Kamini Auditorium, one of
The mentoring session began with the introduction of the esteemed panel of investors from the Indian Angel Network who shared their experiences, learnings and success stories with a rather enthusiastic and knowledgeable audience.
The panel included Mr. Pradeep Gupta, Mr. Mohit Goyal, Mr. Sunil Kalra, Mr. Sanjeev Bhikchandani, Mr. Sanjay Bhasin, Ms. Anupama Arya and Mr. Aseem Chauhan. Mr. Pradeep Gupta of the Indian Angel Network began the session by answering a vital question regarding ‘start ups’ in a potentially volatile economy. “At times like these, there is a need to be innovative since there are no free rides anymore.” He also stated that, “The quality of ideas get better during an economic downturn because everyone is trying to get a piece of a shrinking pie. And the customer is also more critical of products and services.”
Talking about what happens if a start up fails to receive money, Mr. Sanjeev B. states that, “It’s not good to assume that success depends entirely on external funding. There are a lot of very successful companies that started out without any of that.” He goes on to state that, “Getting funds is just one of the battles won in creating a successful business.”
“So what makes a good business plan?” Ms. Anupama Arya wittily summed up what seemed to be a long explanation in a few words, “If you can manage to get a customer to pay you, you’re on the right track.”.
Mr. Pradeep Gupta went on to talk about the mistakes people make and how the lack of passion is potentially one of the biggest reasons for a failed business model. Adding to that, Mr. Sanjay Bhasin emphasises on the importance of having a scalable business idea, since ideas needs to grow and mustn’t stagnate.”
After the first round of discussions, Ms. Padwaja introduces the ‘Elevator Pitch’ and facilitates the discussion onwards. The rustling of the print-outs of the ‘Elevator Pitch’ take prominence as the eager audience tries to grasp this bounty of knowledge. Mr. Aseem Chauhan emphasises that one doesn’t need to force fit their idea into the elevator plan. He says, “It’s OK to modify the plan to fit your idea.”
The session was soon made open to the house and audience questions began pouring in.
Mr. Sunil Kalra states the importance of the ‘first’ pitch. He says, “For the first pitch YOU only need to give us YOUR idea and tell us who YOU are and what your team is.”
Another question that was raised was, how does one figure out when to go for Angel funding and when to go for VC funding? To which, Mr. Sanjeev B. stated that Angels generally come in at an earlier stage and will invest far lower sums of money than a VC would. One should aim to raise VC money at a much later stage.
The final few questions discussed the importance of timing and luck and how apart from funding, persistence and the belief in an idea would eventually determine the success of a business plan.