I spent large chunks of time in the last two days with my friend Sharad Sharma, one of the true deep thinkers of the Indian startup eco-system. I first met Sharad when he invited me to co-chair the Nasscom Product Conclave in Bangalore with him in 2010. I really enjoyed working with him, and over the years, have come to appreciate what he is trying to do for the Indian eco-system.
Sharad, by the way, is one of the 20 odd effective angel investors who invest in the technology sector in India. While the total number of angel investors is much larger, many of them come from outside the sector, and hence are not capable of leading deals. If you look at Indian Angel Network or Mumbai Angels, for instance, a vast majority of the angels made their money elsewhere (like real estate), and often find it difficult to fully grasp what’s happening in the software, mobile or Internet businesses, let alone networking or semiconductor. Thus, these lead angels are critical for the eco-system to mature.
Micro-blogging site, tumblr’s recent acquisition by Yahoo has sparked more interest in other start-ups which command such lofty valuations and are under consideration by other technology giants as potential acquisitions. One such player is social traffic and navigation app maker, Waze.
Have you noticed how platform eco-systems are cropping up everywhere these days? There was a time when only large companies used to market platforms. These days, everyone and their mother launches software platforms.
Of course, there are some that are much bigger than the others. Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android on the mobile side, Salesforce.com’s Platform-as-a-Service (Paas) Force.com on the cloud side are particularly successful ones. But there are also large platform eco-systems like Sencha from much smaller companies. [Read: Scaling a Platform for Device-Agnostic Web Interfaces]
Sramana: What roles does the publisher play?
Maxine Manafy: The publisher who would host your app and promote it to the end user would also be in our network. They have the ability to approve or disapprove the ad in their channel. They are also interested in how relevant the app is to their channel. They want the user experience to be clean. When they agree we show that ad to the end user. It is important to use intelligence in this space or you are losing your ad dollars.
Sramana: It’s not clear to me that something as specific as an autism app would work in your network.
Maxine Manafy: That is a very specific case. We could certainly try. It would be a very different price point as well. >>>
The continuing dismal performance of the worldwide PC industry and Dell’s (NASDAQ:Dell) inability to make a mark within the fast growing mobile device market has not helped their performance. The weak results are also not helping investors who were looking to counter Dell’s proposal of going private through a $24.4 billion Leveraged Buy-Out (LBO) by founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners.
Entrepreneurs, join us as the five finalists of the Rackspace Cloud – 1M/1M Startup Challenge pitch their cloud startups to win the grand prize of $2,000 per month worth of cloud hosting for one year from Rackspace PLUS a one-year scholarship to the 1M/1M program.
Please let any entrepreneurs in your circle know, all are welcome!
Sramana: How did you view the competition when you were starting Bunndle?
Maxine Manafy: When I started Bunndle there were a couple of competitors in the market. They were not so much concerned about performance, activation and retention. They were really just trying to get as much money as they could from smaller guys. As an end user, as a customer, I wanted to see that experience improved. I wanted something that worked so I built Bunndle as an ad network for applications. Big or small, you can have the same amount of distributions with the same qualities afforded to the big guys. >>>
Today’s 175th roundtable concluded with a wonderful comment from Dwight Harrison: “When running a business it is good to spend time with people who have converted dreams into cash.” I love the way the idea of turning dreams into cash summarizes entrepreneurship, and it perfectly summarizes our philosophy. So, I chose to start the recap with Dwight’s quote today!
Now let’s take a look at what kinds of ‘dreams to cash’ opportunities our entrepreneurs pitched today …
First, Santosh Shukla from Hyderabad, India, pitched f1circle, which aims to be three things: an enterprise social network a la Yammer, Chatter, Jive; a marketplace a la eBay for professionals; and a classified portal a la Craigslist, also for professionals. My first and most urgent advice to Santosh is to stake a claim in the ground and decide which one is the real opportunity that he wants to go after.
In case you missed it, you can listen to the recording here.
Today’s 175th FREE online 1M/1M roundtable for entrepreneurs is starting NOW, on Thursday, May 23, at 8:00 a.m. PDT/11:00 a.m. EDT/8:30 p.m. India IST. Click here to join.