UNCOVERING INDIA’S NEXTBIGTWATS – VIJAY ANAND AKA THE STARTUP GUY

Most people will agree that the startup scene in India is blooming – never before has there been more interest, capital or attention in startups as there is today.

One of the unfortunate side-effects of this burgeoning scene is that it attracts all kinds of fakers and gold-diggers who see it as a ripe market for picking off and ribbing gullible folks who don’t know better.

While most folks within the startup ecosystem know the facts about such worthies, this is rarely aired in public – people opt to just remain silent rather than take on these folks…until now.

This is the first of a series of posts that will highlight and expose India’s NextBigTwats so that they cannot peddle their trade and take gullible newbies for a ride as they have been doing thus far.

As this story is being penned by an anonymous handle, it is but natural that questions will be asked about our own motives? Are these posts being written with some vested agenda or personal vendetta in mind? To dispel any such doubts, we will only use facts that can be publicly available and verified that the discussion is limited to the merits of these facts rather than the motives of the author.

The first twat that we would like to throw some light on is the biggest of them all – VIJAY ANAND aka THE STARTUP GUY.

 

CLAIMS AND CLAIM TO FAME

 

Vijay is a standard fixture in many startup conferences and events – he is widely seen as and known as “The Startup Guy” – a self-adopted moniker that underlines his self-professed position of being a serial entrepreneur and startup veteran.

Specifically, Vijay claims that he is the following:

  1. Serial entrepreneur
  2. Angel investor
  3. Visionary software engineer
  4. Expert on funding

 

Let us examine these claims in a bit more detail:

VIJAY ANAND – THE SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR

Vijay has often claimed – and the media has faithfully parroted – that he is a serial entrepreneur: a startup veteran who has started and sold multiple startups in India and around the world starting off as a child prodigy who started and sold his company when he was still a student.

He is generally reluctant to provide specifics about any of these companies and for a long while, no one actually knew even the names of these companies, much less the details around their rumored exits.

A little bit of research throws up stories where these entities have been named (by Vijay himself as part of his profile blurb for the startup events where he holds court – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytWEmqXkdM8 ).

The names of the three companies that Vijay claims that he founded and sold are as follows:

In India: CompuWorld Software Solutions and, NullScape Softwares

In Ottawa, Canada: LeadStep Technologies

Let us try to learn more about these companies.

Firstly, let’s look at the Indian companies:

Nullscape Softwares

There are zero traces of this company on the Internet.

Even a Google search throws up no results other than Vijay’s claims of having founded a company with this name.

A search on the Registrar of Companies also throws up zero results.

As far as one can tell, there was never any company with this name that had any sort of formal operations.

CompuWorld Software Solutions

Wonder of wonders, a Google search actually returns results with a company with a similar name.

But it seems to be a small Coimbatore-based entity that sells computers – there is no mention of Vijay’s name in any of the pages that describes this company and is unlikely to be the same company that Vijay claims to have founded (he had claimed that his Indian company developed software for banks in an interview on “Chai with Lakshmi” available on YouTube here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3QCvBNdsvE ).

Similar to the other company that Vijay claims to be a founder of, there is no record of this company in the Registrar of Companies either.

Is it conceivable that Vijay founded these companies without actually incorporating them as formal entities like many others?

That might have been plausible except for one statement that Vijay makes in the same interview referenced above – he says that he incorporated his company in India because he needed to collect payments from customers which means that there has to be some formal record of a company of this name somewhere.

LeadStep Technologies

Let’s leave these Indian companies aside for a moment as by most accounts, Vijay actually “struck gold” (source: http://nandhu.wordpress.com/2008/02/03/interview-with-vijay-anand-organiser-protoin/ ) with LeadStep, the company he founded and sold in Canada.

What did this company allegedly do?

According to Vijay’s LinkedIn profile, “LeadStep focuses on building wireless solutions for both carriers and consumers in an attempt to revolutionize the way people live, act and think. We pride ourselves in solutions that are powerful, yet simple and in products that don’t make the end user feel inadequate, but empowers them to bring out the best. “

In the same interview referenced above, Vijay actually claims that he sold this company to Nokia in 2006 before returning to India.

Trawling through the list of Nokia acquisitions throws up no mention of this company in this time period.

