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Business Incubators: The Morpheus (Part 7)

Posted on Monday, Nov 1st 2010

By guest authors Praveen Karoshi and Prashant Sachdev

Portfolio Companies’ Experiences

[In this final installment, Prashant talks with three entrepreneurs who have worked with The Morpheus.]

In conversation with Lifemojo founder Namit Nangia

Prashant: When and how did you start with The Morpheus?

Namit: Lifemojo was born about two years ago, and we enrolled with The Morpheus fairly early in their journey.

Prashant: What are the key areas that The Morpheus helped you with and that you were impressed with?

Namit: During the active engagement period, which was around six months, the Morpheus team worked closely with us and imparted critical mentoring, brainstorming product ideas and strategy, practical gyaan (knowledge) sessions, networking with stakeholders and customers, and all-important finance management.

Prashant: How did The Morpheus help you with funding?

Namit: Although we were funded by angels and us, The Morpheus contributed to our efforts by providing robust guidance in financial [management] and bookkeeping, skills that we were lacking on our own.

Prashant: If you were to look back at mentoring, what were the most important contributions made by The Morpheus team?

Namit: We had the best mentoring experience in terms of identifying our market and positioning the product, and in finance management as mentioned earlier. They also helped with product management and gave day-to-day feedback about our product features, even to the level of user interface design. That was more than what we had signed up for.

Prashant: Please summarize your experience working with The Morpheus incubator.

Namit: Without hesitation, we can vouch that the team of Sameer and Nandini were closely involved and were taking care of the proceedings, more like founders than outsiders or stakeholders. The difference was they were like family and friends; there was nurturing and handholding. Even later, we constantly got enough attention and help whenever required.

In conversation with Bangalore-based Phitesla founder Siddharth Shastri

Prashant: When and how did you start with The Morpheus?

Siddharth: I have been in touch with The Morpheus team for almost 10 months and was formally inducted into their portfolio in May 2010.

Prashant: You are a hot young startup with a difference, as described by Indus Khaitan.

Siddharth: Wow! [laughs] That’s great to hear. Yes, we are into automatic electronics tweaking for speedometers and trying to do something different, really.

Prashant: What are the key areas that The Morpheus helped you with and that you were impressed with?

Siddharth: Their team has been very helpful; in fact, they have been instrumental in building relationships with OEM vendors and awesome in terms of closing deals and the all-important conversion of hot leads. I should say that I would have taken more time or even failed on my own in converting leads. Apart from that, market positioning, presence during customer pitches and interactions, networking both in-house and out in the wild, and their critical hand at strategy steering have been tremendous contributions to my startup.

Prashant: Please summarize your experience working with The Morpheus incubator.

Siddharth: The Morpheus team has been very close to me from day one. The Morpheus gang (portfolio companies as we call it) was gracious to contribute to hiring the right people, even getting hold of a chartered accountant. Their initial incubator funding in a wild area and immense trust imposed in my venture boosted my confidence and laid down the base for a healthy build up. It was all positive and win-win, a tremendous experience indeed, I have kinds words only, to summarize.

Prashant: So, what’s in store for the future?

Siddharth: I am still working with them, and I’m fairly confident about making it a great success story. I feel upbeat about taking on competitors and the market.

[Siddharth was curious to know more about the One Million by One Million effort and to share it with his startup friends. Expect more from him at our future roundtables.]

In conversation with Ankit Maheswari, founder of Instablogs

Prashant: Hi, Ankit, congratulations on drawing recent funding and hats off for the continued positive buzz about Instablogs; it heralds the dawn of digital media companies from India.

You and Instablogs go back to a unique relationship with The Morpheus; tell me more about it

Ankit: Yes. We started in 2006, and Instablogs was part of the first batch to be inducted when The Morpheus ventures started a couple of years ago. It started with few meetings with Sameer and Nandini at a proto event, then couple of other bumps at other events, then me shuttling to Bangalore and presto, we were in and locked.

Prashant: What are the key areas that The Morpheus helped you with and that you were impressed with?

Ankit: We got great and much-needed support in terms of solid mentoring in the areas of operations, product strategy, and guidance. We were funded, so it was not so much about funding, although networking with the right people was the cornerstone. One of the most important aspects is that Sameer and Nandini have been extremely down to earth and close-at-call whenever required. And it’s been a memorable journey.

Prashant: So, tell me more about Instablogs

Ankit: Instablogs has been doing very well; we have developed the state-of-art technology from scratch, and turned out to be top-notch content management for media companies with a slew of features, and the past four years of product building have given us useful insights to plug in more. Page views are increasing, and we have built robust content-writing and collaborative features. I am excited about managing the global spread of freelance teams through our content management tools. And we have more exciting plans for future offerings. By the way, we license our product to media companies to generate new revenue streams.

Prashant: Please summarize your experience working with The Morpheus incubator.

Ankit: As I said, they have been great, like a family, and we have proved ourselves in partnership. We have come winning and we still have exchanges, they have been and always are backing us, helping us to succeed.

Prashant: Ankit, thanks for your time, and good luck.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Business Incubators: The Morpheus
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