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TiE the Knot – CNBC Telecast

October28

Had great fun in organizing this year’s “TiE the Knot” at TiEcon Delhi 2014, in partnership with CNBC TV 18 which provided high potential companies an exclusive platform to raise investment. After a rigorous selection and mentoring process four high potential companies pitched to a select group of investors who made on-spot invest commitments in a high impact recorded televised format@TiEcon Delhi 2014.

TiE the Knot Finalists:-
Wishberry: wants to leverage the power of crowd sourced funding & validation to spur creativity & innovation in the country. Not only in technology, but also in film, music, theatre, design, food, etc. So far Wishberry has mobilized Rs. 3.5 crores in funding from a global community of 8,500 funders across 52 countries.
Curofy: is a medical networking app that enables communication between doctors. With Curofy, doctors can easily find other doctors, call them with a single tap, and connect to collaborate on patient cases. The app is exclusively for doctors and is thus spam free.
AirStream: provides universal access for all your multimedia and files from all your devices and cloud services. They believe in simple thing. If it is your content, you should be able to access it from any device no matter where it is stored. They have over 300,000 people in using AirStream from over 200+ counties.
Shopatplaces: Shopatplaces.com delivers Authentic Products from Places Famous for them, at the doorsteps of customers. You do not have to travel any longer to get authentic Pashmina shawls from Kashmir, Bandhej apparel from Gujarat, Pearls from Hyderabad and so on. Possess handpicked locally sourced products from more than 18 states of India. Relive the nostalgia and feeling of belongingness to your roots through Shopatplaces. “Famous Places. Best Buys.” only for you.
Catch all the action on CNBC TV 18 watch promo

The full episode will be telecasted on CNBC TV 18, Young Turks Program on these times:-
1st Nov, Saturday – 11:00 am & 7:30 pm
2nd Nov, Sunday – 12:00 pm

Hope you enjoy the show :)

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HBR Blog – Angel or Devil: Who’s Really Investing In Your Start-Up?

November4

Interesting post on the HBR blog but hits the nail on the head especially as the funding ecosystem in India evolves with several angel investors, angel networks, accelerators, VCs. Good entrepreneurs have enough money chasing them and it makes all the more sense to do the due-diligence on the investors before getting them on board :)

Last month, famed investor and Sun Microsystems co-founder, Vinod Khosla, shocked a tech conference audience claiming, “95 percent of VCs add zero value. I would bet that 70-80 percent add negative value to a startup in their advising.” Can Khosla be right? Can investors be a liability rather than an asset?

“I don’t know a startup that hasn’t been through tough times,” Khosla said, and it is during these rough patches that he believes many investors fail their companies. But there are more ways an investor can screw a company than giving crummy advice.

A classic Harvard Business Review article demonstrates how investors can negatively impact the psyche of startup founders, often with toxic, long-lasting repercussions. The paper’s authors, Manzoni and Barsoux, describe a disorder they call the “set-up-to-fail syndrome.” Though they focus on how this affects the manager-to-employee relationship, I believe the affliction can also manifest in the context of an investor-to-founder partnership, particularly when a first-time entrepreneur is involved.

What is this sabotaging syndrome? It begins innocently enough. The chain reaction usually begins with the “tough times” Khosla says are part of every company’s lifecycle. Sometimes the investor has pre-existing doubts about the CEO’s abilities, but the infection usually starts when the company misses a minor target or isn’t progressing as quickly as anticipated.

Read the full post here

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Early Stage Enterprises Need More than Money

April27

Although the World Resources Institute reports that low-income segments represent a US$ 5 trillion global market, entrepreneurs catering to low-income markets find that developing scalable business models is often complex and risky. There is often little or no existing infrastructure, and since India is a vast country, the culture changes every 100 kilometers. As a result, innovative business models that take into account challenges related to distribution and educating communities, for example, are important.

Early-stage enterprises that have high-potential ideas often lack the support required to develop and refine such innovative business models. These entrepreneurs face seemingly insurmountable resource constraints such as information asymmetry, sporadic support of varied quality, and limited budgets.

Read More on the Ennovent Blog

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Funding Landscape for Early Stage Enterprises

December29

A couple of weeks ago I did a presentation at a Vilgro event in Jaipur covering the funding landscape for early stage enterprises. As entrepreneurs financing is a major challenge for most entrepreneurs especially in the early stages getting monies into the company and at what terms is extremely critical.

Hope you enjoy this long presentation on the different instruments and also tips on how to pitch to venture investors :)

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Full Circle: Bridging The Early-Stage Enterprise Investment Gap In India

October26

Note: A version of this post was originally published on the Ennovent blog.

