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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pitches and Business Plans

On 12/11/2010, the SLP Silicon Valley Chapter got together for an all day session. We threw away the no laptop rule so folks in the group could blog, take notes and make effective use of the time.

The day began with group members presenting their company. Each person was given 7 minutes to present with 10 minutes of general question & answer. The first company (name confidential) is trying to use various filters to help you find the right social information, at the right time. Renil came up and presented, a company that is building a social platform to where people can sing record and publish Bollywood music. Bindiya presented Resilinc, which can be best described as “supply chain resiliency”. Fourth, Adam presented the only bio-tech company of the day. His company, Nano Precision Metal, is working on revolutionizing implantable drug delivery. Finally, Kunal presented Jozo, a universal rewards and promotions platform.

Each presenter had to face tough questions from the audience; anything from financials, to market size, to team composition, to product specs, was fair game. The presenters handled themselves with style and overall gave pretty good answers. After taking a short break, Adam came back and presented once more to Fred Wang from Trinity Ventures and Carol Sands from The Angels Forum. A few minutes later, Vikrant from Future Today presented to the investors, also including Vish Mishra from Clearstone Venture Partners. Future Today operates a website called with over 30,000 videos, 150,000 text based recipes and has hundreds of partners. The investors came back with some carefully worded feedback.

Next up on the agenda: lunch!

The entire class broke into groups to help the various startups identify key partnerships, activities, costs, revenues, with support from the two mentors, AKG and Ramesh Singh. As a class, we then collected around and had a group discussion.

Lastly, we posed two questions to the mentors. 1) What has helped you most while making your business plans and 2) What area you feel the entrepreneur needs most help with?

AGK said: you need to do figure out the best path to validate your business model as soon as possible. Just having one customer is not enough. You need to have your product sellable to multiple customers.

Ramesh Singh: Do not give up on your ideas too quickly. Quickly find the barriers and work through it. When you are raising money think of it as your own money. If you are willing to take that risk, then the passion comes out to make it happen. Do not assume it is going to be a quick success. My last two startups have been 14 years of my life. Put people around you who are just as passionate. Have an open team that can have discussions, otherwise it will be really tough. Be truthful. Other things will come through and the team is the most important thing.

-Written by Ankit Agarwal

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