During today’s roundtable we worked mostly with those entrepreneurs who had signed up to pitch at ourBangaloreroundtables last week, but did not get a slot.GoEasy
First, Sathish G. from Chennai, India, pitched GoEasy, a mobile yellow pages app that he has started validating. Essentially, as in all yellow pages businesses, GoEasy assumes that small businesses will pay to register themselves, and consumers will mostly use the service for free. Sathish, however, is making the same ‘spray and pray’ mistake that many first-time entrepreneurs make. He has retailers in Ooty and Kozhikode, and consumers in Chennai andBangalore. My advice is to focus on one city and implement the entire model there. Scaling will need to be city-by-city. But this is not a business that can be launched by attacking multiple cities all at once.
REConnect Energy Solutions
Next, Vishal Pandya from Bangalore, India, pitched REConnect Energy Solutions, a consulting and renewable energy credit trading company. Vishal has already built a nice niche business that is deep in domain expertise, and is currently evaluating options of how to scale, both operationally and product portfolio-wise. Today’s discussion was around making some of the scaling choices.
Then, Arpita Ganesh, also from Bangalore, India, pitched Buttercups, an e-commerce concept for selling a private label lingerie line inIndia at the higher end of the price-range. In terms of specialty retail concepts, lingerie is definitely one that has great potential for e-commerce inIndia. Arpita’s concepts and understanding of the lingerie market are sound. She also has a good sourcing strategy. She needs to learn the mechanics of building an e-commerce business next.
Next, again from Bangalore, India, Srini Vasan pitched MobiSir, a mobile education concept that is focused on helping rural students access hard-to-reach educational services. My problem with Srini’s pitch was that it was too 30,000 ft. level, so I worked with him to focus on a specific use case (example: IIT entrance exam test preparation) and do market research in 10-20 small towns around Bangalore to see what those markets’ needs and interests are for that specific topic. Then, if there is sufficient need, he can go to a branded IIT Test Prep educational service company and offer to broaden its reach into rural Karnataka, followed by ruralIndia. Without a concrete strategy like that, I don’t see how this business penetrates the market.
Then, Rakesh Sud fromBangalore,India, pitched Activity Delegator, a social media marketing service focused on building LinkedIn contacts, groups, etc. Rakesh has deep domain knowledge in LinkedIn, and he wants to use this knowledge to build a LinkedIn marketing service for clients. He has already done close to $100k in consulting by offering these services to clients and now wants to scale it with a larger team. I think this is a great idea. Social Media marketing is extremely time-consuming, and if Rakesh can build a company to outsource this activity and deliver definitive value at a reasonable price-point, that is an excellent business value proposition.
You can listen to the recording of this roundtable here.
As always, I would very much like to hear about your business, so let me invite you to come and pitch at one of our free 1M/1M public roundtables. We will be holding future roundtables on:
Thursday, April 19, 8 a.m. PDT: Register Here.
Thursday, April 26, 8 a.m. PDT: Register Here.
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Sramana Mitra is the founder of the One Million by One Million (1M/1M) initiative, an educational, business development and incubation program that aims to help one million entrepreneurs globally to reach $1 million in revenue and beyond. She is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and strategy consultant, she writes the blog Sramana Mitra On Strategy, and is author of the Entrepreneur Journeys book series and Vision India 2020. From 2008 to 2010, Mitra was a columnist for Forbes. As an entrepreneur CEO, she ran three companies: DAIS, Intarka, and Uuma. Sramana has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.