Be More Convincing!
That was the mantra of the day as we all began the Session #1 of the Startup Leadership Program. The CEO for this session was Narendra Peesapati, and the Co-CEOs were Manoj Surya and Praveen Dorna. This organizing team certainly set the bar quite high, with reading material and videos shared with the rest of the SLPians a week in advance, and a diverse panel of speakers lined up to impart their wisdom. The focus was on idea validation using the Business Model Canvas (BMC). Amit Bharadwaj of 6Degree spoke in detail about the BMC, and Subba Raju of Real Shoppee and Rahul Sachdev of WichPlease provided support. The entire class was divided into teams and selected one startup idea to validate. The BMC is really an exhaustive and exhausting process, and a few hours really did it no justice. We did, however, receive very relevant feedback and new ways of seeing our own ideas from the experts and our peers, and it was a valuable introduction to this method. Sri Peddu of Power House Ventures talked to the class about the Lean Startup Methodology, and Srinivas Akki of The EggHead Creative introduced the Javelin board. Nayan of Violet Street also provided inputs on lean startups.
The Javelin Throw
An activity that had most of us getting out of the building, hitting the streets and going up to random strangers (our potential “users”) asking them to validate our startup ideas. Using the Javelin experiment board, we made assumptions about problems faced by our target customers, and solutions we could provide. Some people’s assumptions were flipped on their heads, while others had to tweak or pivot their ways, and a lucky few were able to validate their ideas.
A Feast Fit for CEOs
CEOs need to stay fit. Sai Krishna “Popstar” Popuri’s Jowar Pops from Health Sutra/ Fountainhead Foods provided us with nourishment in the midst of all the BMC brouhaha. Sindura Borra’s detoxifying concoctions from Cleanse High had us all raising our bottles for a toast, though it was a dry day! Sai Krishna aims to return to a time of simpler and healthier eating by introducing jowar and other healthy foods in easily accessible forms that are as tasty as, if not tastier than, popcorn and other snacks. It’s easy to see how these new snacks are going to be ‘pop’ular soon! Sindura’s detox drinks in their classy bottles are a first in the Indian market: made of a mix of fruits and vegetables, these juices are as delicious and filling as they are healthy. The crunching of pops and clicking on bottles filled with pink, green and yellow juice had us convinced that entrepreneurs really are a strange breed and we always do things differently! We were definitely high on the promise of entrepreneurship!
A Zenty-Mental Day
A group of business nerds just couldn’t get enough, and as a result of the SLP high, got together at Takbir Fatima’s DesignAware HQ to take apart any brave volunteer’s ideas. The scapegoat/ tester was Manoj Surya, and his startup, Zenty. Zenty is a platform which connects communities with sponsors for their events. An easy way to remember this is payment for engagement. You share a tweet, play a game or solve a quiz to raise awareness or endorse the sponsoring band, and each action earns you bucks that go toward the budget for your event! It’s an interactive way for brands to sponsor events as opposed to the plain old banners or print ads. And an effective way for small communities to get sponsorship from big companies. Manoj was our candidate for the Business Model Canvas, and he was grilled for the entire day! The enthusiasm in the room was contagious, to say the least. Everyone had something of value to add about Manoj’s business model, and many radical views were shared. It was a day well spent, and the session proved that Manoj was certainly a BMC: Brave Macho CEO!