jump to navigation

Podcast with Kanwal Rekhi February 2, 2007

Posted by rajAT in entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, india, tie.
2 comments

Kiruba Shankar did a podcast with Kanwal Rekhi at the TiE Con Summit.

For naysayyers kanwal is the father of TiE and inspiration to many indian entrepreneurs.

He was a regular visitor to our college ( IIIT-H ) during 1999.

Along with Kanwal Suhas Patil and Chandrashekhar of Exodus Communications also visited our campus.

Talks given by them are still fresh in my mind. 🙂 Those stories I am keeping for another day. At the moment lets listen to the great Kanwal Rekhi :).

[podtech content=http://media.podtech.net/media/2007/01/PID_010097/Podtech_KS_kanwalrekhi.mp3&postURL=http://www.podtech.net&totalTime=961000&breadcrumb=3F34K2L1]

Advertisements

Charles River Ventures – New Investment Strategy November 3, 2006

Posted by rajAT in entrepreneur, startup, vc, venture capital.
3 comments

I have blogged earlier here and here that present VC model is broken and it should be chnaged.

Charles River Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm, has launched a new investment strategy, offering rapid but tiny $250,000 checks to Internet start-ups.

The advantage of a seed round is that it done as a “convertible” loan, which means the $250,000 is essentially a no-strings-attached loan to an entrepreneur. There is no equity stake claim by the investor at the time, which is good for the entrepreneur, who can see how good his idea is first. If the idea gains traction, he can raise money in the series A and negotiate a high valuation for his company. If he can command a $5 million valuation, for example, the investor’s $250,000 seed money converts into only 5 percent of the company.

There is almost no liability for the entrepreneurs, because the loan is made to a corporation formed around the entrepreneur. If the company fails, the company goes away, and the founders aren’t liable.

From CRV’s site for an example:

If CRV loans your company $100,000 with a six percent interest rate, and six months later the company closed a Series A round, at that point the loan balance (with interest) would convert at a 25% discount (value = loan dollar amount plus interest / .75) into $137,333.33 worth of Series A stock. Given that seed funding amounts are typically very small compared to the amounts one might expect to raise in a Series A round, as the example illustrates, the aggregate discount amount, in this case $37K, is a tiny fraction of what is likely to be a multimillion dollar Series A financing.

Its good to see that VCs are trying to change their ways of working also. After all we entrepreneurs are their customers and they should keep us happy. 🙂

Kinks in VC Industry October 9, 2006

Posted by rajAT in entrepreneur, startup, vc, venture capital.
3 comments

The high-risk, high-return venture capital business may have turned into all risk and no return.

“The traditional venture model seems to us to be broken,” Steve Dow, a general partner at Sevin Rosen Funds, said in an interview.

Sevin Rosen, a 25-year-old firm that is among the most respected in the industry, was in the process of closing its 10th fund and had received commitments from investors for $250 million to $300 million, Mr. Dow said. But in a letter sent to those investors yesterday, Sevin Rosen said it had decided to abort that process.

Explaining its decision, Sevin Rosen, which has offices in Dallas and Silicon Valley, said that too much money had flooded the venture business and too many companies were being given financing in every conceivable sector.

But excess of capital is only part of the problem, the firm said. In its letter, it bemoaned what it described as “a terribly weak exit environment,” a reference to the dearth of initial public offerings and to a market for acquisitions at valuations that it considers too low to deliver the kind of returns that venture investors expect.

Fred Wilson at A VC says that all this doesn’t mean that the “venture capital model” is broken. It means that we have to adapt to the changing nature of the technology business.

The big trends they saw when they raised the money for Union Square Ventures are following –

1 – commodization of the core infrastructure of the technology business
2 – community powered development environments – ie open source
3 – software delivered as a service over the internet
4 – a movement toward lightweight web services – ie web 2.0
5 – the globalization of technology development and consumption.

He suggested changes that VC model should be tweaked in the following ways.

  1. We’ve got to raise smaller funds.
  2. We’ve got to do less “hard tech” and more “soft tech”
  3. We’ve got to figure out how to make great returns on $100mm to $250mm exits
  4. We’ve got to limit our IPOs to our very best companies.

I actually think that many firms have already made many of these changes as part of the brutal restructuring of the venture capital business in the 2001-2003 time period and are much better off because of it.

I am not sure that model has already got tweaked becasue old VC ways are still continuing.

