Purani jeans aur guitar


Purani jeans aur guitar
Mohalle ki vo chhat
Aur mere yaar
Vo raaton ko jaagna
Subah ghar jaan
Kood ke deewar
Vo cigaretee peena
Gali mein jaake
Wo karna daanton ko
Ghadi ghadi saaf

A group of startup founders sang this college time favorite song during the starry, drunk, passionate and bindaas late night sessions, that went on till 0300 am every night, during Morpheus’ Startup Gurukul. Gurukul was organized with the purpose of bringing together the gang of morpheus founders at one place for 4 days of immersive experience. Away from the normal world, away from their hectic day-to-day schedules – just to hang out, share learnings and to know each other. The sheer energy in the atmosphere was intoxicating.  People were - talking, dancing, asking questions, listening intently, showing demos, discussing stuff , giving/ taking feedbacks, taking pictures, fooling around, jumping into the pool. But with all this as a backdrop they were all starting lifelong friendships – with folks who are also weird like themselves, those who have chosen the uncertain path of entrepreneurship - leaving behind the certainty & security of jobs. Because nature has cursed (or gifted them) them with the “entrepreneurial gene”. Be an Entrepreneur or Die – thats their calling. Just can’t do anything else. Gurukul is a world in which everyone is an entrepreneur – everyone inspires you, everyone believes in your audacious vision and the non-believers are totally absent.

I still remember the day we started the journey in Jan 2008 – 2.5 years back. Coming out of our 3 yrs as the founders of madhouse, we realized that this was badly needed in India and we had a kind of stupid confidence in our ability to figure this out. Most of the folks around said you guys can’t do this / this cant be done in India or some variation of a negative comment. Like all entrepreneurs - every time someone said that it increased our determination to crack this.

From the Starting point to the Startup Gurukul – the ride has been a lot of fun but at the same time quite rough, things have moved a very rapid pace, there was always so much to do, so much to figure out, so many moving pieces, we just kept working 12-14 hrs everyday.  I never got a chance to step back and look at the overall picture. So at the Gurukul when I saw, at one place, all portfolio companies, all founders, our investors – and I saw people from outside morpheus who came to spend time with us, said nice things about what they saw. I had this realization that we are on to something important, we are starting to have a small impact on Indian Startup Ecosystem, our efforts are paying off. This has given me a lot of energy to keep doing this for many more years to come.

Thanks

On behalf all partners @ Morpheus I would like to give a big Thank You to all the founders in the morpheus gang – for making us part of their teams, their dreams and their families. Thanks guys for believing in us – for taking the chance. Together we can and we will change many things in the world around us.

Also a very big thanks to guys @ Sequoia Capital for supporting and sponsoring Startup Gurukul.


Enjoy the gurukul pics

Barcamp Chandigarh (and looking for suggestions)

The startup ecosystem in Chandigarh, the city beautiful, is buzzing with activity. On 12 November the results of Business plan competition, Enterprize – organized by TIE Chandigarh & Chandigarh Administration,  were announced. The winners got place in the EDC setup by the Chandigarh Administration, in the IT park.

Continuing the good news for start-up folks, Fountainhead School of Business is organizing BarCamp Chandigarh – an extreme popular unconference, on 22 November. It will be a day long event that provides you the opportunity to attend some interesting sessions, meet like-minded folks, network and peek into the startup scene here.  Barcamp Chandigarh is also inviting folks who would like to conduct a session. Go ahead and signup to attend the event or to conduct a session at the Barcamp.

MVP is a supporting partner for the the event and we are doing our bit to make the event a good one.

I have signed up to do a session @ Barcamp, but have not decided on what all should I cover in the session. I am looking for some good suggestions from you on that, please leave your thoughts in comments or send a message to me on twitter @guglanisam.

What would you like me to cover during my session at the BarCamp Chandigarh?

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Announcing Batch 3 – New startups & new gang members

The MVP gang just got bigger with the addition of 10 new startups and 20 new founders , taking the total to 20 companies and 40 founders. Read the official media release here.

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Personally I am very excited with this new batch, already been learning a lot of stuff.

