Power of Idea

31 01 2008

This is one of the most sort of terminologies we hear. All of us have ideas – ideas in our daily life, work, home etc. Then what is “Power of an Idea?” When you read an interview of any successful businessman or when you talk to people who run companies (entrepreneurs), one thing which you commonly hear is the power of an idea. Many aspiring entrepreneurs ask this question in forums – What do VC’s look for? and again, the common answer is “The idea”.

Let us examine this term with few known examples which created history.

We all know that the first attempt to fly was made by Wright Brothers in 1903, and also, most of us think that an airplane was invented at that time. But actually, the first draft of an airplane was made by Leonardo da Vinci in the 15 Century. This was the time an idea was born. After that, after close to 400 years, Wright Brothers dreamed big and brought out the idea of flying and today, we just cannot live without an airplane.

To quote a more recent example, Ratan Tata dreamed of having a common man’s car. He noticed the family of four going on a 2 wheeler without any space to anyone. He wanted to transform the way we travel and today, we know what the answer is.  When compared to GE, HM, Honda, Hyundai etc etc, Tata Motors is a small automobile company. But, how could they change an idea of car?

The above two examples make us think. An ‘idea’ is the way you look at things. All of us have ideas, to change the way we live or to create something which can help solve an existing problem. However, the result of the idea is left to the individual who thinks through it. At times, an idea or thought process becomes bigger than the thinker himself.

Another example we can think of is of Mohammad Yunus of Grameen Bank. He started small around 25 years back to provide support to “Bottom of Pyramid” group to enable them to live for themselves. What we see today is a transformation in life-style. Today, many countries in the world would want to replicate the same model to improve living conditions in their region.

Idea is powerful and it can really create history. However, the main ingredient of the idea is the committment of the thinker. In our airplane example, probably Leonardo did not have access to all the information and material required to fly in his time, but when the time came, the idea was re-born. This is the power of an idea.

What VC’s look for in entrepreneurs is their committment to their idea. The idea might not create history, but will it solve a particular problem is what is evaluated.

The first thing you do when you have an idea, is to live it up!

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HeadStart 2009

29 01 2008

HeadStart 2009 is going to be organized on the 9 / 10 /11 January 2009.  Details will be published at the earliest to provide you with ample time for the preparation.

If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, entrepreneur, student, industry leader or an academician, you need to be there. Please visit HeadStart for more updates and join Friends of KickStart mailing list to receive updates regularly.





Bangalore Blogathon

28 01 2008

The Blogalorean community has decided to have its first ever Blogathon during March 2008. This even runs for a week and bloggers get to write/comment/critic on various thoughts.

All details pertaining to the event are available on Blogathon web site. So, am not going to re-write anything here 🙂

Join the Blogalorean community (there are certain guidelines) and also follow us on twitter to know more about the event.





Innovation Series #1

26 01 2008

Going forward, I would like to write on my learnings on Innovation, Strategy, interesting information on Entrepreneurship and introduce you to books and sites which can provide you with loads of information regarding these topics. I name this series as “Innovation Series #<No>” and you can filter all posts on this topic using tags – Innovation, Strategy.
Let me begin this week with some interesting information and links: Fidelity Ventures PresentationsVery interesting presentations available. Especially I like the presentation on “Positioning Technology Companies for Success” in which there is a very practical depiction of “Magic Quadrant” which is very important for any organization to showcase itself.
Building Teams is another good one where the speaker is concentrating on how do you build, recognize and manage teams which produce results.
The Joy of fund raising is a good point to start before you make your first investor pitch.
When you write your business plan, one key aspect which you cannot miss to pen down is “Exit Strategy”. You will need to have this section which brings clarity to yourself and your investors.
Managing Successful Exit gives you an insight into this.

