Tag Archives: VC

Pune Incubator body ISBA launches Rs. 55cr venture capital fund

The VC Circle blog has just posted information about a new venture capital fund launched by a Pune based association – Indian STEP and Business Incubators Association (ISBA). ISBA is an association of startup/business incubators, incubatee startups, and other people interested in this ecosystem.

The fund will focus on sector-agnostic investments in companies with no proven track record.

Arihant Group, a company engaged in steel manufacturing in Pune, has contributed a major chunk to this fund while the other investor in the fund is Mumbai-based Adventa Infratructure Pvt Ltd.


The fund looks at an average investment of Rs 2.5 crore, and expects equity stake somewhere between 5% and 30% in investee companie

The ISBA was set up in 2004 and aims to promote business incubation activities in the country through exchange of information, sharing of experience, and other networking assistance among Indian Business Incubators, Science and Technology Entrepreneurs Parks (STEPs) and other related organizations engaged in the promotion of start-up enterprises.

These are the planned activities of ISBA:

» Provide advice on finding out the requirements and conditions for starting an incubator, creating business plan, recruiting incubator managers, and incubator development issues;
» Maintain and update a data base containing the contact information of business incubation experts;
» Lobby for Indian incubators at national and international levels;
» To organize workshops, conferences, seminars, or training services;
» Publish a newsletter;
» To organize media conferences and other activities to create awareness about the incubator programme and get public participation;

For more information about ISBA, see it’s website.

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POCC MVP Startup Roadies: Meet Morpheus Venture Partners in Pune 21st Feb

What: POCC & MVP (Morpheus Venture Partners) bring Startup Roadies program to Pune
When: Saturday, 21st Feb. Book a slot anytime between 10am to 7pm
Where: Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research, Atur Centre, Model Colony. Map.
Registration and Fees: Send an e-mail to nandini [at] morpheusventure [dot] com with a short (less than 300 words) intro of your startup. Please mention your preferred time slot.

Pune OpenCoffee Club - POCC Logo

About Morpheus Venture Partners

MVP runs a business advisory and mentoring program for startups. MVP currently has portfolio of more than 10 companies. Some of the companies are: Instablogs, Commonfloor, Lifemojo, Fachak, Crederity, Deskaway, Sutra.

Sameer Guglani and Nandini Hirianniah are the founding partners @ MVP. Both of them are serial entrepenuers and started their first venture Madhouse Media in 2004. Madhouse was one of the first organized movie rentals players. They successfully exited the venture with the acquisition by Seventymm in July 2007. More Info

The Startup Roadies Program

We absolutely love to meet passionate entrepreneurs whose ventures are in idea stage (not started, but want to really start) or 1-12 months into the operation. The interaction will be completely informal. Formal dresses are not a must, we want to see you as your natural self, no need to bring any presentations or any financial projections. Just come have a chat with us. Get a demo if possible, get all members of your founding team. Just ensure that you arrive on time as per the allocated slot 😉

The goal of the exercise is to together explore solutions to some of the “tough business problems” you are dealing with. We could do that by offering advice and potential solutions based on our experience. We would also love to introduce you to relevant folks in our network who can add value – potential partners, experienced people in similar domain, potential investors etc.

At our end we are just excited to get an opportunity to meet you and learn from your experience and ideas. Each session will be conducted in the below mentioned structure

Where are we? (Get on the same page, understand the current status of the venture / idea)
  • Team introduction
  • Understanding your idea, market size, the problem your solving, how is your product/service different that current available solutions
  • Figure out the current status of the venture – in development, alpha, beta, launched
  • How much money is available to the team
Where do we want to go? (what are we looking to accomplish in the coming future)
  • Discuss, debate and get clarity on the goals & milestones for
    • Short term: 3 months
    • Medium term: 1 year
    • Long term: 3-5 years
How do we get there? (the most critical part where we together come up with the clear and measurable steps which will be taken to achieve the goals/milestones)
  • Given the current status and various goals, what is the best strategy to get there
  • How to proceed with execution
  • Best way to raise funding
  • Who are the folks to partner with
  • Make a list of action items out of the interaction
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Liveblogging CSI Pune’s Entrepreneurship Seminar

I’m at CSI Pune‘s Entrepreneurship Seminar. Please forgive the haphazardness and lack of flow/organization. I’m liveblogging. Hopefully, better structured articles will emerge after a few days.

