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Startup Carnival

Startup Carnival

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Published by Shridhar Lolla
This article describes the carnival nature of business idea competitions that is an outcome of rapidly growing entrepreneurial ecosystems in India. It does, however, bring out the prime rules of business that were directly from the mouth of successful entrepreneurs and experts.
This article describes the carnival nature of business idea competitions that is an outcome of rapidly growing entrepreneurial ecosystems in India. It does, however, bring out the prime rules of business that were directly from the mouth of successful entrepreneurs and experts.

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Published by: Shridhar Lolla on Jul 09, 2010
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Copyright © 2010, CVMark Consulting, All rights reserved.
1
Startup Carnival 2010
Dr. Shridhar LollaCVMark Consultinglolla@cvmark.comUnedited Draft9
th
Jul 2010Bangalore, INDIA(This article describes the carnival nature of business idea competitions that is anoutcome of rapidly growing entrepreneurial ecosystems in India. It does, however, bringout the prime rules of business that were directly from the mouth of successfulentrepreneurs and experts.)Key words:
 , business idea, business plan, competition, power of idea, entrepreneurial ecosystem, startups, entrepreneurship, business rules, business fundamentals, capacity building, entrepreneurial behavior, value system, culture, business model.
 ________________________________________________________________________ {Start}I still remember the brief announcement in a pink paper, in early January 2000, whenMckinsey came out with the first open business idea competition in India, theindiaventure2000. It was a great experience participating in, that handheld us one step ata time on idea to business transformation. From Jan 2000 till Jul 2000, it was a carnivalsort for us, meeting aspirants and entrepreneurs, bubbling with new e-business ideas,meeting Mckinsey’s appointed mentors and coaches, meeting Angels and VCs, preparingand refining business plans, and facing the sharp arrows from investors.The power of the event was tremendous in terms of understanding how successful businesses are created from idea stage. The experience ultimately changed me from atechnical researcher to an entrepreneur. During that period three of us, would have metover 500 people who went thru our idea. Unfortunately, when the dotcom bubble burst,we were left wet in our knickers and the Tshirts, surviving with vada-pav in Andheri. Of course, our daily breakfast was readings of economic times and financial express, thatwere spewing out the news of NASDAQ crash and the failed dotcoms. We were almostdead before, India’s leading internet company came forward with a similar ideas likeours, and approached us to do implementation for them. That we continued to pursue our idea and dared to resign our jobs in a leading engineering multinational company, was
 
Copyright © 2010, CVMark Consulting, All rights reserved.
2
not a bad deal, for it gave us an opportunity to move closer to the disruptive world of internet. That was our move to a new industry all together.For past 10 years, while my colleagues went into regular jobs, I continued to work onnew companies and kept my engagement with startup world. What the experience of indiaventure2000 did and what Mckinsey taught us, still runs into my today’s practice of handholding neu-enterpreneurs. I continue to participate in business plan competitions, but now as a coach. From that first open business plan competition in Y2K, in India, nowthere are dozens of good business idea competitions that take place every year. More so,Indian young entrepreneurs now participate in several of the competitions conductedabroad. The ecosystem has changed dramatically in India since then. In addition to thelarge number of investors, who walk with cheques in their pockets, failure has begun to be accepted as a good experience by society and organizations.The ecosystem which supports entrepreneurial activities has now grown to a level that itfeels like a carnival, the moment you enter into it. Although, Mckinsey had started it inthe month of January; for reasons I’m still trying to understand, there is a seasonal effecton business idea competition in India. It normally starts with closing of colleges and runstill feb/mar end. And every year I wait for this season to begin and the carnival toopen…ET along with CIIE-IIMA and DST launched the Power of Ideas (POI) this month. Thisis the largest business idea competition held in India (lat year there were more than10,000 participants). It is not only related to ideas but also with building the ecosystem of innovation, incubation and entrepreneurship. It gives a platform that participants of thecompetition, irrespective of their position in the competition, enter into an environment of mentors, advisors, incubators, institutions, industries, sponsors, investors and angels, thatis open to their access even after the event.Yesterday, POI had its inaugural briefing session for participant in Bangalore at NimhansConvention Center. I went there to sense the environ. It was a jam packed hall, probably,over a capacity of 1000. Most of the participants arrived half an hour before schedule. Asa part of briefing session Bharat Goenka (Talley) gave the key note address. Yousuf Motiwala (Tring Me) shared his experience of becoming successful startup company,Surendra Jain(Sequoia Capital India) gave investor perspective and Surya (NSRCEL-IIMB) brought forward the reality of emerging entrepreneurial ecosystem in India. Thiswas followed by CIIE’s presentation on the structure of POI program and QnA fromentrepreneurs.
 
Copyright © 2010, CVMark Consulting, All rights reserved.
3
Here are the golden bullet points that are secret sauce for success as an entrepreneur:1. Bharat: Two essentials of making successful entrepreneur 1. Ability to Visualize flow of money, not only now but also in future2. A sustained passion to your idea in a detached way (detached way means thatyou must be ready to learn from you experience, and be ready to challenge youassumptions behind the idea and if required, exit your idea for a better idea.)2. Surendra: For your idea to be investable1. It must solve a real and big problem2. There must be a buyer for the solution3. The team must be capable to execute the idea3. Yousuf: On startup journey:1. A good entrepreneurial ecosystem (as in Silicon Valley) is needed to solvevarious structural problems faced by entrepreneurs… but entrepreneurship is about beingsuccessful
despite
the bottlenecks of the ecosystem4. Surya: gave a lot of off the cuff advice:1. Do not raise money, make money to chase you2. Continue to share your ideas to make it a real idea, for most of the cases there isnothing like ‘secrecy’ of ideaI felt that they covered the very essence of startup journey, and almost a sort of primerules for success.The CIIE presentation was short and crisp on the structure of the program. The Q&Asession showed the startup flavor of Bangalore, with wide ranging but earnest queriesrelated to the program, business problems, entrepreneurial dilemma, to be or not to be,funding etc. You got young and old, people who quit their jobs, people who are on theedge of quitting jobs, students, experienced professionals, from IT, retail, medicine,social sector, power, fashion, trading, health care and more. There were investors,entrepreneurs, media, mentors and academics. The crowd was just not letting the Q&Ato close, and the discussions entered into hi-tea session. What followed was an intensesocial networking, people talking to each other like on a high in a bar, exchanging cards,enquiring about service, idea, products and setting appointments for a meeting soon.That’s the flavor of business… that’s carnival…for those who care for an idea ! _______________________________________________________________________ Remember, CVMark covers its insights in its caselets, and the first on the top ‘Ability toVisualize flow of money’ as indicated by Bharat, is covered in the caselet onInnovatingBusiness Model. Business Model Canvas is the visualization template that we use to provide entrepreneurs with this ability.
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