Recap of the 4 November 2010 roundtable by Sramana Mitra
At today’s roundtable I offered a sneak preview into the One Million by One Million Premium Lounge we have just unveiled to a small group of core users. To get started, I suggest you take a look at three videos messages: To Entrepreneurs, To Investors, and To The Media.
The premium lounge includes an online curriculum addressing the common topics specific to very early stage entrepreneurship, private roundtables which many of you have requested, customer, channel partners, and investor introductions, media and analyst access, and a variety of other value added services to make our entrepreneurs successful.
For the private lounge and the video lectures in the curriculum, we’re using a new online video conferencing technology called ViVu. ViVu is also a startup (funded by DFJ, and seed funds Inventus Capital, Quest Venture Partners, and Amidzad), and true to our philosophy, we’re using the 1M/1M program to give them visibility. It is very much my intention to provide similar visibility and customer access to a large number of startups through 1M/1M.
Advanced Dental Technologies
Now, as for the presenters, first up today was Benson Hall with Advanced Dental Technologies, presenting a business plan to bring Cone Beam Dental Imaging machines to a large number of consumers. The machines are $250k each, and most dentists cannot afford them, and Benson wants to create Cone Beam imaging centers to be used by 20-30 dentists per community.
Benson’s business needs $500k to get off the ground, buy a machine, and meet the operating expenses, and he primarily came to discuss his financing options.
My assessment is that this is not a traditional venture financing type deal. The most likely people to finance a business like this would be an “eco-system” partner – someone who has an interest in seeing this business become successful. That would be the equipment manufacturers like 3M.
Then Ajay Khater with LinearCube presented IntelliSuggest, a document management technology to help the process of searching, processing, and repurposing content particularly for lawyers, professional services firms who deal with a lot of contracts, and other such use cases.
We had an extensive discussion on segmentation, TAM, competitive analysis, and go-to-market strategy, and I advised Ajay to do further analysis on specific topics. My main conclusion is that while I can sense that there is a business here, adequate analysis has not been done yet to draw conclusions on any of the key strategic directions: financing, positioning, or go-to-market.
Raghava Kashyapa then discussed Qualitas Technologies, a system integration company in India focused on the industrial automation market. Qualitas is trying to close various gaps related to imaging in the industrial automation space, and has use cases in a variety of areas from bottling to labeling, and across verticals such as Automotive to Pharmaceuticals.
Again, the right go-to-market strategy for this business is also to specifically focus on particular segments, particular use cases and define a go-to-market strategy accordingly.
It is clear to me, after doing these coaching sessions for over two years, that entrepreneurs need a lot more training on positioning and go-to-market. As such, I have created video lecture modules with case studies in the 1M/1M premium lounge on these topics with very specific guidance on what analysis to perform and how. The easiest way for me to teach a large number of entrepreneurs some of these basics is to have you spend 30-40 hours on the curriculum I have created, and THEN have you come work with me on refining your strategies and positioning.
I have thought a lot about how to make entrepreneurship education and eco-system scalable and accessible to a vastly larger number of people. The answer to that question, I believe, is the 1M/1M Premium Lounge. Over the upcoming months, the program will become much, much richer. But for the moment, we can get you started and give you a significant jump-start.
About Sramana Mitra
Sramana Mitra is a technology entrepreneur and strategy consultant in Silicon Valley. She has founded three companies, writes a business blog, Sramana Mitra On Strategy, and runs the 1M/1M initiative. She has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her Entrepreneur Journeys book series, Entrepreneur Journeys, Bootstrapping: Weapon Of Mass Reconstruction, Positioning: How To Test, Validate, and Bring Your Idea To Market and her latest volume Innovation: Need Of The Hour, as well as Vision India 2020, are all available from Amazon.