  • VCs still raise big funds. Couple of VC have raised billion dollar funds.
  • Pure idea plays get copied very fast. Look at the video uploading websites that have cropped up. And VCs are not very comfortable with this.
  • Exit strategy is M&A. IPOs are a pipe dream.

And all this is so true if we see in Indian context. Here entrepreneurs doesn’t need big money to start and that put them out of the radar of all the VCs.

Good news is that now lot more people are talking about the change in VC industry and so lets hope it will happen soon.

Technorati tags: , ,

Bootstrap Hyderabad September Meet September 25, 2006

Posted by rajAT in bootstrap, entrepreneur, hyderabad, startup.
5 comments

Bootstrap Hyderabad’s september meet was a big hit. The house was packed.

Mohit has blogged the event here. The pics from the meet are below.

dsc00928-small.jpg

Vishal gave really useful suggestions. ( in pic Vishal, Mangesh, Mohit, Mallaya)

dsc00929-small.jpg

People listening intently to Vishal here ( in pic Anand, Siva Prasad, Rajiv, Amit )

dsc00930-small.jpg

More crowd listening to Vishal ( in pic RK, Vijay)

dsc00931-small.jpg

Caffeine

dsc00933-small.jpg

Anand suggesting that next time we can use big office of pennywise. :).

dsc00934-small.jpg

Ritesh Prasad kicked Adobe 🙂 and is fellow bootstrapper now.

dsc00935-small.jpg

Gyaan sharing going on.

Meeting just rocked. Eagerly waiting for the October meet.

Day 3: TiE ISB Connect 2006 September 25, 2006

Posted by rajAT in entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, media, media2.0, tieisb connect, venture capital, web2.0.
1 comment so far

Day three at the TiE-ISB Connect began with talks by Peter Mukherjea, CEO of Star TV and Sanjeev Kumar, Founder and CTO of Portal Player.

Plenary Session

Noted actress Sulekha Naidu chaired the session on New Media and Entertainment. On the panel were Prem Akkaraju (Sanctuary Artist Management), Rajesh Jog (Waygate Capital), Suresh Babu (Suresh Productions), Alok Kejriwal (Contests2win.com), Raj Atluri (DFJ), Rahul Khanna (Clearstone) and Sekhar Kammula (Film director).

Track 6 : New Media & Entertainment

Day 2: TiE ISB Connect 2006 September 24, 2006

Posted by rajAT in entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, internet, technology, tieisb connect, venture capital.
add a comment

Track 2 : Internet Technologies

Hitesh Oberoi (COO, Naukri.com) , Sanjay Swami (CEO, mChek), Sandeep Murthy (Sherpalo Ventures), Raghav Kher (Founder, Seventymm.com), Samir Sood (Venture Investments, Google), Probir Roy(Founder Coruscant & Paymate) and Ganesh Rengaswamy (Greylock Partners) joined Ajit Balakrishnan for the panel discussion on Internet technologies, chaired by Krishnan Seshadrinathan of Motive.

Track 4 : Technology

Pradeep Gupta (CyberMedia, Band of Angels), Srini Koppulu (VP and MD, Microsoft), Vani Kola (NEA Indo-US), Raj Gollamudi (Bluestream Ventures), Joga Rao (Computer Associates), Ajit Deora (Light Speed Ventures) and Srikanth Sunjararajan (Founder, Persistent) joined Ashok Jhunjunwala for the panel disussion on Technology. The panel discussion was chaired by Sudheer Koneru (Managing Director, SumTotal) and Kalyan Manyam (PhoneLinx).

Day 1: TiE ISB Connect 2006 September 24, 2006

Posted by rajAT in entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, hyderabad, tieisb connect, venture capital.
2 comments

Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Discovery-led Planning

Can You Scale A Mountain?

Preparing For The Journey

Financing Your Dream

The Gift of Risk August 26, 2006

Posted by rajAT in entrepreneur, leadership, risk.
4 comments

“Do you think the people who were trying to reach the top of Everest were not full of doubts? For a hundred years, people tried and lost their lives. Not even their dead bodies came back. But still, more people tried…risking…knowing that they may never come back. Why? Because it was worth it. Because in the very risk something is born inside you: the center. It is born only in the risk. That’s the beauty of risk, the gift of risk.” –Paraphrased from Osho (1931-1990), Indian Professor of Philosophy, Spiritual master.

