XtremeStartups Chandigarh: Startup evening on 20 June

Xtreme Startups – a Non-Profit initiative to support / promote entrepreneurship is back again in Chandigarh with this months edition of Startup Evening.

Xtreme Startups is supported by Chitkara University, Morpheus Venture Partners (MVP) & Startupnews.in

This month Xtreme Startups will be on: June 20, 2009 Saturday

Between: 15:00 – 18:00hrs

Audience: Startup founders and select students

Discussion topic: Crossing the Chasm – how to scale the business once you have a few paid customers and initial traction. Everything from expanding the team, building products to raising funds and the challenges post that.

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.

If you want to bring XtremeStartups to your city / campus, do get in touch with us!

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

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

Want to be a part of this event?

Send a mail to nandiniATmorpheusventureDOTcom with a brief introduction about you and your venture.

Feel free to invite / bring along other entrepreneurs / startup founders you know.  Spread the word!

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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)

Startup Fair’09: Hire talent

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The Entrepreneurship Development Cell (EDC), IIT Roorkee is organising a Startup Fair’09, in association with CSI, NSIT Delhi, to facilitate Startups to recruit.

Date:      Saturday, 25th April’09
Venue: Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology (NSIT), Delhi

The  Startup Fair will be a platform for established startups, looking  to expand their team, to hire interested talent from IIT Roorkee and NSIT Delhi as fresh recruits (final yr students) and internees (pre-final yr students).

An excellent opportunity for Startups to reach out to the active student community. 15 startups and 150 student candidates are expected to participate in the event.
Spread the word!

RSVP:

Sudhir Manchanda
Entrepreneurship Development Cell,
IIT Roorkee
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Participating in IIT Roorkee E-summit

I am looking forward to participate in IIT Roorkee E-Summit @ 18-19 April 2009.  I am not taking my laptop, it will be a good break from my regular schedule, campuses are always good places to spend time at, students are so full of energy.

I am doing quite a few things as part of the event:

  • Giving a talk  on “Accelerating your Startup“,
  • Participating in a panel discussion  “What investors want?
  • Mentoring startups in the “Mentoring Clinic
  • And judging finals of the B-plan competition – ARTH

If you are planning to attend the summit, lets catch up this weekend @ IIT R.

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Here are my notes for the talk on Accelerating your Startup, would love to get your inputs as well.

  • Get out of planning and discussion phase
  • Commit to deadlines
  • Make decisions
  • Execute, execute , execute
  • Translating dreams to idea
  • The art of zooming in: entrepreneurs always start with a grand vision, the art is to zoom into a small part of the vision and start by doing it well.
  • Cost management,  Time management  (use tools like : spread sheets , desksway , white boards)
  • Force yourself to release / launch fast
  • Go get real users ->improve their life
  • Start efforts to monetize the users
  • Its possible to apply agile techniques to all parts of your business ( 2 week release cycles)
  • Ensure Quality, quality comes with care. Build products that are dream come true for your customers.
  • While building your products, go around with your laptop, show it people in in cafe – get feedback, talk about it
  • Measure, Measure, Measure – what can be measured can be managed
  • The winning formula: 10L and 12 months
    • Upfront capital expense : 2 L
    • One year running expense @ 50 k / month = 6 L
    • Buffer: 2 L
    • Ensure revenues of company are higher than 50 k / month before the end of 12 months
    • You are cash flow positive, no dependencies on investors
    • You have got people to pay for your service / product – you are in good company (All of the long lasting tech companies figured the monetization very early : apple , google, ebay, paypal, MS, amazon , skype)
    • You have survied 1 year – you are on your way to success

Interaction @ Chandigarh OCC : 17th April, 2009

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CHANDIGARH

Chitkara University, one of the most popular educational institutes in the Punjab/ Chandigarh region, are initiating the First Open Cofee Club in Chandigarh.

