Posted on Thursday, Jul 5th 2012
During today’s roundtable, we had five presenters discussing a wide range of businesses mostly from India.
First, Chetan Vinchhi from Bangalore, India, pitched Aurviz Technology, a video solution whereby enterprises can provide video-based customer support. The validation for the concept has so far come from the Indian Railways that is interested in installing video-support kiosks at railway stations. Other segments where Chetan is seeing interest include banking and healthcare. The sales cycles, however, are very long, and the only way to squeeze the cycle would be by building case studies and success stories. In India, long sales cycles with enterprise customers are perpetual problems plaguing entrepreneurs, and the VC community largely shuns businesses with long sales cycles.
Super Mall KL
Then Musavir Iftekhar from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, pitched One Point Solution’s Super Mall KL, which, once we managed to get to the heart of the idea, is an online portal where malls can list their products and either sell online (e-commerce) or simply advertise and attract customers and foot traffic. Musavir came to the session with the assumption that once he pitches at the roundtable, investors will flock to fund him.
Well, entrepreneurs, please do NOT come to the 1M/1M roundtables with this expectation. As I have reminded you many times, over 99% of entrepreneurs who seek funding get rejected. There is a very long bootstrapping path that is needed today before investors are willing to write checks. [Also check out our 1M/1M Cartoon How Long Can You Keep Dreaming?]
Next Santhosh Jose from Bangalore, India, pitched IntenTree, an optimization service for e-commerce companies. Santhosh is trying to figure out how to validate his concept as well as get early customers. My suggestion was to focus on e-commerce vendors with over $1M in revenue and do a set of success-fee-based deals. If, for instance, Santhosh can deliver 30% lift in revenues, it would be okay to ask for 10% of the extra revenue as a success fee. This way, he can get into a set of accounts, play with real data and develop reference accounts.
The Alumni Portal
Then, Pareen Lathia from Mumbai, India, pitched The Alumni Portal, a private professional network for business schools, engineering schools, etc., to communicate with their alumni on placements, fund raising, etc. Pareen is seeing traction amongst the second and third tier business schools in India, but is also plagued by the long sales cycle challenge. I advised him to do limited duration pilots with schools around specific use cases solving problems and helping achieve objectives. Once the pilot is successful and the agreed upon duration is up, Pareen needs to ask for the check. Lengthy pilots without monetization are to be avoided at all costs.
Last up, Syed Harris from Chennai, India, pitched Zucumi, a social media marketing concept born out of Syed’s other business, MasalaStreet. The latter, which he pitched a few weeks back, is positioned to be the OpenTable for Chennai and, later, India. Zucumi is an off-shoot of the MasalaStreet project, and Syed is coming to the conclusion that it may be more promising than the original project. My input is that he needs to choose to focus on one or the other. Of course, he feels that he has spent seven months working on MasalaStreet and doesn’t want to write that investment off. However, it is quite common in the entrepreneurship universe that a better idea would emerge as people start working on their original ideas. Twitter, for example, emerged out of a failed business called Odeo.
You can listen to the recording of today’s roundtable here.
As always, I would very much like to hear about your business, so let me invite you to come and pitch at one of our free 1M/1M public roundtables. We will be holding future roundtables at 8:00 a.m. PDT on:
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This segment is a part in the series : Roundtable Recap
. May 23 - Turning Dreams Into Cash . May 16 - Calculate Your TAM Accurately . May 9 - Promising Portfolio From India . May 2 - Tech Recruitment in Bulgaria; Custom Fashion in India; Incubator-in-a-Box . April 25 - IT For Cleantech IN, Cleantech OUT . April 18 - From Singapore To Israel . April 11 - India’s Startup Industry Has A Major Gap – Product Marketing . April 4 - Don’t Waste Your Time . March 28 - Positioning And Focus Create Fast Sales Cycles . March 21 - Differentiation Is KeyMore »» . March 14 - Spotlight On ProductNation, India . March 7 - The Diabetics Epidemic . February 21 - Damsels In Distress . February 14 - Stealth Is Overrated . February 7 - Joint Session with Startup Weekend . January 31 - Return On Investment . January 24 - Meet The One Million Club . January 17 - Winners Of The Second New Year Challenge 2013 Final . January 10 - Winners of the New Year Challenge 2013 First Final . January 3 - Last Few Hours To Vote For 1M/1M New Year Challenge 2013 . December 20 - New Year Challenge Voting Round Begins . December 13 - Focus On Artificial Intelligence . December 11 - IBM SmartCamp Barcelona . December 6 - New Year Challenge 2013 . November 29 - An Inside View Into Mentoring 2.0 . November 15 - Democratization Of Startup Financing . November 8 - Never Too Old To Startup . Kolkata MUST Clinch This Time . October 26 - Emerging Kerala . October 18 - Carbon Trading In Bulgaria . October 11 - Don’t Wait For Someone To Fund Your Alpha . October 4 - Kolkata 1M/1M Pitch-Fest . September 13 - Five 1M/1M Ambassadors Win Scholarships . September 6 - OrangeScape Launches KiSSFLOW . August 30 - Hybrid Business Models . August 23 - Attention, FinTech Entrepreneurs! . August 2 - The Free Rider Problem . July 26 - Date