Arrived late and missed Anand Deshpande’s Keynote address.

What do VCs look for

Manik Arora, Founder and Managing Director of IDG Ventures India is talking about how to approach a VC. How they decide who to fund.

How to contact a VC.
Don’t call or send email without any introduction. VCs like to hear about you from someone they trust. A customer, ideally. Or a known successful entrepreneur, seed investor, etc. Otherwise they have no idea how seriously to take you.

Also, ideally, a VC who is going to invest a huge amount of money in you, likes to feel that he knows you. So, he would be much more comfortable investing if he’s known you for an year or two. Which means that you should meet and interact with VCs even if you are not looking for funding. You don’t want funding right now, but an year from now, when you are looking, and if you’ve been “hanging out” with that VC for a while, he will feel much more comfortable.

The Business Plan
Is important. It’s main purpose is to ensure that VC wants to meet you. Should contain the:

  • Elevator pitch
  • Vision and Mission statement
  • Market and Industry Environment – Size, Segment, Growth, Issues/Trends
  • Value Proposition, Key Products/Services and Sustainable Differentiation
  • Competition strengths and weaknesses and Entry Barriers
    • Most Indian Business Plans don’t have this.
    • If this section is done really well, VC gets quickly interested.
    • Shows that you are a sophisticated business person, as opposed to a techie.
  • Business Model and Sales/Marketing Strategy
    • What is the revenue driver, and what is the cost drivers
  • Market Traction Achieved so far
    • This is hard for early stage investors
    • So you probably don’t have much, but important to show speed with which you got there
  • Management Team Bios/Details
  • Organization Structure
  • Financials – Historical Actuals, Forecasts; Cash Flow + P&L
  • Exit Options – Names, Comparables, Price Paid, Multiples
  • Capital Required – How much, for what, over what timeframe
  • Risks and Gaps – What could go wrong, what don’t you have

Details available at http://idgvcindia.com

Do you need experience? Yes.
Start in a large company, so you know what business is about, what process is about, and also what are weaknesses of a big business, that you can exploit.

The Pitch/First Meeting: “Credibility”

Preparation before the meeting

  • Show up a little early. (You’ll be surprised at how many people come late.)
  • Dress appropriately. 
  • Have practiced your pitch a couple of times. 
  • Have a presentation ready / bring a couple of print-outs

During the meeting

  • Don’t try to only make your points – listen to them too
  • Answer questions directly
  • Ask the VC questions – gauge the VCs knowledge and style. It is fine to decide that you don’t like the VC and would not want to work with him
  • Discuss the deal briefly, don’t worry about valuation/dilution just yet
  • Towards the end, ask the VC the process going forward 
  • Towards the end, ask the VC how he can add value
  • Leave with next-steps clear and follow-up if you think this is a VC you want to take money from

Panel Discussion

Moderator is Madhukar Bhatia of nFactorial Software. Panelists are Manik Arora of IDG Ventures (whose talk forms the top half of this article), Yoshima Somvanshi of NEN (National Entrepreneurship Network), Sandeep Kumar, MD of Product Dossier, Vishwas Mahajan, CEO of CompuLink, Ajay Phatak, MD of Jopasana, Rajeevlochan Phadke (CEO of Image Point Technologies, a very interesting company that I hope to write about in a separate post). 

What environment is needed for successful startups?

Manik: A risk-taking society is a must. A person must be willing to take a risk. His in-laws must be OK with this decision. People must be willing to fund him – angel, seed, VC. Another problem with startups in India is that biggest market, US is too far away. Having a large domestic market is key – and that is slowly growing. CIOs in India are now willing to buy locally. Must have large feeder companies, where people can be part of growth and experience it, and learn from it, and find co-founders at. 