It is no secret that governments and large corporations often fail to adequately address the product and service needs of those living on less than $5/day at the ‘base of the economic pyramid’ (the BoP). Recognizing this clear market opportunity, many enterprises have taken on the challenge of bringing innovative and affordable products and services to BoP communities. While these enterprises are often branded as ‘social’, the reality is that despite their clear social contributions, they are just businesses responding to a high potential, yet fragmented, market.

Not unaware of the BoP market potential, this emerging network of triple bottom line-focused enterprises have attracted attention from angel investors and venture capitalists (VCs). Yet, despite the social and economic potential of these business, investors are following a fairly risk averse approach. Entrepreneurs often hear variations of the same line: “A solid idea, but it’s too soon for investment.” Fact is, despite their unquestionable social value proposition and strong financial potential, many early-stage enterprises responding to BoP markets have yet to demonstrate ironclad proof of concept – which leaves many investors uneasy.

This is the classic chicken-and-egg situation. Entrepreneurs need capital to build prototypes, acquire customers and reach a critical mass in the market; yet, investors will rarely support these businesses before the product and the business model is proven. Despite the global estimated BoP market demand of $5 trillion, many enterprises with truly innovative ‘game changing’ products and services fail to prosper – often because of lack of financial backing at the critical first phases. In addition to quickly flattening economic opportunity, this reality leaves low-income communities without the products and services they need to improve their lives.

Early-stage enterprises call for early-stage investors

In response to the clear demand for investment dollars tailored to the realities of enterprises working at the BoP, a recent surge of investors has emerged – willing to take higher, albeit calculated, risks. These ‘early-stage investors’ are more likely to take the market, technology and business model risks which are often necessary when supporting an enterprise in it’s infancy.

Recognizing the importance of these early-stage investors, in Spring 2012 Ennovent launched the Impact Circle

Read the full post here -

Getting on the Same Page – Talking to Investors Part 1

August11

In the ecosystem one often hear entrepreneurs saying where is the money or from whom can I raise money from? And you ask the investors pat comes the reply where are the quality entrepreneurs or in our conventional investor language (investor ready deals). This change can only be brought about if both investors and entrepreneurs work together. While there is no quick fix to this, what it needs is a deeper understanding of where the other person is coming from and what are they constraints.

I mentor a lot of entrepreneurs seeking funding – my advice just put yourself in the investors shoes. Imagine if your friend approached you with your idea, business plan etc for funding how would you react? What are the questions you would ask, what would be your concerns etc? As entrepreneurs we also need to realize that while investors would love to fund every great idea, the reality is they are bound by fiduciary responsibilities and like entrepreneurs they also raise money from their investors (Limited Partners). So investors also go through similar fund raising cycles and raise funds with the expectation of delivering maximum returns to their limited partners.

Its definitely not rocket science but as entrepreneurs we get so consumed by our idea and business plans sometimes we forget to ask ourselves some hard questions! So what are those hard questions, that we should definitely ask ourselves before approaching investors, here a few to get the ball rolling :-

- Do I have the right team with the required skill set to implement this business opportunity?
- Have a clearly identified who my customer really is and what is the pain I’m solving for him or her?
- Size of the addressable market opportunity – Is that really mapped out or number from some report?
- Have I figured out who is going to buy your product/service and how much they would pay for it.
- Do I know why would customers choose my product or offering over others?
- Can I clearly articulate the key differentiators in customer benefits, not just an internal perspective on technology superiority?
- Do I clearly know how my service or offering will make money(example who will pay me, who will charge the customer, how, when etc)
- Do I know how I”m going to market and sell my products/services (Go to Market Model)?
- Do I know who I’m currently or in future likely to compete against and what is my plan to win this battle? (Remember that competition is not just those providing a similar solution to yours, but all those addressing the same customer need through variety of approaches)
- Have I planned for all the market risks, financial risks, business model risks, execution risks, etc?
- Can I clearly articulate what I intend doing with these funds?

This by no means is an exhaustive list only an indicative checklist of questions to which you should have clear answers too. In my next post I will dig through each of the questions in more detail and highlight some quick tips as well :)

Pitch Your Plan to Renowned Investors@TiEcon Delhi 2012

July31

TiE Delhi-NCR is hosting the Deal Flow Session at TiEcon Delhi 2012 which aims to provide a one stop platform for high potential entrepreneurs to present their business plans to some of the leading national & International investors to meet their funding objectives.

The investors present at the deal flow session are an ideal mix of prominent Angel Investors & leading Venture capital firms who are keenly looking at investing in high potential businesses. Over the years, the deal flow sessions at TiEcon have attracted a whole host of prominent Venture Capital Firms, Private Equity Players, Angel Investor Groups and HNI’s.