Consider This:

The gift of risk-taking doesn’t lie in what you achieve by risking – it lies in who you become as a result of the process.

Confident. Engaged. Alive.

Furthermore, it isn’t something you do once in a while – it’s an approach to life.

Open. Exploratory. Daring.

You know it when you let it slip out of your life. You feel stagnant, lethargic, bored. Risks have no shelf life – yesterday’s risks are today’s ego trip. Today is new.

RE-ENGAGE. RE-RISK.

Doug Sundheim, an Executive Coach at Clarity Consulting, suggests to try these questions on onself.
1. Ask yourself the same question, “When in your life did you feel most alive?”
2. What were you doing? Why did it feel so good? Which of your core values were you living?
3. It’s likely you were taking some risks at the time.
4. If you’ve haven’t felt that alive in a while, what could you do to re-engage, to push past your comfort zone?
5. Remember, the gift of risk lies not in what you achieve, but in who you become by taking them.

India’s Young Entrepreneurs August 23, 2006

Posted by rajAT in entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, india, startup, tye.
30 comments

TEENAGE TITANS – For the past month or so, BusinessWeek.com has set out to find Asia’s most interesting examples of this new breed. They asked readers to nominate standout young entrepreneurs 25 or under, and narrowed down the impressive list to a group of finalists.

I am listing out the people who made it from India.

All these young folks share an unbridled enthusiasm and a fierce desire to succeed. Will all of them make it? Maybe not. Yet this much is clear: India’s already dynamic future has turned a little bit brighter with the arrival of this bunch.
sasimath.jpgSasikanth Chemalamudi
CEO: Habits

http://www.habits.in
Hyderabad, India
Age: 23

A graduate with honors from the Birla Institute of Technology & Science in Pilani, Chemalamudi turned down an offer from outsourcing powerhouse Infosys to pursue his passion for entrepreneurship. He co-launched Habits, a creative learning resources company that encourages more creative thinking with the aid of educational materials such as musicals, plays, and interactive games. Habits is also involved with projects in rural India to encourage self-employment.

gaddipati.jpgRama Krishna Gaddipati
Co-founder: Bridle Information & Technology Solutions

http://www.bridleit.com/index.htm
Tenali, India
Age: 24

Bridle is a mobile applications and services outfit—and that is a good space to occupy given the explosive growth of mobile telephony in India. And Bridle co-founder Gaddipati (the 2001 winner of the Intel CyberFiesta national software development contest) may already have a hit on his hands. The service is called SchoolMATE, and it is a comprehensive student analysis system that allows parents to monitor their child’s progress at school. The service feeds information on conduct, examinations, and report cards to subscribers, and employs technology such as mobile text messaging, the Web, and e-mail. The company has gained about 70,000 subscribers in Hyderabad and Vishakapatnam in India.

vikas-kedia.jpgVikas Kedia
Founder & Partner: MobiTrail

http://www.mobitrail.com
Bombay, India
Age: 25

The next big platform shift in online gaming will be to mobile handsets, and Kedia thinks his company is positioned to capture that growth. This 25-year-old programmer based in Bombay is founder of MobiTrail, which develops and delivers games to mobile phone users. Its games and applications can run on networks using J2ME, Symbian, and BREW operating systems. The company is developing some hot games of its own and has such clients as Reliant Online Gaming in India and Hong Kong-based Mobile2win, as well as other international customers.

atul-khekkade.jpgAtul Prakash Khekade
Co-Founder: Innovation Trip

http://www.innovationtrip.com
Bombay, India
Age: 24

Khekade launched his first business, a Web technology and software applications company, at 17, and has written a book on graphical user interfaces. Now the University of Mumbai-trained engineer and scholarship recipient is trying his hand at the business tourism market. Last year he co-founded Innovation Trip, which sets up U.S.-based workshop-and-trip combos for senior executives in the developing world interested in the latest best-business practices in the States.

asia-25-under-25-vishal-sam.jpgVishal Sampat
Founder: Convonix

http://www.convonix.com
Bombay, India
Age: 24

Sampat caught the entrepreneurial bug early in life. While still in his teens, he launched his first venture, a streaming online music radio service featuring Indian tunes. His latest venture, launched in 2001, is Convonix. It is an Internet marketing firm with more than 35 employees that helps clients enhance their online traffic and get better placement in search engine results. The company has also developed its own Web analytics and campaign management programs.

