Startup Saturday Delhi – Request for Demos

To help the Indian Startup Ecosystem in some small way, we’re going to be involved in setting up the Delhi chapter of Startup Saturday which is a part of HeadStart. We’d like to use this forum to help startups in the Delhi/NCR region showcase their products to a community of peers, media, and investors.

If you or your company is interested in demoing, please complete the form below.

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Startup Saturday Delhi – Request for Demos

To help the Indian Startup Ecosystem in some small way, we’re going to be involved in setting up the Delhi chapter of Startup Saturday which is a part of HeadStart. We’d like to use this forum to help startups in the Delhi/NCR region showcase their products to a community of peers, media, and investors.

If you or your company is interested in demoing, please complete the form below.

Related Posts:

Lean Startup Presentation

This is a nice presentation on the need for startups to be lean and how agile development can help the process. It would have been nice to have audio to go along with the presentation by Steve Blank (Board Member) and Eric Ries (Co-founder and Board Observer) of IMVU.

IMVU was founded in 2004 and is doing roughly $1 million per month in revenue. IMVU is a 3D chat service where you can pick and choose your own avatar and much like SecondLife, you can purchase items in the virtual world, using real world currency to buy in-world credits. I haven’t used IMVU but users can create items in-world that can be sold to other users for credits.

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Things-To-Do When Rolling Your Own Startup

Most people advising startups focus on critical points like the business model, revenue model, and team. Remember, I said “critical” but I’m going to skip over them since so many people already discuss them.

In this post, I’m going to present a straight-forward check-list of other, very important things to do when rolling your own startup.

  • Think about corporate governance issues on day 1. Whether you have a partner, partners, or it’s just you, you should identify how the company will be governed.
  • In good times, we tend to loosen our belts a bit and be a little lax in our control of expenditures. It can be excused when times are good but good times don’t last forever. Keep strict policies on managing your cash (and cash-flow) at all times.
  • Manage every aspect of your expenses. Know what your fixed and variable costs will be. Put in a process for tracking money that you and other employees have spent on behalf of the company and have a reimbursement policy. A very simple expense spreadsheet could do the trick.
  • Whether you’re prospecting for clients or not, figure out how you’re going to run sales and marketing in your company. Use some form of a CRM. The cheapest and simplest way to get started is with a spreadsheet. Don’t go wasting time on setting up your own free CRM and definitely don’t waste the money on a paid CRM service until you’re generating revenue and have a team of sales/marketing folks that are managing many clients.
  • Think about and layout your equity plan for founders, investors, employees, etc. How many classes of stock will there be? What, if any, vesting cycle will be used for founders and employees? Will employees buy stock in the company? Will employees be GIVEN stock in the company for free? Will the employees be given options (ESOPS)? What are the economic impacts of these models to the company and to the employee? Much of what you decide and do here will also affect point 1.
  • Find a good CPA/CA that has experience working with these kinds of corporate structures and share allocations, etc.
  • Find a good attorney with relevant experience and build a relationship with him/her as well.
  • Build a library of various types of contracts that are relevant to your business. Many of the relevant contracts can be found for free on the Internet. However, it is worth having a good attorney review them to make sure you and your business are protected.
  • Learn a bit about the law, a bit about economics, a bit about financial accounting, and a bit about technology. Entrepreneurs and top-line managers MUST have a knowledge of all these things to be effective in running the business.

Here are a few resources that might be useful.

Resources:

US Resources:

Indian Resources:

Please let me know of other very important items that you’ve come across.

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Skin in the Game

I was reading an interesting post on Gaurav’s blog about founders of startups taking significant paycuts when raising funding from VCs. i was going to post a comment but am having some trouble connecting to Gaurav’s blog.

VCs in India are applying what they’ve learned operating in the US and Europe to an economy and economic conditions which are very very different. This isn’t to say Gaurav is right and Sundar and Krish are wrong. However, there’s probably a medium that is a bit more amenable to both sides. VCs need the founders to be up to their eye balls in the business for many reasons. However, having a founder who is financially struggling, on top of all the other issues related to doing a startup increases the risks associated with the investment. It is conceivable for a founder with significant negative cash flow to throw in the towel and pack up her bags or worse, to stay on and throw themselves into a deeper and deeper grave, potentially filled with debt.

On the other hand, most entrepreneurs start a business because they are confident of their abilities and they are sure they can hit a home run ( or a century for all the cricketers out there ). Ideally, an entrepreneur will raise money from a VC when the business is moving in the right direction and there is revenue coming in. The founders might need the additional money to grow exponentially, diversify, or gain the valuable advice of an experienced team. Hence, it’s important that the founder takes a substantial pay cut in order to show the investor that they are “believers”. What “significant cut” means is relative. To a VC, a 75% cut is significant but to the entrepreneur, 25% is significant. At the end of the day, the entrepreneur must decide how much control she is willing to cede to investors and how costly the capital raised will be. A good negotiator might convince investors that it’s in ther interest to give the founders a 10% paycut from market rates.

Each founder has to evaluate their financial position and decide whether the delayed gratification is an economic reality and if they can afford to do it. If they can’t, perhaps it’s time for them to leave the bargaining table, or worse, leave the business.

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