The inauguration and and first OCC Chandigarh meetup is backed by Chitkara E-Cell (Entrepreneurial Development Cell).

Details below:

Date:       17 April, 2009

Time:      3pm to 5pm

Venue: Chitkara Corp Office, Plot No-11-12, Dainak Bhaskar Building, Sector-25D, Chandigarh

Nandini and I have been invited to interact with the OCC Chandigarh members.

If you are around, come by. Lets meetup and share our experiences as startup entrepreneurs!

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

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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WWWN (Part 2): Presentations & Pitches

Previous post in the WWWN series : Extreme Marketing

(WWWN = Whats working whats not)

Creating Business Presentations and pitching your venture to people is an essential part of a startup founder’s job. The audience can be angel investors, VCs, potential partners, potential employees, potential acquirers, bar-campers, OCC guys etc. I have looked through quite a lot of presentations, have worked on a number of presentation / pitches with start-up founders and of course did more than 30 versions of the business presentation and 80+ pitches for madhouse. Here are some points that are good to know while working on presentations & pitches.

Creating the Business presentation / pitch:

  • Present only 10-15 slides, nothing more than that
  • Consider tailoring the presentation a little bit; keeping the target audience in mind
  • Suggested slides (see example presentation below)
    • Title slide
    • Summary / Highlights (4-6 bullets, high level business summary)
    • Market size / market opportunity
    • Business Overview / Business Metrics (these are not financials)
      • Current Numbers and Projected Numbers 6 or 12 months from now
      • Numbers that represent your business the best and  show the audience that you are running and presenting a real business
      • Example: Visitors, users, registered users, active users, revenues, products released, customer acquisition cost, number of outlets, employees etc
    • Team
    • Problem the venture is solving
    • Service / Product (how it is different than other available alternatives)
    • Sales and marketing strategy
    • Key Challenges
    • Competition
    • Financial Projections (optional for very early stage ventures)
    • Closing slide
  • Exit Strategy
    • Don’t have this as a slide. Just talk about it towards the end while presenting or when asked
    • Don’t promise exits in 2-3 years, any good business takes 5-7 years, that the horizon for angel investors
  • Team slide
    • Have it as 3 or 4th slide, not later than that
  • Financials
    • Dont show projections beyond 1 year in your presentation.
    • For young startups, no one really knows what will happen beyond even 6 months.
    • Claiming you know what will happen beyond one year is not a smart idea
    • Have 3-5 year projections ready if people ask for it but do not claim accuracy of these, say that there are based on our current assumptions. We believe things will change significantly over the next 6-12 months and we will rework these accordingly.
  • Create an appendix section to include additional details of slides
    • Org structure
    • Product screen shots (too many screen shots right now, need to reduce and show clear flow)
    • Details of market size etc, graphs etc
  • Don’t use “colorful” backgrounds. Keep a white background : simple, clean and readable
  • Use uniform font size and color:
    • Arial is one of the most readable fonts
    • Choose a font color for “Slide title”, go for the dominant color from your logo
    • Maintain the same color and size in all slides. Font size between 36-44 is good for slide title
    • Use black color for all the body text in the presentation
    • Use same font size for all body text. Font size between 14-18 is good for body text
  • Once you do an initial version of the presentation, there will surely be too much TEXT in the presentation, now you need to “DETEXT” – that means edit and cut off all unnecessary text, remove all words that don’t add any value
  • Have small and crisp points. Most bullet points should be one line or max 1.5 line long. Don’t have any para type of bullets. Split longer points into smaller bullets
  • Vary the presentation of content : break the monotony , give visual breaks and create interest
    • Use different content layouts – dont have only “bullet lists” in each slide
    • Try one column bullet slide, two column bullet, 1/2/3 tabular formats
    • Be be careful not to over do it, use the most suitable format to present the content and do not use something because you have to use it
  • Don’t use language that is too “Domain specific” . Use language that is simple and can be understood by people who are not “Domain experts”
  • Not everything needs to be written on the slides, many-a-times we tend to pack each slide with all that we want to say and making the slide text heavy. Human attention span is very low and no one reads all of the information-loaded slides. Hi-light the important points and keep the rest for oral / spoken presentation. This will prevent the main/important points from getting lost.
  • Keep the size of presentation less than 1 MB, many mail servers block 1MB and more attachments and anyways they take more time to load/view.
  • Presentations become large due to use of heavy images, use the compress images feature of MS Powerpoint to reduce the presentation size. Choose web/email resolution for images.
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Pitching the Startup