Of course, it is quite possible that the acquisition value of this company was not large enough for Nokia to mention it anywhere.

But wouldn’t the acquired company issue some sort of press release if and when it was acquired? Again, there is no such statement anywhere. Curiously, this supposed company seems to have never had a presence of any kind on the web – no website, no email, no customers, no users, no employees. Apart from Vijay’s claims around this company, it is as if it never existed!

Thankfully, there is one way to dig a bit deeper – Canada’s equivalent of our Registrar of Companies.

Bingo – there was indeed a company with this company that was founded in 2004 and it lists Vijay Anand as the sole Director.

So was this a real company that Vijay founded, operated and finally sold to Nokia?

Nope – it turns out this company was only on paper and never had an operations.

How can one tell?

The company never filed any returns – it never had any employees or operations and it was dissolved by a s. 210 filing in 2006.

What does this filing imply?

Under section 210 of the Canada Business Corporations Act, this was a company that has no property or liabilities or even issued any shares (source: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/c-44/page-80.html ) From all the data available, it looks like this was a shell company that never had any operations and therefore, never filed any returns.

Vijay Anand’s claims of having started and sold companies seems to be a big lie – beyond this shell company, he doesn’t seem to have founded any formal entity either.

So much for being a serial entrepreneur!

 

VIJAY ANAND – THE ANGEL INVESTOR

Vijay claims to have been an angel investor with a series of high-quality startups in his portfolio.

Considering that he didn’t actually exit any startup, it would be a miracle if Vijay actually had any money to invest in startups.

Let’s give him the benefit of doubt here to see if we can come up with a list of companies where he is an angel investor.

An exhaustive search revealed a grand total of one company (Eventifier) that he is an investor in – since this company was part of his Startup Center, it is entirely conceivable that he got this equity for services in kind rather than for a cash investment of any kind.

So if you are thinking of approaching Vijay for an angel investment, you might want to think again!

Beyond this, there is one more reason why you shouldn’t approach Vijay if you are looking for angel investments.

There are at least three cases where startups that we talked to told us that had approached him for funding and instead of actually putting in money, he ended up taking money from them promising investor and customer connects.

In one case, he also took equity from the company in the form of sweat for services that he promised to perform. As it turned out, the company found him out and didn’t actually give him any equity. The other companies simply wrote off the money that Vijay took from them.

We would like to name these companies here but doing so would open up the founders to retribution from the Startup Guy and so we will refrain from doing so.

Given this lack of details, you are free to take this revelation or leave it – but do proceed with a huge pinch of caution if you, nevertheless, approach Vijay for funding and never ever give him money or equity upfront.

VIJAY ANAND – THE VISIONARY SOFTWARE ENGINEER

Given that Vijay’s companies seem to exist only on paper, it is difficult to ascertain if he has actually built anything – his claims to be a software engineer by virtue of having developed software of any kind, therefore, is as hollow as his other claims.

Despite this, is Vijay qualified to call himself a software engineer?

At various times, Vijay claims to be a graduate of the University of Ottawa where claims to have completed his Bachelor of Engineering.

Except that he didn’t – it turns out that Vijay never actually graduated from there. He flunked out of college and was basically shown the door!

So Vijay is far from being a visionary software engineer – by deed or even by qualification!

VIJAY ANAND – THE FUNDING EXPERT

Vijay has often claimed that he is an expert in fund raising – he even offers to dispense tips about fundraising to folks for a fee – http://www.pracly.com/experts/vijayanands

Let’s take a look at Vijay’s record in fundraising.

Of all the companies that have gone through his Startup Center or his In50hrs event, exactly zero companies have raised Series A funding! In all these years, only one company (Eventifier) has raised even seed funding from an institutional investor.

Vijay’s own “startups” also never raised any funding (it would be a neat trick if he actually did that given that these companies existed primarily on paper, if at all!).

So none of the “wisdom” that Vijay imparts about funding is from first-hand knowledge or experience.

The Last Word

Given all these facts, it is quite amazing that a person who has never actually started up in any real sense carries the moniker of the “Startup Guy” and people lap up his illusionary achievements.