  • How are high-quality designers t-shirts made? Starting right from the thread (Scopial)
  • How do you help a second hand car buyer make his decision? (veriCAR)
  • Insider’s view on how do doctors manage their clinics (Naabo)
  • How to create measurable out of home media? (AdScoot)
  • How can you apply the Easy Cab model to the real estate industry? (EasySquareFeet)
  • How good is the “customer experience” at Food & Grocery departmental stores with special focus on juices section? (Retail Vector)
  • Is India going to see a Robotics Revolution? How hip are the girls of NID (Robots Alive – they are incubated @ National Institute of Design. We visited them last month)
  • What do final year students need to prepare well for campus interviews? (InterviewStreet)
  • The only reason Small business Owners in India file tax returns is to get bank loans. (ReachTax)

Xtreme Startups team is excited to announce “Startup Morning” in Bangalore

Start-up Morning/Evening” events are organized with the support and help from a lot of friends in the startup community. Previous editions of the event have been held Mumbai, Bangalore, Chandigarh and Pune. In all events we were more than houseful on the capacity, participation was intense and interesting discussions took place. Read coverage here.

Recently, these events are organized under the Xtreme Startups banner. Xtreme Startups is a Non-Profit initiative to support /promote entrepreneurship. This edition of Xtreme Startups is supported by NSRCEL – IIMB, Chitkara University , Morpheus Venture Partners (MVP) and Startupnews.in.

The first Xtreme Startup event was organized in Chandigarh a couple of weeks back, details

Date: 24 May, 2009 (Sunday)

Time: 10:00 am – 01:00 pm

Speakers: Three start-up founders will share their experiences of starting a venture, sustaining it and taking it to the next level.

Phanindra Sama, Founder & CEO www.redbus.in

Phanindra is the co-founder and CEO of redBus, India’s largest bus tickets aggregator in just over 2 years of operations! He has a honors from BITS Pilani, and worked with Texas Instruments before he co-founded redBus. redBus was born out of a personal need and a market failure. Today redBus’s distribution spans across 75000+ outlets in the country! More…

Prateek & Nithya Dayal, Founders www.muziboo.com

Nithya and Prateek Dayal, a husband and wife duo run Muziboo. Prateek, a B.Tech graduate from IIT Guwahati takes care of technology and Nithya, the community. Both the founders believe in bootstrapping and harnessing the online medium to grow an internet business. Muziboo’s success lies in its emphasis on building a “community” for musicians & music lovers, as against being another file sharing platform. Professional & non-professional musicians ranging from free lancers & audio-engineers to enthusiastic hobbyists use the muziboo platform extensively! Prateek blogs at www.prateekdayal.net/blog and Nithya at www.nithyadayal.com/blog.

Himanshu Khurana, Co-founder & CMO www.lifemojo.com

Himanshu Khurana graduated from NSIT Delhi and worked at Trilogy for 3 years. He later went on to experience the startup world at ngpay(JiGrahak). After 2 years, he founded iStrait with two of his friends, Namit Nangia and Varun Gupta.  LifeMojo provides easy access to preventive health care experts and necessary tracking tools. It also has a platform that helps preventive  health care providers to run and scale-up their existing operations. Launched in November of 2009, they are adding users at a fast pace. Himanshu blogs at hkhurana.wordpress.com. Lifemojo is a MVP portfolio

Audience: Start-up founders / entrepreneurs

Format

  • Event will be attended by 30-40 start-up founders / entrepreneurs
  • The event brings together Startup Founders to share experiences and interact with other start-ups in an informal manner
  • The other guests, like you, will typically be experienced entrepreneur / investor / a person from the start-up ecosystem
  • Participation is “invite only”, concentrated group of Startup Founders and others in the startup ecosystem
  • There is no fee for attending the event
  • Refreshments will be provided at the event

What will you gain from the event?

  • Opportunity to interact with others in the startup ecosystem
  • Share and learn from each others experiences in running businesses
  • Potential to meet a business partner, investor, employee, etc.
  • Opportunity to build a strong startup community

Invite Only: It’s an invite only event. In case would like to attend write to indus AT morpheusventure DOT com OR info AT startupnews DOT in, with your full name and a brief introduction of your startup / venture.