The plans received would then go through a short listing & mentoring process led by a screening committee with representation from renowned Angel Networks and venture capitalists. Feedback and suggestions given by the screening committee will be shared with the short listed companies.

In addition, our Angel Partner – Indian Angel Network would also be keen to look at the shortlisted entrepreneurs for the IAN incubation services. We believe this exercise would give the Investor Community a platform to look at the interesting investment opportunities to bridge the last mile.

Some of the investors who have interacted or closed investments on the TiE Platform are:
Indian Angel Network, Canaan Partners, Baring Pvt. Equity Partners, Omidyar Network, DFJ, Matrix Partners, Seed Fund, Blue Run Ventures,Mumbai Angels Network, Erasmic Ventures, Ojas Ventures, Evolvence, Gaja Capital, Gujarat Venture Finance, SIDBI Ventures, Punjab Venture Capital, Google, Intel Capital, India Value Fund, New Path Ventures, IndoUS Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital, Silicon Valley Bank, Sun Group, Motorola Venture Capital, Lumis Partners, One97 Mobility Fund, RVCF, Sierra Ventures, Helion Ventures, SAIF Partners & many more….

Companies that would like to present their business plans at the above forum would be required to submit the same by clicking the relevant link given below.

For Angel Funding

For VC Funding

For any other further information please feel free to connect with Upasana Sharma – Upasana@tienewdelhi.org Mobile-+91-9810078395

Ennovent Invests in Barefoot Power

December27

We made our first investment through “The Sustainable Enterprise Fund”, an impact venture fund managed by Ennovent, of an undisclosed amount in Barefoot Power. The co-investors include Insitor, Oikocredit and The Grace Foundation. Unitus Capital advised Barefoot Power in this transaction.

Barefoot Power (BFP), a global, social for-profit enterprise, manufactures and distributes lighting products, solar phone charging and business development services specifically for low income populations that do not have reliable access to electricity. Founded in 2005, Barefoot Power has impacted the lives of 1 million people in over 20 countries.

Over 1.5 billion people globally lack access to electricity and Barefoot Power is on a mission, to bring affordable renewable energy and safe, healthy lighting to 5 million people by 2012 and 10 million people by 2015 to help eradicate energy poverty.

Barefoot Power

Barefoot Power

Rick Hooper, CEO of Barefoot Power shares with us his views on the investment and their plans for India:

What opportunities do you see in the Indian BoP market?
I see the opportunities in India as vast, a large market with a large off grid population. While our current products are directly suitable to these demographics, I foresee that we will also adjust a variety of products to suit the Indian requirements. With a suitably adapted range and in-country BFP support, I see that our products will be helping millions of people within only a few years combined with a healthy business for our investors and to be established local entrepreneurs.

What is unique about Barefoot’s model of providing power to the BoP?
Barefoot Power addresses the problem at its source, not trying to put in place large scale products that are costly and perhaps out of the reach of many. BFP focuses on Pico Solar that gives good quality lighting, power and phone recharge solutions at affordable prices so the local consumer can benefit immediately replacing costly and unhealthy solutions such as kerosene. Our products are backed by quality of design and warranty. In the small chance that something does go wrong, the level of our support is perhaps unique in this market space.

How can ennovent help Barefoot to access this market?
As everyone admits, India is a different if not difficult market to understand and enter. Ennovent with its on the ground knowledge is an important partner for us in our establishment and setup. I see Ennovent will be providing human resource advice, local conditions (state to state) advice, advice on target entry markets and most importantly introductions to local communities.

What are your global plans for the near future?
BFP continues to enjoy high growth in all our current markets. We, like all companies, continue to work on innovation of products as the market demands evolve. Having recently released our Generation 2.5 products that provide more light and longer battery times, we are now looking to both range extension and distribution reach. India in this case is a key market for our growth.

Read more about Barefoot Power and the investment news here.

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Seedfund – Leading Early Stage Venture Capital Firm

April25

Last week I meet up with Shailesh who is representing Seedfund in Delhi and must say was pleasantly surprised to learn that they are even looking at concept stage ideas backed of course with mature teams. So what are some of the other things that make Seedfund stand apart besides being voted as the “Best Early Stage Investor at the Apex Awards”….

Backed by a formidable team with many years of experience in founding, running companies in addition to venture experience. Already invested in a dozen companies including recognizable names like redbus, afaqs, carewale, vaatsalya etc. Presence of a incubation center both physical/virtual where they house a few fledgling companies till they are old and strong enough to fly out and be on their own. The process to apply for incubation is the same for funding i.e. due diligence remains the same.