Ajay: In the “risk taking society” an important ingredient is also risk taking customers.

Sandeep: Customers are not willing to trust Indian startups. Can’t be sure the company will be around after 10 years. And this isn’t just the customer’s problem, because success stories are not there.

Vishwas: Early advice he got: He had an idea, and went to someone for funding. Was told: don’t come to me until you have 5 customers. That will teach you a whole bunch of things. And you will be taken more seriously. You don’t know all the real requirements and complexities until you have real customers.

What are the trends?

Manik: I don’t look at trends anymore. Look at the team. For example, everybody thinks web is hot in India now. But the last time the web was hot, about 25 to 30 companies got funded, and only 4 or 5 are still around. And now if you see, most of the top 15 websites in the world are actually platform companies. What can you do that would really be new and interesting?

Students in Startups (How to attract people to startups, and retain them)

Yoshima: NEN just had a startup jobs program. In some college in Delhi they had a placement day just for startups. 25 jobs where offered and 18 were accepted. One of the things that worked well is the fact that students did internships with startups, and got an idea that the work is interesting.

(Very cool, I think we should try something like this in Pune -navin)

Manik: I see lots of people in Wipro who work 14-15 hour days. And salary is less than what the market pays. So why do they all stick around? Apparently, the answer lies in Premji’s philosophy – whenever a guy is 60 to 70% ready for the next level in the job, he is pushed into that responsibility. They are too busy with their responsibilities to worry about leaving.

Startups: Enter contests, make friends, win prizes

There is a spate of competitions for startups and wannabe startups that are all running currently. You should consider submitting an entry (or nominating yourself) since that doesn’t take up too much time, and can in some cases, get you some good publicity / visibility. And if you actually win, then that’s even better.

SIBM’s Endeavor 2008 Business Plan Competition

SIBM is proud to present Pitch Perfect 480 contest. This event seeks to provide an opportunity for the working professionals/start ups to gather momentum through Seed Funding.

The structure of the event is:

Registration opens and Invite Business Pitch Presentations: 10th September 2008 to 5nd October 2008

Short listing of best 12 Business Pitch Presentations: 05th November 2008

8 minute (that’s 480 seconds, hence the name of the contest) presentations by the selected teams at SIBM Campus:  15th November 2008

The top 2 teams would get an opportunity to compete for funding of Rs. 50 million.

We are pleased to inform you that Venture Capitalists like SEEDFund,  NEA-IndoUS Ventures, IndiaCo Ventures Ltd. have confirmed their participation in the event.

For registration: www.sibm.edu/endeavour08 or 
Contact organizing team: pitchperfect@sibm.net

IIT-Bombay’s EUREKA! Business Plan Contest

The Entrepreneurship Cell of IIT-Bombay is organizing EUREKA! The
Biggest International Business Plan Competition in Asia.

Prizes worth USD 50,000 are to be won with finalists getting a chance
to pitch in front of Mumbai Angels.

Teams will get a chance to represent India at the Intel-UC Berkeley
Innovation Challenge. Special Category this year is cleantech. Its simple to participate,
just log on to www.eureka.ecell.in

The Tata NEN startup popularity contest

Tata and NEN announce the first ever people’s choice Awards for great young companies, the TATA NEN Hottest Startups Awards launched on Aug 27!

Be part of this action!

Who’s involved?
TATA has joined with NEN to bring you the Awards, with support from Major Partners Helion, Seedfund, Mint and Wadhwani Foundation and from the entire entrepreneurial community to make this a great success. 
>> Check out the great list of partners and their participation.

A better world for Startups

We’re hoping to get more than 500 Nominations, and reach over 5,00,000 people. With this, Hottest Startups will be the largest, most comprehensive Awards recognizing and supporting high-growth startups in India. Let’s help make the world a better place for startups!

Know a great startup? Nominate.
This is a great opportunity for us to showcase the startups in our community.
The startups should be 5 years or younger, headquartered in India, and poised 
to shape their industries. Do you know any? Did we just describe your startup? >>Please go online and nominate.