diyank.jpgDivyank Turakhia
Co-Founder, President & Director: Directi Group

http://www.directi.com
Bombay, India
Age: 24

Turakhia tried his hand at Internet consulting in high school at age 14 and, two years later, launched Directi Group with $600 borrowed from his parents. In the first month of operations, the business managed to generate enough revenues to return the borrowed amount and get the company rolling. Today, the company is debt-free, has more than 1 million customers for its array of domain name registration, Web hosting, and site building services, and employs more than 250 people. It is one of the fastest-growing domain registration companies in the world. When Turakhia isn’t running the show, he pursues hobbies such as sky diving, paragliding, and flying airplanes.

Kevin Rose didd it !! August 4, 2006

Posted by rajAT in digg, entrepreneur, kevin rose, media2.0, web2.0.
6 comments

kevinrose.PNG

Business Week has done a story on digg.com founder Kevin Rose. Few excerpts from it are here

It was June 26, 4:45 a.m., and Digg founder Kevin Rose was slugging back tea and trying to keep his eyes open as he drove his Volkswagen Golf to Digg’s headquarters above the grungy offices of the SF Bay Guardian in Potrero Hill. This was the day Rose would test everything. Two years earlier, Rose had gambled on his idea to change newsgathering, letting the masses “dig up” the most interesting stories on the Web and vote them onto his online “front page” on Digg.com. Rose had given every last piece of himself to the project — all his time, all his cash, and even his girlfriend, who fought with him after he poured his savings into Digg instead of a downpayment on a house. Today, Digg, Version 3, the one that would go beyond tech news to include politics, gossip, business, and videos, was going live. At 29, Rose was on his way either to a cool $60 million or to total failure.

But for now, Rose is the “It” boy among a new wave of entrepreneurs running the hottest of the top 100 Web 2.0 companies sprinkled around the Bay Area. Together, this network of mostly Valley boys — Six Apart Ltd. co-founder Mena Trott is a rare female among them — fill SF bars like Anu and Wish and Cav and parties at their sparsely furnished lofts.

Rose’s social stock has climbed,too. He has more than 11,000 friends on MySpace. He was a runner-up in blog ValleyWag’s “Hottest Guy in the Valley” contest (think Tom Cruise’s doughier little brother), and he co-hosts a hot weekly video podcast called Diggnation. It’s like a techie version of the Saturday Night Live skit “Wayne’s World.”

At a party for the 50th show, Rose was mobbed by fans and even photographed signing a pretty brunette’s cleavage. The snapshot was posted on Flickr the next day. Video is here n here.

Clearly much has changed since 1999, and Rose and his fellow wealth punks have little in common with the sharp-talking MBAs in crisp khakis and blue button-downs who rushed the Valley as the NASDAQ climbed. In the late 1990s, entrepreneurs were the supplicants, and Sand Hill Road, dotted with venture-capital firms, was the mecca. Dot-commers relied on VCs for the millions needed to buy hardware, rent servers, hire designers, and advertise like crazy to bring in the eyeballs. For their big stakes of, say, $15 million for 20% of a company, venture capitalists received board seats, control of the management levers, and most of the equity.

Now, it’s more like: Maybe we’ll let you throw a few bucks our way — if you get it. Otherwise, get lost
.

Digg is emblematic of the ethos of Web 2.0, new consumer and media sites revolving around social networking and do-it-yourself services. Others include YouTube, which serves up some 100 million requested videos a day, rivaling the audience of NBC. Then there’s Facebook, where the college crowd practically lives. The average gamer on Xfire spends an astounding 91 hours a month on the site — it’s like a part-time job. As a result, superhigh valuations are again coming out of the Valley. In a world in which Facebook turns down $600 million deals, the $580 million that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. (NWS ) shelled out for MySpace.com in July, 2005, is widely considered to be a steal.

Rose grew up in Las Vegas. His father is an accountant, and his mom “just chills,” he says. They lived in a three-bedroom house on a cul-de-sac. Standard middle-class America. In 1999 he dropped out of the University of Las Vegas to join the action in Silicon Valley, where he took coding jobs for dotcoms. That led to his gig as the TechTV host, which transferred him to Los Angeles in 2003. But Rose was bored.

