this community isn't that active based on the threads within the groups and forums, still worth a try from the perspective of being updated. Would make sense for you to sign up for their list or join their google groups so that you don't miss out on any updates.

F. Quora

In my article last week I've already outlined a bunch of startup India topics on Quora which cover various groups and people who are part of a great community within Indian startups on Quora. I'd certainly like to say, that being part of those groups would give you great insights on the ecosystem and of course opportunity to learn and connect overall.
Some of the top topics are these:

  1. Startups in Bangalore
  2. Startups in Pune
  3. Startups in Mumbai
  4. Startups in New Delhi
  5. Startups in Hyderabad
  6. Startups in Chennai
  7. Startups in Kolkatta
  8. Venture Capital in India
  9. Entrepreneurship in India
  10. Indian Entrepreneurs

G. LinkedIn Groups

A bunch of groups on LinkedIn that would also make good especially if you want to read up what's happening within the startup community and probably interact at a more direct level. These are some of those groups that might be useful to you.

  1. Startup Network India
  2. SMEs & Startups India
  3. Indian Startups
  4. Indian Web Startups
  5. Headstart Network

If you think there are some other vibrant communities that could be part of this list, I would love to hear from you.

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