This was my answer to a question on Quora:
The way to raise capital for your education sector startup would be the same as it is for any other startups. i.e. first you need to assess if your venture is likely to be of interest to investors. (Not all kinds of businesses are VC/angel fundable).
Investors would want to know the following:
- Is the concept/product/solution addressing a real need or opportunity?
- Is that opportunity large to build a very large business ?
- Is the venture doing something that is innovative, disruptive of differentiated than what the customers are currently doing to address the need that you propose to address?
- Is the differentiator defensible? I.e. Is there something unique about your venture that gives you a significant head-start and a defensible competitive advantage.
- Is there a strong business case underlying the concept?
- Can this scale?
- Is the team competent and aware of of experienced in all aspects that will be required to build a strong business around the product
Continue reading “How should an education startup raise funds to scale up to the next level?”
I often come across business pitch decks, or even company websites that have fancy set of words that don’t really communicate what the company does. For example, a tagline like “Redefining Healthcare” feels grand, but does not give the reader any clues on what your company does.
Instead, if the tagline were to be specific saying “Your neighborhood childcare clinic’, there is specificity in communicating what you are offering. If your tag line can also communicate your value proposition, it is ideal. E.g. “Affordable cardiac care”.
It is important to get the tagline and headline right because it is on the basis of these that your potential user/customer will decide if they want to explore your website/product further. Even if your consumer / customer desperately needs what you do, they will not bother to read the details on your website or brochure if the headline does not appeal to them? Your brand name/tagline and/or headline tells them exactly what you can do for them.
A good tagline is important even when pitching to investors. VCs and angel investor networks get 100s of business plans every month. And a few individuals in VC firms have the task of sifting though these pitch decks to shortlist those that they think are worthy of more time. Because it is impossible for anyone to go through 100s of pitch decks very, very diligently, it is often the first impressions and the clarity of communication of the first couple of slides that will decide whether the deck makes it to the ‘shortlisted for further review’ bucket.
Also remember, the tagline you have for consumers/users/clients may be different than the description of the business that you have when you present to investors. Consumers need to know your value proposition for them, while investors need to know the business behind that value proposition.
E.g. your tagline to consumers may be ‘Your neighborhood childcare clinic’. And that line may go below the logo. But when pitching to investors, you may want to add a headline to the title slide saying: “Raising Rs.2cr to scale up a chain of affordable, high-quality childcare clinics from the current 3 centres to 25 centres in Delhi NCR in 2 years’. This is important because an investor would like to understand the following: Continue reading “Why the success of your startup can depend on a great tagline.”
MBA courses are typically designed to create managers. The programs in MBA courses are designed to analyze what contributed to the success or failures of companies. These case studies help people get a perspective on what might work and what is likely to be challenging.
While knowing what worked and what did not work for others will be generally useful, it is not something that will be a sufficient condition to become a successful entrepreneur.
Being an entrepreneur often requires the individual to create a new path, and a MBA program does not necessarily sharpen these kinds of sills.
Several management school however do recognize that entrepreneurship is a serious career option for students, and their programs do include aspects that will prepare students for an entrepreneurial adventure.
This post is my answer to a question on Quora. Click here.
A business plan is nothing but a plan for your business. It is an articulation of your vision on how the future will play out.
A business plan also articulates how the startup proposes to go from point A to point B, and by when. It also outlines the milestones and other dynamics (costs, resources, revenues, etc.) on the way from point A to point B. I.e. It is a plan of how the concept of your startup will alter the market, and how you intend to implement that disruption.
But at startup stage, there is no past data that can be used to make reasonably dependable predictions. Hence the vision of what might happen in the market with your concept is based on assumptions that you have made based on your conviction and your insights. Even in more established companies, there is only so much predictability you can bring into a business plan based on past data. How in-market dynamics may change is an unknown, and business plans even of larger, established companies can and often do get disrupted.
Some of the assumptions you have made will play out as assumed, others will not. Nothing surprising about that. Why then is it important to make a business plan knowing that what happens in the market is most likely to be very different from what you planned for? Click here to read more.
There is a lot of innovation happening outside of company R&D labs. In startups. And the only way companies can get early access to that innovation is if they engage with startups meaningfully.
Engaging with the startups eco-system can give corporates to get early access to innovation in several aspects of their business – from disruptive products to disruptive solutions in marketing, finance, supply chain, operations and indeed any aspect of business.
Meaningfully designed startup engagement programs can also help companies attract talent, and enhance their brand appeal with the younger generation of entrepreneurially minded, innovation driven, consumers.
Often large companies feel that startup engagement programs will be complicated for them to design, and challenging to implement. But there are several easy-to-do models in which large companies can initiate their interactions with startups, and gradually deepen the engagement. Some of the models of engagement will be simpler to decide on and implement, while some may need deep thinking, and some may even need board level approvals to execute.
Continue reading “How corporates can find innovation and disruptive ideas by engaging with the startup eco-system”
A good mentor-mentee relationship can be game-changing for a startup, and therefore it is important that both – mentor and mentee – understand how they can make the engagement meaningful, productive, rewarding and fulfilling.
A good mentor can make significant contribution in not just the success of a startup, but also in the personal and professional growth of an entrepreneur. And therefore, I advise entrepreneurs to not give the tag of a ‘mentor’ loosely to anyone whose advice you seek regularly.
Mentoring is way beyond business advice and expertise sharing, and hence entrepreneurs and experts should be very, very careful when initiating a mentor-mentee relationship.
Who is a good mentor for your venture? Continue reading “What makes a good mentor-mentee relationship”