So far, Digg’s traffic just keeps growing. And Rose is picking up a bit of swagger. His shyness is fading, and his wardrobe has gotten a hipster upgrade. Girls on MySpace swarm him. But the pain of losing his girlfriend isn’t gone, and he says that no matter what happens with Digg, he won’t put business first again.

The tech bust notwithstanding, the Valley is still the only place on earth where geeks with good ideas can become celebrities overnight. But wannabes be warned: As nearly everyone found out six years ago, the fall from rock star to pariah can be just as quick — and not nearly as much fun.

Indian Tech Tour 2006 July 29, 2006

Posted by rajAT in entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, india, tie, tie asia, tie uk, vc, venture capital.
add a comment

techtour.PNG The Tech Tour will visit India for the first time and showcase its rich culture of technology and innovation. The Indian Tech Tour is co-organized with TiE UK and TiE Asia. The Indian Tech Tour will highlight this enormous potential and depth during its unique three-day tour across the country.

ETT is a leading non-profit organization of European VCs in the high-technology industry. ETT aims to provide a platform that allows interactions between the entrepreneurial eco-system in Europe with the entrepreneurial eco-system in the visited country eventually leading to facilitating or funding local high technology companies looking to expand internationally.

The delegate profile is top-notch and will comprise of successful entrepreneurs, representatives of national or international research organizations, directors of associations servicing the high-technology industry, partners and senior professionals of leading VC Firms, technology investment managers from development funds, business angels, professional service providers to the technology industry, investment bankers, politicians involved in technology development, global media representatives. Delegates comprising of VCs as well as other business leaders will be evaluating companies not only for investments but also for tie-ups, collaborations, and other strategic business relationships.

Visiting delegates are interested in the following categories.

  • New Materials & Processes
  • Wireless
  • Networking
    • Fixed
    • Management & Services
  • Software Applications
    • Enterprise
    • Consumers
  • Platform & Infrastructure
    • Computer-human interface
    • Search and navigation
    • Content delivery
    • Infrastructure management
    • Middleware
    • OS & Development tools
  • BPO
    • Healthcare
    • Financial Services
    • Content Development
    • Software Development
    • Elearning/Trading
  • Digital Media
  • Consumer Technology and Distribution
  • Energy Related Technologies
  • NANO Technology
  • Retail & Consumer technology
  • Semi-conductor technology/Research/Manufacturing
  • Media & Entertainment
  • Terminals and peripherals

Clayton Christensen @ TiECON EAST 2006 July 27, 2006

Posted by rajAT in Clayton Christensen, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, tie, tiecon east.
2 comments

Professor Clayton Christensen of the Harvard Business School belongs to that breed of management intellectuals which counts amongst its ranks the late Peter Drucker, Tom Peters and Michael Porter.

At a special reception at TiECON East 2006, Prof Christensen spoke about his research and on ‘How to tell if a business idea will succeed or fail’.

In the first part of his talk, Prof Christensen talked of a model he developed as a part of his research, which has two elements; one, any business has a trajectory of improvement and second, that every market has a different trajectory of movement. A company can move up its trajectory with simple year to year improvements and still be of tremendous incremental value to customers. That is, small innovations can bring great satisfaction.

He discovered that the innovation did not have to be groundbreaking but it is enough that there is innovation to ensure that the company stays competitive.

He then went on to describe the theory of what he termed ‘Disruptive Innovation’ This too does not refer to any breakthrough innovation, but simply to innovation which disrupts the trajectory of a firm’s offering to the public. This innovation could even have a negative value for the customer. This is when, he says, companies are caught on the wrong foot and the new comers work fast to muscle in on their territory.

Case Study- Steel Industry

To back this up he delivered an absorbing account of the developments in the Steel industry. The Big Fight between integrated steel companies, and new, quick and compact Mini-mills (operating on electric furnaces.) The small mini-mills kept nipping at the heels of the large, slow integrated steel companies when they first appeared on the scene in the 70s. Now the customer offering trajectory for the Steel industry ranges from re-enforced concrete bars (or ‘Rebars’) at the low end to sheet metal used in auto body manufacture at the high end. Mini-mills automatically gravitated toward the low end product because they could make it easily and cheaper than the integrated steel companies.