First, Don’t Rush Into A Marriage . July 19 - Winners Of A&N Media-Elance Contest With Kings College, London . July 12 - Spotlight On Western Massachusetts . July 5 - The Challenge Of Navigating Long Sales Cycles . June 21 - Spotlight On Colorado . June 19 - Winners Of The A&N Media-Elance Contest With London School Of Economics SU Entrepreneurs & European Student Startups . June 14 - Winners Of The A&N Media-Elance Contest With Imperial College, London . June 7 - Winners Of Second BlueSnap-Elance Finals . June 4 - Winners Of First BlueSnap-Elance Finals . May 31 - Go, Kolkata! . May 22 - Winners Of TechHub-A&N Media Battle Of The Startups Contest In London Win 1M/1M Scholarships . May 10 - BlueSnap-Elance Contest Applications Deadline This Weekend . May 3 - Some Wonderful Opportunities With Corporate Partners . April 26 - A Rare Women-Only Session . April 19 - Tyranny Of The TAM . April 12 - More From Indian Entrepreneurs . April 3 - Rendezvous In Bangalore . March 15 - Spotlight On 3 Day Startup Tel-Aviv . March 12 - Winners Of Microsoft Israel Scholarships . March 1 - Strategy Gaps Need To Be Plugged . February 23 - Microsoft Israel To Offer 1M/1M Scholarships . February 16 - What’s Happening In Turkey? . February 9 - Are You Fundable? . February 2 - YCombinator vs. 1M/1M . January 26th - Spotlight On Jacksonville, Florida . January 19 - Are Media Sites Fundable? . January 12-13 - Spotlight On IIT Kharagpur, India . January 5 - ERP Galore . December 22 - Free Apps, Ad-Supported Business Models => Dangerous! . December 15 - Web 3.0 And Social Dancing; Romania Emerging . December 8 - Three Open Opportunities For 2012 . December 1 - 1M/1M Premium Company Freshdesk Wins Funding From Accel Partners . November 17 - Business Schools And Early Stage Entrepreneurship . November 3 - VCs Are Not Always Right . October 27 - Check Out Stanzr . October 20 - Non-profits And For-profits . October 13 - FREE Is Not A Business Model . October 6 - Dedicated To Steve Jobs, Reinforcing Mission To Restructure Capitalism . September 29 - From Poland To Argentina . September 22 - How Do You Catalyze A Region’s Entrepreneurship? . September 15 - Do Your Homework First . September 8 - A View Into Israeli Start-ups . September 1 - Fall Call To Action . August 25 - How To Use Twitter For Lead Generation . August 11 - Menlo Park And The Silicon Valley Renaissance . August 4 - How Do You Bootstrap Freemium Ventures? . July 28 - Investors And Incubators Need To Look At Pre-Incubation . July 21 - Crowd Sourced Funding Exchanges - An Emerging Trend . June 30 - Continued International Participation . June 23 - New Assessment Tool For Entrepreneurs . June 16 - Exciting Companies Lined Up For Microsoft Startup Grant Finals . June 9 - Silicon Valley . June 2 - 1M/1M And Incubators - What We Have Learned . May 26 - Twitter, LinkedIn - Why Not Affiliates? . May 19, Making Money From Blogs . May 12 - Two Really Cool Companies . May 5 - Ownership Matters . April 28 - Guerrilla P.R. & SEO Most Profitable Customer Acquisition Strategies . April 21- Incubators Are Reaching Out To 1M/1M . April 17 - High-Octane Energy In Pune . April 16 - 1M/1M Partners With Indian Angel Network Incubator . April 9 - 1M/1M Announces Partnership With TiE Chennai . April 6 - 1M/1M Announces Important Partnership With MAD Incubator, Malaysia . March 31 - Microsoft’s $100,000 India Startup Challenge Grant . March 24 - 75th Session Spotlights The Midwest . March 17 - Spotlight On Latin And Central America . March 10 - Spotlight On India . March 3 - Spotlight On The Northwest . February 24 - VCs, Angels, Incubators, Accelerators – What Are You Doing With Your Rejects? . February 17 - Indian Company Plugs Gap In Google’s Enterprise Solution . February 10 - When Keywords Are Competitive . February 3 - Indian Entrepreneurs Are Maturing . January 27 - Non-Dilutive Financing Through Revenue Sharing . January 20 - Personalization Remains An Open Problem . January 13 - Top 10 Online Advertising Trends For The Decade . January 6 - Top 10 Vertical and Social Web Trends For The Decade . December 16 - Top 10 Tech Trends To Watch . December 9 - Where Should You Raise Money? . December 2 - Niche Marketplace Businesses Can Be Interesting . November 18 - Not Coming To The Rescue Of Victory . November 11 - African Tech Entrepreneurs Emerging . November 4 - Premium Lounge Sneak Preview . October 28 – Convert Potential Competitors To Partners . October 21 - Bootstrapping Comes In Many Flavors . October 14 - Professional Investors Do Not Invest In $20 Million Markets . October 7 - Try To Get At Least $2M Pre-Money In Seed Round Valuation . September 30 - Investors Don't Fund Broad Ideas . September 23 - Do Not Spray And Pray . September 16 – 5 Cloud Computing Opportunities for Entrepreneurs . September 9 - Open Opportunities In Cloud Computing And Rural BPO . September 2 - Find High Velocity Channels . August 26 - 85%-90% Of Search Traffic Comes From Organic Search . August 19 - Niche E-Commerce Is Great For Bootstrapping . August 5 - Paying Customers =>Validation =>Valuation . July 29 - Startups In Malaysia . July 22 - Bootstrap Using Services . July 15 - A Market Of Late Adopters . July 8 - The EJ Methodology . July 1 - Get Your Pricing Model Validated . June 24 – Three Startups That Can Hit One Million Dollars . June 17 – Online Education Startups . June 10 – Efficient Targeting . June 3 – Defining Market Segments . May 27 – Is The Venture Worth Your Time? . May 20 – Validation, Validation, Validation . May 6 – Defining Value Proposition . April 29 – Finding The Right Direction . April 22 – The Original Runners . April 15 – Small Is OK; The Goal Is Profitability . April 8 – A Focus On E-Commerce . April 1 – Bootstrapping Tips . March 25 – A Mixed Bag Of Advice