There is no other company that illustrates the roller-coaster ride of a Unicorn as graphically as the United Kingdom’s Powa Technologies. Powa had helped put London on the Unicorn map by becoming one of the few multi-billion dollar ventures. Then with not as much as a whimper, it transformed into a Unicorpse with investors still struggling to understand what went wrong.
Sramana Mitra: Did you go with offshore or onshore?
Nevin Shetty: Since it’s very high-touch front-end stuff, we wanted someone we could meet with. We chose a dev shop in New York. They had done e-commerce before. Frankly, they just had very good project management. We were able to talk with them and think through things strategically. It was very helpful because we didn’t know how to architect the website. They were seemingly helpful with that.
Sramana Mitra: How long did it take you to get a minimum viable product out?
Nevin Shetty: I would say it took seven months. >>>
Sramana Mitra: This thinking behind your startup is happening while you were still at Apple?
Matt MacInnis: For probably six or nine months, we explored and brainstormed whether there was a viable business here.
Sramana Mitra: Your observation that the future of textbooks was not just digitization of what already existed was the impetus to think about Inkling and what you wanted to do differently at Inkling.
Matt MacInnis: Yes, I was walking into classrooms as part of my work. I saw students with laptops but not using them because the textbook was taking their >>>
Entrepreneurs are invited to the 336th FREE online 1M/1M roundtable mentoring session on Thursday, January 19, 2017, at 8 a.m. PST/11 a.m. EST/9:30 p.m. India IST.
If you are a serious entrepreneur, register to “pitch” and sell your business idea to Sramana Mitra. You’ll gain straightforward feedback, advice on next steps, and she’ll answer any of your questions. Others can register to “attend” to watch, learn, and interact through the online chat.
According to a report by Grand View Research, the commercial drone market was pegged at $552 million in 2014 and was projected to grow 17% annually through 2022. Another report by the researcher estimates stellar growth in the consumer drone market, which is expected to be worth $4.19 billion by 2024. Overall, the drone industry is dominated by Chinese Billion Dollar Unicorn club member DJI.
Sramana Mitra: This is a big challenge. We do have entrepreneurs who are non-technical. Let me ask you one question before you go to the development portion. Before launching into this direction with your startup, you must have done some level of comparative analysis. Talk to me a little bit about what you unearthed in that process of looking around. What else is there? What other options are there along these lines?
Nevin Shetty: In 2013, I had the conception of building an e-commerce experience based on the blueprint of a home. We were like, “Let’s apply this to one particular market. Instead of going to general e-commerce, let’s focus on one particular niche.” We decided to focus on weddings. Wedding is a one-time life event related to the home. >>>
Here’s another pivot story. Note: pivots are very expensive to do in VC timeline and cap tables. Matt discusses how damaging the ownership structure has been. Worth understanding the ramifications.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Matt MacInnis: I’m from Nova Scotia, Canada. I’m from a small island in the northeast, 300 miles to the nearest airport. My mom was a school teacher and my dad was a factory worker. We had a pretty good upbringing up there. It was a little bit cold in the winter. I ended up getting into Harvard somehow from that little town. We had to find a way to make that work. My parents, very graciously, gave their retirement savings to make that work. >>>
The year 2017 started off with news of blogging platform Medium laying off 50 people or one-third of its staff because it is unable to make money selling ads. Since then, the media industry has been on tenterhooks. BuzzFeed also reduced its revenue projections by 50%. The latest news from Medium has renewed fears that the media industry is about to implode. >>>