Hot or not? You decide.
In this competition, you are one of the decision makers. As soon as a Nominee goes online, the voting opens for that company. You can vote once for every single Nominee. You can vote either online or by sms.

>>Please go online, and vote: Help your favorite nominees win!

Hottest Stuff: Voter Lucky Draw

Everyone gets a chance to win at TATA NEN Hottest Startups! 
As soon as you vote, you are automatically entered into the TATA NEN Hottest Startups Voter Contests. Every week, 100 voters are randomly selected to get their fun prizes.

Contest: deadlines
Nominations and Voting open August 27. Winners are chosen through combination of Expert Reviews and voting. Voting for Phase 1 closes Nov 5, and the shortlist of 30 companies is announced Nov 6. Phase 2 begins Nov 6. The 5 Winners will be announced Dec 23.  
>> Details on contest rules.
What do the TATA NEN Hottest Startup Winners get?

Winners receive a powerful combination of tailored business development support, access to funding and incubation, and lots of great publicity, including profiles in a special supplement of Mint. Business support will be provided by Knowledge Partners, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore and the Startup Accelerator at Microsoft.

Innovations 2009

The IIT-Bombay Alumni Association of Pune has an annual event to celebrate innovation in India. This is usually quite good, although it is not restricted purely to infotech or even tech, so the focus is rather broad – which is a good thing or a bad thing depending upon your point of view. But in any case, it is an event that you should try to get into. For details see PuneTech’s previous post about Innovations 2009.

Do these help?

Question for you: do events like these help? If you have been a startup that went through an event like this, did you find it worth it? I’d like to hear from both, winners as well as those who did not. Please leave a comment  below so the rest of the community can get an idea of how much time to spend on such activities.

Nominate yourself for Innovations 2009 conference

Innovations is an yearly conference that tries to showcase the best innovations in any field in India. It is organized by the IIT Bombay Alumni Association of Pune and will be held on January 10 and 11, 2009 at Persistent Systems, Pune. The last date for submissions is 30th September, so if you have done something innovative, you should consider nominating yourself.

More details:

Who can Participate
  • Innovators from all fields, irrespective of their educational qualifications, age group or affiliations to any organizations are welcome to submit their entry. You can submit more than one innovation – please fill a separate entry form for each innovation.
Unique Opportunity for Innovators
  • Present your innovation to the right people-VCs, bankers and experts from industry
  • Showcase your innovation along with just 15 other chosen innovations
  • Participate in the mentoring sessions with industry leaders
  • Get national publicity
  • Listen and learn from Keynote speech by an Industry visionary
  • Meet and listen to other innovators across industries
The Selection Procedure
  • There is a two step selection process from entry to presentation. In Step 1, you are requested to submit entry which will be evaluated. In Step II, you are requested to make a presentation about it. Please visit selection process for details. 
  • During the entire selection process you can maintain a level of confidentiality as desired by you.
Sponsorship Opportunities
  • Innovations 2009 will be a highly visible gathering of crème de la crème drawn from the industry, financial community and academics. Be a sponsor! There can be no better statement of your commitment to nurture innovations.
  • Contact us here for details about opportunities. 
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POCC Meetup – How to bootstrap your startup

What: Pune OpenCoffee Club get-together. Discussion on “How to bootstrap your startup”, followed by presentation / demo by ActiveCiti, and general networking

When: Saturday, 13 September, 4pm – 7pm

Where: SICSR, Model Colony. Here is the map.

Registration and Fees: This event is free for everyone, but you must register at http://www.activeciti.com/public/display_event.aspx?id=150878bd-cc32-102b-a8dc-e4e2bf193de6


4pm-5pm: Discussion: How to Bootstrap your startup
5pm-6pm: Startup Spotlight: ThinkingSpace Technologies (ActiveCiti & EventAZoo)
6pm-7pm: General Networking

Bootstrapping your startup:
We will talk about the pros and cons of bootstrapping vs. venture funding a startup. Tips and techniques on how to bootstrap. We have invited three successful Pune-based entrepreneurs who have gone through this and will guide the discussion and share their experience. The panelists have over 50 years of combined experience and about 8 startup avatars. Details of the invited panelists are given below.