See you on Sunday!

Xtreme Startups presents: Startup Morning

Announcing the first Startup Morning event in Chandigarh. The event is being organized by Xtreme Startups – a Non-Profit initiative to support / promote entrepreneurship. Xtreme Startups is supported by Chitkara University , Morpheus Venture Partners (MVP) and Startupnews.in

Event Details:

Start-up Morning/Evening” events are organized with the support and help from a lot of friends in the startup community. Previous editions of the event have been held Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune. In all events we were more than houseful on the capacity, participation was intense and interesting discussions took place. Read coverage here.

Xtreme Startups team is excited to announce the first “Startup Morning” in Chandigarh Tri-City:

Date: 10 May, 2009 (Sunday)

Time: 10:30 am – 01:00 pm

Venue: Chitkara Educational Trust, Administrative Office: Saraswati Kendra,  Plot  No. 11-12, Dainik Bhaskar Building,
Dakshin Marg, Chandigarh-160 014. Phone: 91.172.4617770

Audience: Start-up founders and select students

Invite Only: Its a invite only event. In case would like to attend write to sameer AT morpheusventure DOT com

Format

  • Event will be attended by 20-25  founders of start-ups from Chandigarh-tricity area and around 20-30 students
  • The event brings together Startup Founders from the region to share experiences and interact with other start-ups in an informal manner
  • The other guests, like you, will typically be experienced entrepreneur / investor / a person from the start-up ecosystem
  • Participation is “invite only”, concentrated group of Startup Founders and others in the startup ecosystem
  • There is no fee for attending the event
  • Refreshments will be provided at the event

What will you gain from the event?

  • Opportunity to interact with others in the startup ecosystem
  • Share and learn from each others experiences in running businesses
  • Potential to meet a business partner, investor, employee, etc.
  • Opportunity to build a strong startup community in the Chandigarh Tri-City region

See you on Sunday! (for invites write to sameer AT morpheusventure DOT com)

MVP makes a splash in Chandigarh newspapers!

Well – we did a media interaction yesterday in Chandigarh in collaboration with TiE to spread the world on entrepreneurship in the region and guess what? All three major newspaper have carried the article today :-)

  • Hindustan Times: Let’s Talk Business
  • The Tribune: Recession override (Scroll down to find the article)
  • The IndianExpress: What an Idea! (Link will be updated later. After looking for fifteen minutes I realized Indian express has not uploaded the today’s news paper on its website – now that’s an Idea which does not make sense to me)

LPU, MVP and TIE event – Aadhaar- Laying foundations for Budding Entrepreneurs

The MVP team will be conducting a full day event on entrepreneurship  @ Lovely Professional University , on 2 April 2009, in collaboration with LPU & TIE. Details below. I am very excited about the event and look forward to interacting with the students.

LPU has built a state of the art campus near Jalandhar with around 30k students already attending various courses.Aadhaar Invite

TiE Luminaries session with Sameer Guglani and Nandini Hirianniah

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Image via Wikipedia

(This post got deleted as part of some migration – putting it up again)

The MVP team will be doing an interaction about entrepreneurship and sharing the entrepreneurial journey with the audience at the “TiE Luminaries session” on Thursday 26 March 2009.

Mr J S Bedi, Chairman Gian Jyoti Institute of Management and Technology has coordinated with TiE Chandigarh to have the session at their campus:

Address: Gian Jyoti Institute of Management & Technology,
Phase-2, S.A.S Nagar (Mohali)

The session will start at 3 PM. In case you are planning to attend, we request all of you to be there on time.

Looking forward to meeting some interesting folks.

Y Combinator Gets The Sequoia Capital Seal Of Approval

Techcrunch reports the news about 2 million investment in YC from Sequoia and prominent angel investors (Ron Conway, Paul Buchheit and Aydin Senku) . They also report that YC will now be doing 60 companies / year, up from 40 / year.