State of Indian EntrepreneurshipSanjeev Bikchandani, on his blog wrote about State of Indian Entrepreneurship.
A nice read and this is what i have to say -” That was very thoughtful Sanjeev. Yes, as you mentioned there are various organizations who are promoting entrepreneurship. I just wanted to throw light on BarCamps which are fast becoming forums for like minded people which deserve a noble mentioning keeping the returns in mind. Likewise, we just concluded HeadStart yesterday which focused on showcasing entrepreneurial spirit and also brought investors, academicians, entrepreneurs together.Coming to the “slow down”, yes, we need to be worried, but IMHO a person who believes in his/her ideology and passion need not bother about it. However, one needs to assess risks and ensure there is always a risk mitigation plan in place. When you write your business plan, always has answer to the other side of your proposal – this would be a lot of help.”
Buy and Sell IdeasDid you know that there is a market for buying and selling ideas? Yes, there is. Visit Idea Pages and you will know. Idea Pages provides you a platform to list your idea and will link you and the party interested in your idea so that you can either sell/partnership with the prospect to bring your idea to life 🙂
Angel Group Financing has an interesting e-book on Venture Capital information for Entrepreneurs.
You will need to visit The Institute of Innovation and Information Productivity web site to get some interesting information on these topics. Read the IIIP Innovation confidence Index for 2007 which says Asia shows most enthusiasm for Innovation. Interesting data.
Blogs on EntrepreneurshipSramana Mitra, Paul Graham have interesting writings on Entrepreneurship.
Forbes Midas list has the list of worlds top 25 Venture Capitalist’s and there are 3 Indian names with Ram Shriram at number 3.
Refresh yourself and smile, after you see this comic strip on Web 2.0.





HeadStart – Testimonials

21 01 2008

During the closing session of HeadStart, there were loads of comments which came in from participants present there. I am not going to write them here, but will consolidate and get them at a later stage. Also, we have received few emails personally. This is the first time we organized this and these feedbacks motivate us to do more. If you have any feedback regarding our “need for improvement” do not hesitate to send us and we will try to work on them. If you would like to keep hearing from us, please subscribe to friends-of-kickstart.





HeadStart Day 3 – Afternoon Session

20 01 2008

Afternoon session started with Mr Deepak Srinivasan‘s thoughts on Product Management.

Role of a Product Manager:

  • Owns the business plan of the product.
  • Has a 360 degree view of the prodcut
  • THE go to resource for all questions, decisions
  • Directs Life cycle, Engagements
  • Is the “CEO Jr.” of the prodcut.
  • Creates
    • Spots the opportunity
    • Sells the plan
  • Manages
    • Life Cycle
    • Socialization
    • Executive Board
  • Coordinates
    • Finance
    • HR
    • Sales
    • Development
  • Directs
    • Program Management
    • Product Marketing
    • Internal Evangelization
    • Business Development
  • Product Requirements Document
  • Market Requirements Definition
  • Role in Innovation
    • Socialize – Meet people and talk to them
    • Gather – Listen, Find, Stimulate and Conveive
    • Culture – Receptivity, Recognize and Rejection
  • Hiring
    • Engaged
    • Passionate
    • Reflective
    • Gatherer
    • Hunter
    • Visualizer
    • Communicator
    • Integrity
    • Rule Breaker
    • Leader
  • Product Management 2.0
  • Markets have changed forever
    • A segment of One
    • A Million Segments
    • All need addressing
  • Delivery has changed forever
    • Real-time
    • Re-usable
    • Re-combinant
  • Real-time PM
    • Strategy
    • Delivery
    • Operational
  • Startups
    • Help replicate thinking
    • Helps reduce I/O, improves productivity
    • Engineering delight
    • Independent voice to Shareholders, Board
    • Greatly improves chances of success
  • Grow up
    • PMs most often manage people that outrank them or dont report to them.
    • CEO, Executive team should communicate and reinforce the universality of the role.
    • Share the role and introduce the PM to your Board of Directors.
    • Have project, program management and product marketing report into PM.
  • So you reap..
    • Its never 2 early, its habit forming – that’s good
    • Retrofitting a PM culture is often impossible
    • PM’s make some of the best founders, CEO’s
    • You owe it to your business, your shareholders.

Deepak recommends Crossing the Chasm for understanding how to sell to customers.

You can write to Deepak at deepak {AT} mobiance {dot} com

Cost based funding and Startup Culture – Ashwin Masheh, MapUnity

  • Recipe for Success 🙂
    • Don’t have any money
    • Want to retain autonomy/control
    • Want to survive, even prosper
    • Want to work with large firms and develop scale
    • Want to attract talented people at affordable pay
  • Problem with selling
    • Pre-conceived ideas of rich/poop and their needs
    • Cash cow syndrome
    • Low impact, as a startup
    • Financial uncertainty
    • Cultural implications
  • Technology Ecosystem
    • Offline workbench
      • Client-side software that can allow data to be created offline, and synced with online platform data.
    • Independent, domai-specific APIs
      • OpenLayers-based application interface allows other software developers to build on top of the Mapunity platform. Custom APIs for specific domains – traffic, shopping, health, etc – will also be developed
    • Geo-search and indexing
      • Hierarchical as well as spatial searches possible, as is searching across databases and communities hosted on single platform.
  • GIS Telecom synergies
    • Call origin Mapping
    • Mobile data collection and query
    • Device-linked software development
  • Other focus areas of MapUnity
    • energy hub
    • mapmedia GIS
    • e-City
    • udhavi
    • relief GIS