Startup Spotlight:
Pune-based startup ThinkingSpace Technologies will talk about their two products, ActiveCiti (which is already up and running) and EventAZoo (which is in a pre-launch phase). They will be looking for feedback, suggestions, collaborators, etc. In addition, they will also share some experiences they had regarding copyright (somebody copied their entire product), which should be instructive for other startups.

About the invited panelists:
Anand Soman, founder of Infinishare Technologies, after having two successful startups in the past, one of which was bootstrapped, and the other one was VC-funded. His current startup is again bootstrapped.

Tarun Malaviya, CEO of Mithi, has also seen both sides of the issue, initially having presided over a successful bootstrapped phase of Mithi, and then a later VC-funded re-incarnation.

Shridhar Shukla, founder and MD of GSLab, and has used a services business to successfully bootstrap their products business.

See the PuneTech calendar for a comprehensive list of all upcoming tech events in Pune

SeedFund.in wants to meet Pune entrepreneurs

Anand Lunia, Executive Director & CFO, Seedfund is visiting Pune this week, and is interested in meeting Pune entrepreneurs in one-on-one meetings. If you fit that description, you can send him an email at anand AT NOSPAM seedfund dot in.

Seedfund believes in investing small amounts (1 crore to 5 crore) in early stage startups and they are mainly interested in the following sectors: internet or media or mobile or telecom or retail or consumer-facing plays, and also for things that aren’t yet “sectors”.

This message brought to you by the Pune OpenCoffee Club, which you should join if you are a Pune entrepreneur, or you are interested in the Pune startup ecosystem.

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Business plan competition for students – funding up to Rs. 1 crore

Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM), Pune, is running Endeavor 2008, a business plan competition (open only to students). So if you are a student with an interesting idea looking to get visibility, guidance, and possibly lots of money, hurry, because the last date to submit entries is 24th August.


“SIBM Endeavour 2008” provides a platform for budding entrepreneurs with
viable Business Plans to meet seed funds and venture capitalists through the
“SIBM Endeavour Business Plan” contest. This contest is a 3 month long
business plan contest with 4 rounds. Every participating team can expect to
gain from the contest. Individual mentorship, Elevator Pitch for top 40
b-plans, cash prizes, and above all, funding of upto Rs. 10 Million (from Seed
Fund Advisors Pvt. Ltd.).

Our panelists for this contest are:

  • IndiaCo Ventures Capital Ltd.
  • NEA-IndoUS Venture Capitals
  • SEED FUND Pvt. Ltd.
  • NEN Online

Last date for Executive Summary: 24th August – 2008

Cash Prizes:
1st Prize: Rs. 2,00,000
2nd Prize: Rs. 85,000

For registration: http://www.sibm.edu/endeavour08

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Inviting articles on Entrepreneurship for CSI Pune’s September Seminar


CSI Pune is planning a half-day seminar on Entrepreneurship in September, and with it they will also publish their Desktalk newsletter, on the same topic. Anjali Gupta of Bookeazy, one of the driving forces behind the Pune OpenCoffee Club, is the guest editor of this issue of Desktalk.

You are invited to submit articles of interest to entrepreneurs, and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in general. The following is a list of suggested topics, but feel free to write on any other subject that goes with the theme. The article needs to be submitted by end of August, to deodhar [dot] swati [at] gmail [dot] com.

The right advisor at the right time made all the difference.

The article must highlight the importance of getting the right advisors for the company early in its lifecycle, recognizing which advisors are necessary and when to listen to them. Or it could highlight a negative experience with bad advice. Also, the necessity to change or add advisors at different phases of the company’s evolution.

An entrepreneur must be very flexible and very stubborn.

Entrepreneurial judgment is the ability to tell the difference between a situation that’s not working but persistence will ultimately prove it out, versus a situation that’s not working and additional effort is a destructive waste of time. An article highlighting either situation or both at different times in the company’s life would be useful to compare and contrast.