Soon, the mini-mills had taken the market from the big, old steel mills (the integrated ones) till they forced the last one out of the Re-bar business in 1979. But oddly enough this did not bother the integrated mills, because re-bars were a low margin product for them and they were glad to have it taken off their plate. But once the mini-mills were the only ones servicing this market now, they no longer had a tangible cost advantage. This happened every decade as the mini-mills moved up the steel product value-chain (they went from re-bar to angle-iron to structural beams to now sheet metal even!) Each time they pushed integrated steel mills out of the next higher-margin category but made life tougher for themselves (each time an integrated mill got out of a product category, the stock of mini-mill companies fell because of heightened competition and loss of competitive advantage).

Today almost all steel behemoths, the integrated steel mills, have shut shop. But the mini-mills are not doing too great either. This is a classic case of ‘Assymetry of Motivation’ as Prof Christensen terms this phenomenon. That is, “A situation where an attacker is keen to get into a market the attackee wants to get out of.” He went on to enumerate other industries where this “small guy gobbling up market share of low value-add product offering” phenomenon held true; the automotive sector (the Japanese ate American share, the Koreans are baffling the Japanese, the Chinese trouble the Koreans and soon the Tatas will offer the world the 100,000-rupee car), the airline sector (long haul routes versus, short/local routes), banks and even countries (like Japan).

The lesson he left us with at the end of the case study was “As a newcomer, you don’t always have to have a better product, you just need to create a situation where the current market leader is motivated to flee the battlefield.” His advice for the incumbent biggies his lesson was “Set up an autonomous subsidiary to compete with the newcomers and allow it to cannibalize the parent-leader” because out of the ashes something new and powerful can be reborn.

He also cited the case of Compaq and Flextronics to give us the next lesson on how to ensure a business succeeds. Flextronics started as a supplier and ended up as a competitor to Compaq because of the modular nature of Compaq’s offering. This was an important lesson in when and how much to forward or backward integrate.

He spoke next of Segmentation. He told all present not to segment only on the basis of the product or the customer category. He suggests instead that, as each product or service is employed by a customer to perform a ‘job’ for him/her, the company should segment based on what ‘job’ a particular product does. Therefore the ‘job’ is the fundamental unit of segmentation.

TYE- TiE Young Entrepreneurs July 27, 2006

Posted by rajAT in entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, tie, tye.
2 comments

Ziggy Tek: It seems definitely like a sound that would appeal to any baby but when the winning team of Shane Lampert, Jay Mayur, Neil Mayur and Aashish Sharma, appeared on stage to receive their  check of $10,000 donated by Microsoft from Ramadorai, CEO, TCS and Chairman of Nasscom, there was tremendous applause from the large audience. The event was held at the TiECON East Banquet dinner at the Copley Marriot Hotel on June 16th 2006. Ziggy Tek, a baby monitoring device that helps alert parents to monitor their child’s fever, was the winning business idea for this year TYE (TiE Young Entrepreneurs), initiative launched in late 2005 from TiE Boston.

The Program geared for young students between the ages of 14 to 18 years is designed for aspiring youngsters who from an early age want to become entrepreneurs. Initially called “How to do a business plan “it soon became  TYE (TiE Young Entrepreneurs), a forum of about 30 students trying to understand the nuances of how to formulate a business plan, research industry segments and use methods to approach and analyze business. Spread over a period of 16 weeks, the students were split into 6 teams of 2 to 5 students who met with a mentor and learned skills that would probably be best learnt at a business school. The final result was presented to a panel of 5 judges consisting of two lawyers, two venture capitalists and a charter member who listened and zeroed in on the winner: in this case the Ziggy Tek team who were  mentored by Moshe Shavit.

Overall the business ideas of the participants were varied and interesting ranging from  maximizing airline trips for travelers, to online tutoring and safer windshields. To all those who were watching especially the younger students it was an inspiring and motivational event to witness and hopefully participate in the future.

Can Hyderabad be the next valley @ Barcamp Hyderabad 2 July 16, 2006

Posted by rajAT in barcamp, barcamphyderabad, barcamphyderabad2, entrepreneur, hyderabad, startup.
4 comments

The grand finale of the day was the discussion – “Is mobile the missing link that will make Hyderbad the next Startup Valley”.

Well the motivation for the topic was that people in India are going to leapfrog to mobile phones. There are 100 million mobile phones in India at the moment. So many people have experienced digital content for the first time on the mobile phone. These are the few reasons that indicate that this be a hot area in India for next 5-10 years. The next google in India will be a mobile startup and not an internet based business.

So through this discussion the aim was to find out the pain points that entrepreneurs face when they start a company in this area.