This concludes the 2 day HeadStart for 2008. Look for more updates on http://www.HeadStart.in and http://www.KickStart.in

Do write to me (hari {AT} kickstart {dot} in) or leave a comment on any of these posts if you want to get in touch with our team.





HeadStart Day 3 – Morning Session

20 01 2008

Here we are; the last day of HeadStart 2008. The morning session started with key note presentation by Dr Peter Hofstee, Chief Scientist, IBM Research at Almaden Research Center, USA on Cell Broadband Engine.

Srini Vudayagiri LightSpeed VenturePartners

  • The largest Venture Capital is Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) with $1.2 Trillion in portfolio
  • Create a value for Stakeholders is the key in Entrepreneurship
With wireless sleep technology, people in my dreams can sent email to people in your dreams 🙂
  • Screening Ideas: 5 Questions
    • What important customer problem can you solve?
    • How are you going to do it?
    • How many customers are there that are willing to buy from you?
    • Why can only you provide the solution?
    • How can you defent against others?
  • Identify stakeholders – Who are they?
    • Do i want to become famous or do I want to be rich?
  • Identify Consumers
    • Consumers for Mobile space today in India are majorly in ABCD (Aaya, Bhai, Carpenter & Driver) consumer segment.
  • Funding Partner
    • Startup costs
    • Marginal costs
  • Capital / Financial Markets
    • M&A options for growth
    • Exists
    • Scarcity value: education/retail
    • Liquidity – local/global
  • How many Digital Signage companies got funded in India in last 5 Yrs? – 6 Companies
  • Employees
    • Talent Pool / quantity
    • Perceived positioning of sector
    • Compensation
  • Regulators
  • Analysis of Business Ideas
    • Truly new, novel and innovative ideas < 3%-4%
    • Rest 96% are Enhancement to existing ideas
  • Few thoughts of Srini
    • Most businesses fail in les than 2 years
    • Less than 1% of the business plans submitted to VCs get funded
    • Failures are PLANNED by lack of planning
    • VC funding does not mean me the business is path breaking/disruptive.

You can write to Srini with any questions/project proposals – srini {AT} lightspeedvp {dot} com

Startup Funding – Ganapathy Subramaniam, myDuniya

  • Entrepreneurship
    • Possessed by a Grand Vision
    • Market driven approaches
      • Products for a upcoming market
      • New ways of addressing an existing market innovative delivery
    • Capability Driven approach
      • Build a compelling busines model
  • Funding sources
    • Seed Investors (Friends, Family, Angel Networks, Early Stage VCs , Corporates, Incubators, Customer, Partners)
    • Venture Capitalists
    • Special funding programs (TDB etc)
  • An important aspect of checking your business plan is going to Seed Investors.
  • VCs Checklist
    • Vision Congruence
    • Large and growing opportunity?
    • Tam fully committed to the cause?
    • Experience relevant and sufficient?
    • Can the business model be validated?
    • Is it scalable and defensible?
    • Are the risks acceptable?
    • How can the risks be mitigated / eliminated?
  • VC Interaction Challenges
    • Small no. of deals get transacted per partner/firm/industry
    • Getting to reach/deserved attention is tough
      • Art of getting introduced
      • Elevator pitch
    • Research/Reference/Focus
    • Selling the idea to the partner/firm
  • VC Engagement Cycle
    • 3-9 Months for fund raising
    • No/interesting in a week
    • Multiple intensive interactions
    • Progress to Term sheet in 4-10 weeks
    • Closing in addition
  • Valuation
    • Rule of thumb/comparables
    • Competition/market factors drives prices
    • Serial entrepreneurs get a healthy premium
    • Alighment of interest and balance of motivation
    • Valuation + Conditions!

With this, the morning session concluded. Its lunch time. In thepost-lunch session, we have Product Management by Deepak Srinivasan and Cost based funding & culture in startup’s by Ashwin Mahesh. So, stay tuned.