Venture capital – the good, the bad, the ugly.

Understanding the mechanics of the VC industry. A profitable business need not always be venture fundable. Only certain businesses need and are suited for venture money. What else besides the money should be evaluated in a good VC?

Five Reasons not to start a company.

Article must highlight and recognize how much pain and effort it involves to start a company and then deliver shareholder value. Being good at something, working on my hobby, having a good idea, wanting flexible timing, or being good at managing people, are not reasons to build companies. What you build must have a path for sustained growth and profitability.

Avoiding the Founders’ bias.

Will your pre-starting work years really count or harm? Every company’s DNA is strongly colored by founders background and prejudices especially in the initial years. Those from a tech background will hire developers first and write code. That need not be the best way to approach the market. Experiences from tech entrepreneurs who’ve had to change themselves to be businessman and not technologists.

Product companies must embrace failure first and cash much later.

Building a successful tech product company i.e. build once, sell many times, is different from building a services company. Very rarely will your first product be successful, most of the times it will just tell you what not to do the second time around. Experiences and learnings from those who have switched from one to the other or built one type of company or both forms in the same company

It’s the stuff that’s not on your business plan that will trouble you the most.

It’s not the assumptions on the business plan but the unknowns that are not even on your sheet that entrepreneurs need to worry about. An experience highlighting how the unknowns unfolded and how to start looking for them early by talking to potential customers, partners or suppliers, competitors, etc.

How will Technology Entrepreneurship benefit India?

What technologies and/or companies will comprise of the next wave of social change in India? Will they still be service-oriented? Or, will they look a lot more like Products from the West with a distinct Indian flavor? The purpose of this is to suggest answers to the conundrum – is India really a potential large market for Technology Entrepreneurs?

India’s Export to the Rest of the World through Entrepreneurship

What is India’s contribution to rest of the World in this day and age? India’s unique problems, social structure, youth, education and culture have resulted in a very different impact on the rest of the world. The aim of this topic is to highlight and analyze startups/companies that have the potential of making a global impact by solving hard problems within an Indian context.

Is there indeed a fortune at the bottom of the Pyramid?

… that requires Entrepreneurs to make a paradigm shift in what is conventional thought? Are we doing enough to encourage failure, experimentation and retrial – all very necessary to encourage entrepreneurship at this level?

The art of the Start for to-be-Entrepreneurs

(and the state of that art in India): Starting a Company is hard, what with an extremely competitive environment and an unforgiving social attitude towards failure. The intention of this broad topic is to highlight the key elements of the startup ecosystem in India – How do I fund my dream (Angel Investors, Friends, Family, Bootstrapping, Venture Capital)? Getting a Business Plan together, what are the key elements of a good business plan? etc.

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Azingo to raise Rs 200 cr for acquisitions in India

LiMo FoundationImage by mtlin via Flickr

Azingo, a mobile platform development company, which provides a full Linux-based mobile stack, as well as services, (and which has a development center in Pune), is planning to raise Rs 200 cr in a Series-B funding from US-based private equity firm Garnett Helfrich Capital and a few other VCs.

Azingo, one of the core members of UK-headquartered LIMO Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to creating an open, hardware-independent, Linux-based operating system for mobile devices, helps the foundation’s 55 members, including nine tier-I operators like Verizon, Orange, SK Telecom and Soft Bank Mobile, to develop, integrate and tests its Mobile Linux software platform.

“Our Mobile Linux operating system is currently in the beta stage and we are in the process of commercialising the technology. The funds will be utilised to build applications for service and delivery to large operators and vendors, besides scaling up our workforce in India through the inorganic growth route,” Azingo’s chief executive officer Mahesh Veerina told Business Standard.

Veerina said they had identified a couple of companies in India and abroad that could bring in engineering talent, mobile application development, intellectual property IP or customer relations. It expected to wrap up the buyout deal in the next six to nine months. Azingo currently has 300 engineers working out of its Hyderabad and Pune centres. It will add close to 700 engineers in the country in the next one year.

Source Azingo to raise Rs 200 cr

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