Some of the other folks that we spoke to made a litany of charges against Vijay – ranging from taking money from them promising connections to being abrasive and disrespectful to stealing ideas around events. We also heard that the only real job that Vijay held – in IITM – ended on a bitter note with him being unceremoniously shown the door when the powers-that-be learnt his true colors. Since these cannot be corroborated one way or the other, we are not delving deeper into them.

All said and done, Vijay Anand is the “Paris Hilton of Indian Startups” – he is “famous for being famous” and has through a carefully-constructed tissue of lies and half-truths positioned himself as a tour de force in the Indian startup ecosystem. It is a sad commentary on the state of things that such charlatans are not only surviving but thriving in India today…

Without further ado, we would like to bestow on Vijay Anand the title of being the first “NextBigTwat” of the Indian startup ecosystem – may his tribe prosper!

If Vijay (or any of his devotees) would like to respond to any of these points and clarify his position, we would be more than happy to update this post with his point of view and corrections…but something tells us that the probability of that happening is no greater than that of an ice-cube’s chance in hell!

 

 

 

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44 thoughts on “UNCOVERING INDIA’S NEXTBIGTWATS – VIJAY ANAND AKA THE STARTUP GUY

  1. been thru that hell. been cheated by him. also he is a sick guy. has done nothing close to entrepreneurship. only networks online and like u said “half-truth” and “lies” .. Bitch Please.

    -Anon

  2. I remember growing up, noticing a trend among people around me. My uncles who ran fairly well to do businesses, or even who I considered my role model (bill gates – since we share a common birth date – and one whose stories my dad shared with me), most had a trait. They had decided to not pursue a career with a degree. The one thing I also recognised with them was that they were also people who were extremely smart and knew what they were doing. A college degree with a track – if you decide to get off of it, then you should also be ready to pave your own path. Most people will die along the way.
    Its no secret about the choice I made – I have had this conversation with others who were trying to make similar decisions – like Yuvaraj Pandian T or Aditya Vikram Thoomati – hoping to give some perspective, but it didnt make much sense to go around talking about it, as if it was somehow a measure of an entrepreneur. it isnt. you only know if you lived as an entrepreneur around the time when life is about to wrap up.
    we have impressionable students who hate college and love the idea of dropping out, but there doesnt seem to be a plan beyond that. I ask them what they are running from – and they have a big list, but if you ask them what they ate running towards, they draw a blank. you are better off being on the tracks – maybe for the time being.
    Over time, society draws a few lines on the ground and defines it as the path for everyone. those who step put of it, do so at their own risk. it will be a few years before it will even become moderately acceptable for people to get out of the tracks easy, because those crucifying you, are the same people who run alongside you. you have to get used to getting called names and keep moving.
    It is not a decision made on fad or fashion. you make it because you find something you are running towards. keep your eye on that, if you ve stepped off the tracks already.

  3. Vishal says:

    Great to read such detailed stuff uncovering such frauds. There are many of them so looking forward to others as well.

    Thought we would get some meaningful response from Vijay but seems just some philosophical gyan (Didnt even feel like reading the whole of it) Thats the only option when the person dont have a genuine reply.

  4. FartUpGuy says:

    Now that’s what I call a BS rebuttal. Reading that reply from “THE startup guy” convinces me that the original post is authentic. If you want a face saver, delete that comment NOW, before it goes viral – free advice, and I won’t charge you for it 😛

  5. Sachin says:

    I knew this guy is a cheat when I heard him years ago asking lacks to write business plans.

    Anybody who has seen ‘chai with laxmi’ can make out that he is faking big time. No specifics about anything he uttered in that interview.

    His response above tops it all…piece of shit…as pure as it can get.

    Vijay – high time you do something REAL

  6. Look at the bastard. What the fuck is he commenting? These assholes should be lathi charged out of India’s startup scene. Poor first timers are jizzed all over the face by such scums.
    Thanks that startupers are now on Secret. Fuck Vijay Anand.. And fuck AK, VG, MM et al

  7. Good story. There’s need to explore such BigTwats as they have been playing with Startups and companies.. Many such twats are there on Indian internet industry who have been fooling people. Domain fraud is very known now also few people fooling celebrity by claiming them he is calling from Facebook and wants to verify the page etc and hijacks their official accounts. Such people should be expossed.