Interested folks can apply for funding through Seedfund and if they believe your business is interesting – and worthy of funding eventually by Seedfund itself, they might either offer you the full Seedfunding – or a tranched amount where you first graduate through the Incubator process, where we have an additional set of advisors and then automatically get the rest of the full-term funding- not a bad deal eh??

Key takeaway – They are open to early stage investments and are prepared to take the risks provided there is a solid team and skin in the game. Rumor has it they decided to invest in Redbus when it was at a concept stage not when the business was well proven :)

To apply to Seedfund feel free to click on the link – http://seedfund.in/plan/.

TiE Investor Meet – Featuring SAIF Partners

February28

TiE Delhi-NCR is hosting the Investor Showcase an initiative to connect investors to high potential entrepreneurs. The Showcase will highlight one investor and provide a unique platform for entrepreneurs to understand the investor’s areas of interest & investment philosophy.

This showcase will feature SAIF Partners, one of leading investors comprising an enviable portfolio that comprises MakeMyTrip, One97, JustDial, NSE and Network18 among others.

The Investor Showcase will enable you to discuss your current & future growth plans and funding requirements with best of breed investors. Needless to say, the limited seats on offer will run out fast! Confirm your participation now to get to know SAIF Partners like never before and interact with some of the investee companies to get a first hand account.

Date: 3rd March,2011
Time: 7pm followed by cocktails & dinner
Venue: Magnolia, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi

For More Details & Registration Click Here

About SAIF Partners

SAIF Partners is a venture capital firm that is sector and stage agnostic. SAIF is extremely active in early stage technology-enabled businesses. SAIF was the first institutional investor in companies such as MakeMyTrip (Consumer Internet), One97 (Mobile VAS), JustDial (Local Search), and HomeShop18 (eCommerce). The fund has strong experience of investing in companies at an early stage and helping them through multiple rounds of financings and eventually an IPO.

SAIF is growth investor in companies like Catmoss (Apparel Retail), Speciality Restaurants, Network18 (Media & Broadcasting), TV9 (Media & Broadcasting), Veta (Education), SIFY and IL&FS Investmart.

SAIF currently manages $4.0 billion across funds and is actively seeking investment opportunities in early stage and growth stage businesses.

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This is a forum for entrepreneurs and professionals to connect, learn and grow with each other. The objective of this blog is to give you access to relevant resources, business opportunities and networking opportunities to enhance your entrepreneurial and professional lives.

About Author:

Digbijoy has a wide ranging experience across diverse sectors, initially started his career in education marketing with reputed educational institutes and then subsequently joined the advertising and events industry to execute several projects including a state election campaign for a national party, conceptualizing and running a restaurant chain in Delhi and several other projects.

He joined the Delhi chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE Delhi), where he worked for over 3 years and drove various key initiatives like mentoring, deal flow, marketing, sponsorships etc and left his last position as Associate Director of the chapter in 2008 to pursue his entrepreneurial ambitions. He subsequently joined techTribe- India largest Career Networking platform where he served as director strategic relations and drove unique initiatives and partnerships for building and sustaining community engagement. Post techTribe he co founded an online supplemental education start-up – TenMarks Education INC. which was acquired by Amazon.com in October 2013.

Post TenMarks he lead Ennovent India as its country director which is an innovation accelerator. Ennovent provide services to accelerate innovations for sustainability in low-income markets in developing countries. It specializes in helping clients discover enterprises with novel solutions, develop business models to start-up enterprises, provide finance by facilitating early-stage investments and grow operations to scale profit and impact. Since 2008, Ennovent has worked with over 4,800 Network members, 15 Circle members and 10 Solution clients to accelerate over 80 innovations in 10 countries.

Currently Digbijoy Co-leads the Startup Program for Amazon Web Services enabling the best startups leverage the power of AWS infrastructure.

Digbijoy also plays the role of Supporting Evangelist ™ to TiE Delhi-NCR the leading TiE chapter in the world and select startups like Breaking Barriers, Just Rojgaar, One Tree Spaces etc. He also regularly contributes to entrepreneurial blogs and publications and is often quoted by leading publications on impact Investing and social entrepreneurship.

Digbijoy is a B.A. Hons Economics, P.G. Diploma in sales and Management, an MBA from MDI Gurgaon (Executive) and has done a venture capital program in ISB.

Lets Connect:-
Forum: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/NetworktoSucceed-5111392
Email: digbijoy@networktosucceed.in
Linkedin: http://in.linkedin.com/in/digbijoy
Twitter: http://twitter.com/digbijoy

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