This is another big validation for the business accelerator model pioneered by YC and adopted by folks like techstars, seedforum and MVP. The premise of model is that the cost of doing business has gone down significantly. With the right support, guidance and capital of around 15-20K USD it is very much possible for team of Young, Talented , Focused and Passionate entrepreneurs to build a business with significant value. Which means businesses with good user traction, evolved products and business processes, revenues, break-even and more.

These initiatives are obviously good for the VC industry, and its good to see it officially recognized. The specialized and organized support for the super early startups is resulting in stronger startups, which means returns on the investments of the VC firms will be higher and more number of VC investments will lead to creation of successful companies.

Another important aspect of this model is the special focus and availability of active support from founders of companies working alongside in the same batch as well the alumni founders. All of these folks have experienced creating real companies and have unique capabilities, contacts and experience which proves useful for other folks part of the program at YC  / Techstars / Seedforun / MVP.

Read my previous about “First time entrepreneurs (FTEs) – Building businesses in India“.

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First time entrepreneurs (FTEs) – Building businesses in India

Just read the couple of articles written by Paul Graham : Y Combinator (answers what exactly does YC do?  or  Seedcamp, Techstars, MVP etc ) and Equity (explains why should you give 5-6% equity to a program like YC)

The thoughts expressed got me thinking about how should First Time Entrepreneurs (FTEs) go about building businesses in India. While a lot is in common between the approaches of YC, SC and MVP there are a bunch of things unique to the Indian Ecosystem which FTEs should consider.

Uniqueness of India

First things first, only during the last 10 years India has started seeing bootstrapped or garage startups by talented, educated, experienced and passionate folks who dont have access to a lot of capital but have the skills, will to solve problems and the staying power. The number of successes out of these have been limited and have not been really publicized for folks to get inspired by or learn from.

The VC industry is just about 8-10 years old in India as compared to 50-60 years in US and Europe; among them majority of the funds in India are under 5 years old. VC being a long gestation industry we are a good 5-10 years away from seeing major VC success in India. Most of the firms are focusing on the existing pipeline deals in the market and there are quite of few of these available – companies by serial entrepreneurs, companies started by Executives (CXO, VPs) from large companies, some of FTE companies where the traction is fairly significant, also since PE sector has performed very well and the bigger funds are shifting time and money to PE  deals. Clearly all of the above are the right things to do for the Indian VC firms, since the firms need to perform for their investors. None of this directly supports the FTEs, which is where the gap that needs to be filled in.  We need to create new pipeline of deals that will become successful startups and will feed into the VC pipeline 1-2 years later. That’s the role folks like MVP, iAccelerator, Upstart.in and others are attempting to play.

Another dimension of difference is IT / internet. The penetration of Internet and PCs in India is quite limited (9 computer for every 1000 people, as compared to 700 for every 1000 in USA). On the other hand the awareness and usage of IT in companies, specially SMEs is limited as well. There are a lot of other fundamental needs to be fulfilled in India (remember we are a developing country).

FTEs in India: What to focus on ?

First thing to ensure is to build a cash flow positive business within the initial capital that you have managed to raise (self, friends, family, fools). Keep lowest possible costs and create early revenues. Expenses should ideally be below 50,000 INR and in no circumstances higher than 1,00,000 INR a month.

Dont think of funding as a validation for your venture. Be prepared to wait longer, to build your business to the 50-100 crore revenues in 7-10 years, with VC funding coming after 2-3 years of being in business or no VC funding at all. If this does not appeal – don’t do a startup.

Internet only business models targetting indian market are not going to viable for atleast 2 years ( or more). View internet as a cheap way to build products and get the initial users with zero marketing budgets. From day one build alternate channels : mobile, call center, SMS, kiosks , shops , sales team into your model. Use technology as a enabler to drive costs down and to drive quaity upwards, but do not depend on customers using it directly via internet.

If your idea only lends itself to internet, think about doing it for developed markets like US and Europe.  India still has lower costs and we are very bullish on build here – sell to the developed world model.

So while you take into consideration the universal wisdom of building businesses, paying attention to the uniqueness of India can make an big impact on the outcome of your venture.