  8. Oh really ? says:

    @VijayAnand – You had the talk with Aditya Vikram Thoomati and Yuvraj ? And they are Flipkart’s Co-founders ? Am I missing something here ? They themselves dropped out and are following your so called “proven” footsteps of doing nothing with tons of backlogs ! If someone is dropping out, trust me, they have a clear motive. They have a dying thirst to succeed. Like a dog chasing a ball. They never sleep, they never eat and they never stop ! Dropping out isn’t a fad for you to talk about. It is a privilege for those who are “exceptionals” in a better sense, to the likes of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Not to nuts like you and your fellows.

  9. I had a conversation with him a few months back. The guy is an Asshole with a capital A. Knows nothing about technology/coding. Just look at the Lakshmi interview – all fake. I’ve been to his accelerator for a couple of events – It isn’t really even an accelerator. Just a bunch of unfortunate first time entrepreneurs who have been tricked into paying Anand some cash -their words. Good that guys like you are uncovering the truth about scumbags like this. Hope this article shows up at the #1 spot when you google his name.

  10. from tgp says:

    OMG, you really out there to tear people off, isn’t it?

    Did feel sorry for vijay (don’t like him much for the way he worked around the entire ‘the goa project’ scene) but his response just clarifies further that why you had to be so sharp at him.

    I do agree with your entire idea of uncovering the man-holes to release the acid; it indeed is getting sick with fakers around.

  11. Rakesh says:

    Well i wish you’d taken this issue like a man. Ask questions, let people know what they upto. This is a desperate act to get some attention is what I beleive. Also, I believe whoever is posting the comments says “I met him”, “I spoke with him” and blah blah give your names out.. Take it like a man, and don’t be a pussy. If you had a problem why didn’t you sort that out, why can’t you just ask him.. This is lame and a chicken act!

    Rakesh

  12. arjun says:

    Not sure if all this is true. But I always hated him. He talks like he is god and puts down people and in public.

    This is what is called instant karma.

    Can he arrested for what he has done and for cheating?

    420 number one.

  13. Pingback: No Country for Young Men, or “Little” Women | Shrey Goyal

  14. RAHUL says:

    I thought he is genuine. Met him first only at The Goa Project. The event was haphazard. There were only a bunch headweights, and Vijay was the master of those headweights. Always felt embarrassed to even break the ice with quite a few people there. All these con-mens get influence in the ecosystem and the genuine ones are always neglected. No wonder why start-ups from Chennai fail to make it big. If he had given atleast 50% of his devotion towards hitting women, he would have not been featured here.

  15. Sanjay Vijayakumar says:

    It’s not just Vijay Anand, There are many people in India who just talk a lot of Bullshit without doing anything.

    As I am from Kerala, I know multiple people, who just live / travel / conti the company with just public fund in the name of Start-up and Entrepreneurship.

    But we must give credit to the Marketing/Branding talent of these people. Think With a ton of fake data or not doing much. They became the Start-up Guru’s & poster-boys of Indian Start-up Ecosystem…. 🙂

    I would like to Name them but…

    • Sony Joy says:

      Sanjay, you’re a real startup hero. 0 government money for inspiring youth in Kerala, 0 government projects. Keep inspiring champion! Never doubt yourself or our company.

    • Deepak Ravindran says:

      Folks we are starting mentor / startup validation service on our platform.
      SMS / to 420 instant validation of mentors & startups.

    • Deepak Ravindran says:

      Folks we are starting mentor / startup validation service on our platform.
      SMS or to 420 instant validation of mentors & startups.

  16. Was equally angry on my first interaction with Vijay Anand, when seeking help. I was totally terrified on his reaction, where he posted my conversations on his twitter wall and featured me (not literally though). I was in total disgrace and learnt that he did the same thing to everyone who comes to him for help (he, having a good laugh, with his insensible followers who just flock around and randomly cheer at his every statement). Well, I made it a point that I need to prove myself to him and his flock for that incident(Not sure if I’m there though). As days passed by, I wanted to make some acquaintance with him just to know more about him, started attending his events and stuffs. Not sure if all your acquisitions are true, but should give it to him that the man has some serious contacts with which he gets the things done. I attended his In50hrs, should say that it was pretty great. No magic, isn’t it all about good connects & working on something with passion? Yes, he did try to pull legs at times, but he seems to be a good guy. Just that not everyone are used to honey dipped words. He is straight to face, takes a lot of guts to realize that. Never the less, you have given a negative publicity which will surely be a great PR for him.