  • Be humble. Remember – Humility disarms.
  • Be calm, composed and confident.
  • Always, always be on time. Never miss an appointment. For god’s sake put the appointments on all your calenders, start early, keep a buffer of 30-60 minutes. Keep people informed if you are about to get delayed.  In more than 50% meetings founders show up late or don’t show up at all. This is a serious damage to the reputation of the startup.
  • Show up clean and presentable. I am not advocating a formal look, be causal if you like so, be formal if you like so. But keep your self clean and presentable. Don’t look PUNK.
  • Crack a joke, tell an anecdote, make general conversation, figure out a connection. Before jumping into the presentation, create a comfort level, break the ice.
  • Weave a story. Don’t just show a stand-alone slide, weave a story around the venture, create interest, tell how you came up with the idea, etc. Engage the audience.
  • The passion, commitment, involvement, confidence and energy needs of the team to come thru. So turn it on, talk enough about the team, its all about people.
  • Don’t look cold or unconcerned.
  • Focus on now and may be next 3-12 months. Spend most time on plans / features/ revenues etc of now and of next 12 months at max, dont keep talking about things that will happen beyond that – people are interested in your immediate future – beyond that no one really knows what will happen.
  • Multiple people presenting is always very tricky and can be problematic. Its best if you can choose one person from the team to present. In case you decide on multiple presenters, work very hard on the hand-overs. Try to just have two sections, presenter 1 does section and presented 2 does section 2 – No back and forth.
  • Product demo: jump into the product demo as soon as possible. Show the real stuff and the impact will be 10-20x as compared to “prepared slides”
  • Listen! Listen! Listen! Many times folks who you are presenting to will say stuff. Be very patient in listening to them. Give them respect and let them complete, before you talk. Don’t be overtly defensive, be open to suggestions/feedback. Give your response and answers in a structured manner. Many presenters start answering before the person talking has finished.
  • If you are asked a question whose answer you dont know or are not sure about, its totlaly cool to say “I dont know the answer, but let me try or I will get back to you “.  Dont try any BS, if you dont know the answer.
  • Make note of action items (mostly stuff to get back on ) which come out of the presentation and make sure you do get back 100% on or before the promised due date. Again here more than 70% founders will miss promised deadlines or not get back at all, just by doing this you can get into the top 30%.
  • Have your set of questions as well, which you would like to ask the audiences of investors, partners, bar campers etc.
  • Practice! Practice! Practice! – you can never do it enough. Practice in front of people  – take feedback and improve.

Couple of bonus TIPs from Ankit

If your audience is a potential investor:

  • Be very clear what you need money for. You can skip it from the slides. This is a question, which surely is going to be asked, if investors are showing even a little interest in your startup.
  • This part has to be extremely clear in your mind. You should be ready to tell how do you plan to spend the money.
  • One thing common to most of the VCs is that they are good with numbers, that is their core area.
  • Testimonials can provide good customer validation.

If your audience is barcampers:

  • Try not to pitch your company directly. Start explaining some concept, and then plug in your company as a case study.
  • For example, a few years ago, Rashmi Sinha used to give presentation on Taxonomy, tagging etc and then she used to plug in Slideshare as a case study.

(Thanks to Ankit, Indus and Nandini for reviewing the post and giving valuable inputs)

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