We invited Mr. Kiranbir Nag (VP-SVB India Advisors), Ms Anuradha Acharya ( Founder / CEO of Ocimum Biosolutions ), Mr Ja Chaudhary ( President, TiE Hyderabad), Mr. Devendra Surana ( Surana Industries) and Prof Vishal Garg ( IIIT – H) to brainstorm on the topic.

Professor Vishal Garg made some points like in India nobody wants to pay money for the software. Software for mobile is sells at very low prices and that doesn’t make it a good business proposition. He quoted couple of personal experiences where he has completed the POC for mobile but the client backed out at the last moment.

Mr. Kiranbir Nag suggested the budding entrepreneurs to stop thinking from the technical perspective and start thinking from business perspective. He gave some thumb rules that an entrepreneur should ask himself when he starts doing something. Whose paint point I am solving ? Is it a cancer or a headache ? If it is a cancer then great but if it is headache then the technological solution should be out of the world. He also gave couple of other very useful tips to the entrepreneurs. I guess he was carrying a cheque book in his pocket :D.

Mr. Devendra Surana said that in India people doesn’t respect IP. The ideas are not valued and people try to copy them or de-engineer them if you show something new to someone. Ms Anuradha also shared some of her experiences reflecting the same attitude here.

Mr. Ja Chaudhary announced that TiE-ISB connect is a great forum to present early stage ideas. He also highlighted the various initiatives that TiE has taken in past to promote entrepreneurship. Mr. Farhan who is also a TiE charter member than shared a very interesting story of how Teleonto technologies got funded. I will cover that fully in some other post.

The crowd also participated very enthusiastically.

Why only a few survive ? July 4, 2006

Posted by rajAT in barcamp, barcamphyderabad, community, entrepreneur, india, marketing, startup, vc, venture capital, web2.0.
8 comments

Life as an entrepreneur is taxing, emotionally charged, extremely gratifying and very very suprising. Yesterday was one such day not because of all this but it was a day of contradictions. So it goes like this –

I had a telephonic conversation with a big Menlo park VC firm in the morning. The call went great and I am hoping for some positive things to come out of it :D. But the point that was bothering me was how this VC firm got my address in first place. I never contacted them. During the conversation they told me that they have “READ MY BLOG”. That they keep track of entrepreneurs blog in India. I was surprised to hear that but I really liked the proactive approach. It is very important to have a direct link with grass roots. And if you want to invest in Web 2.0 world you should be using it yourself to know the power of it. I am so impressed with them.

In the evening, I had another telephonic conversation with another big Menlo park VC firm. This was for the sponsorships of Barcamp Hyderabad. After 10 days of discussion they refused to sponsor. That is just fine that they don’t want to sponsor. But the reasons given just reflected  that they don’t understand the change that is happening out there. And they want to support entrepreneurs and are great believers of Web 2.0. Duh !!

So let me just drill through some of the reasons that they have given  –

1) Sponsoring T-Shirts is Micro – Well guys micro is the new macro. Isn’t it good that you get to test waters by a small investment. That is what Ray Lane, Partner KPCB, calls Enterprise 2.0. Now enterprises could test and use web services at a fraction of cost and if it works, the investment could be increased. Gone are the days when organizations have to commit a big amount upfront. Same is barcamp an ad-hoc conference oraganized and attended by geeks and entrepreneurs. All for love. Best way to know them is engage with them and if it works out. Keep on engaging with them.

2) Long term association – Barcamps are fickle who is accountable for the next barcamp. A very valid point. Well the first question that one should ask – Do you believe in the story that India is going to be hot and the people who are going to make it hot are entrepreneurs. If yes, then what is the best of doing it is nurture the community that they have built. Support that community. Yep ! it can happen that my interests can change tomorrow or of the other people who are behind Barcamp here in Hyderabad. But then community is not about couple of individuals, because it is not top down. There is no hierarchy in first place. A thriving community will give rise to lot of other passionate individuals. And that will take care of the long term relationships.

3) Marketing people are concerned about the mileage –  I think there marketing people haven’t heard or read a book called – “Communities dominate Brands” by Tomi Ahonen. Or they don’t know how Riya has used blogs, communities and built such a strong brand from ground up. If not then they should. Cluetrain manifesto anyone.

Change happens right in front of our eyes. But we refuse to acknowledge it. No wonder why big organizations fall.

Some people just don’t get it.