    • Rightly said…even I had attended the same version of In50Hrs with Sathya.
      It did make me angry as well when Vijay used to sarcastically comment on the way i coded and how he said that i was copying and editing stuff, ya rite…i might even have, but that’s how you do stuff when you are doing it for the first couple of times, you learn. But by the end, his contacts came by the demo time, we gave the demo, and trust me, it is a good thing when you get feedback from some people who are in high positions in any company, all of them being totally legit. I checked.

      In short, it is not what you have in you, but how you portray yourself and if the world believes you so, you have done good, even if it is to fool many people, that guy, has balls…and has brains…I’m not sure if all this is true or not, but yes…it is giving him a lot of PR boss..

  17. Interesting read. That’s all I have to say.

    I am new to the Startup scene in India. Makes me feel a bit worried about the people I have to be wary of even here. Thought that it would be a more helpful world.

    • Hey Salman, It is a fair and helpful world (mostly). As a startup you can’t afford to keep your guard up all the time. I hope you roll with the punches and let go of people who break your trust (instead of starting from distrust). Cheers!

  18. Suresh says:

    I see a lot of these guys around who think they are GOD when small and young entrepreneurs ask them for help.They also try to tear them apart with ugly questions, but at least in one instance I saw the company guy pretty much telling this sort of guy to go$%#*$.. I hope you bring some more of these out

  19. Ashish says:

    You should cover another Vijay – of Tationem. All three founders of the 2 year startup are actually full time employees in IT service companies. They claim to have a niche setup with 30+ employees and revenues of 5 million a quarter, and keep appearing in the news in the form of emotional stories about the founders.

  20. anonymous says:

    And similar to this ..there is a group of twats the so called geeks who used to think they are the back bones of Google ! Yeah the GDG group chennai, allways bluff people by exaggerating the event and gives tutorial about introduction to basic things 🙂 Do you think people are that much dump .. ? and I found some more interesting things … at the end of the day these people creat a life event on their facebook profile like “I speak at gdg” bwahaha 😀 Hope someone will dedicate a blog regarding GDG chennai geeks 🙂 bluff masters 🙂

  21. I’ve known Vijay since Feb this year, when I first attended his In50Hrs event. It was a well executed event where I got to pitch, build, and get some early validation for my product ‘Parallelo’, (http://bit.ly/parallelo) – all in a weekend. I also found my co-founder there. I subsequently attended another event, and that too was well run. I believe the format has been running for quite sometime now. Probably, In50Hrs in itself is Vijay’s big success.

    My conversations with Vijay have always been to the point, and useful. I read his answers on Quora and other forums, and they were as good as any smart person’s answers are. (But yes except for this one. I didn’t understand why Vijay would not take the bull by its horns.)

    If some of his past achievements are questionable, that doesn’t alter the value I got from him so far.

    If this is about his personality, then the person who is making the allegations has to make his credibility known too. Else, it is not a fair fight.

    The Sumanth Vs Mahesh Murthy episode showed us that two personalities can clash in public, make their points with their identities known, and walk-away with no side losing respect. (http://www.nextbigwhat.com/flipkart-myntra-mahesh-murthy-297/)

    It is all too easy to hide and attack someone. If Vijay is the villain Commodus in this fight – Gladiator remove your helmet and tell us your name.

  22. I think next in line for a big expose should be Anand Satyan. He started a courier company called DeliverWithMe. This was his first attempt to syphon out money from some foreign investors. This guy then teamed up with some smart guys and started his next venture, again with similar intentions. Doctor::Quack = Entrepreneur::Anand Satyan

  23. Seriously Sorry :( says:

    Lolzz check out vijays site name.. its probably a fake one :p its chutya.com !! tht comment suerly aint from vijay though i completely agree with author !! Vijay sucks !! I had been to his event and all work and mentoring did was from the mentors xept vijay :p

  24. RAHUL says:

    Can someone write about this AH: Samuel Eddy facebook.com/sjseddy one of the biggest twats in the city who has cheated many people. This man is absolutely shameless and is known as the biggest liar. Even the guy who was close with him is not speaking good about him, imagine his level of AHism

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