Sunday, 29 April, 2012

Venture Lab OAP (Opportunity Analysis Project) Team

After a lot of considerations on various profiles and our needs, our team is now locked. I had started this course with me and 9 other members for the 1st Assignment of the course to generate 5 Best and 5 Worst Business Ideas. Out of the 10 members for the first assignment, only 4 of us submitted the assignment and we were again paired up for the 2nd round of submissions.
During these 2 rounds of assignment, we three active members (Myself, Pranay and Vishal) realized that we could go along together easily and complement each other in terms of the skills that we bring to the table. So when it came to the team formation for next rounds (Opportunity Analysis Project, Opportunity Execution Project) of the class, we decided to stay together and look for 1 or 2 more people who could fill in the missing skill-sets. The Profile Search feature on Venture Lab helped a lot in this. Our team had a Business guy in Vishal, Technical Guy in Pranay, Operations Guy in Myself. We needed a person with skills in Programming, Web design and Development. We contacted several people. Some replied back but most didn't. Finally, we zeroed it down on Abhay, an Automoblie R&D Engineer and one more Software guy. Unfortunately, the Software guy joined another group by mistake (he claims this!) and we were again left without a programming expert. But, Fortune favors the Brave.!!! Two days back, I was chatting with a friend (who is now pursuing is MS at the Carnegie Melon University, US) and got to know that he is also into this course and is looking for a team. God, I realized how small is this world..!!! I invited him to join my team, he accepted and my team was complete in all aspects. Here is a brief introduction of all my team mates (in their own words):-

This is me, Amit Pandey. I graduated in Electronics and Communication Engineering from National Institute of Technology, Nagpur in 2009. I joined BHEL, Bangalore after college and am working here since then. My work requires mainly day-to-day Operations. I lead a team of 13 people at work. I am also pursuing Masters in Economics as a part-time course.
My Skills: Operations, Business Economics, Basic Web Development, Machine Learning, Design of Experiments

This is Abhay. He graduated in Mechanical Engineering from University of Pune in 2009. He work as Project Engineer in the Automotive Division at KPIT Cummins Infosystems Ltd, Pune.
Abhay's Skills: Mechanical Design & Development, Project Strategy and Execution.

This is Kartik. He is a Graduate Student, Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Carnegie Melon University, US. He has worked for BHEL, Bangalore for 7 months in the Defense Electronics section before leaving BHEL to pursue his MS. Kartik is an alumni of 2009 batch of Delhi College of Engineering in the discipline of Electrical Engineering.
Kartik's Skills: Embedded Systems, Software Engineering, Computer Systems, Operating Systems, Linux Kernel Development, Android, ARM

This is Pranay. He is a student of Mechanical Engineering at Delhi College of Engineering, New Delhi. Pranay is an enthusiastic, responsible and well networked person.Pranay is also working with a Start-up in the role of Business Development and Strategy at AglaSem. Pranay is also the Assistant Editor at DTU Times. Pranay organized the recently concluded E-Summit 2012 at the Entrepreneurship Cell.
Pranay's Skills: Business Strategy, Market Research, Team Building, Teamwork.

This is Vishal. He is truly a business guy. He graduated from Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, New Delhi in 2006. He is presently working as a Product Manager in a Start-up. Prior to this, he has worked for Microsoft in the same role for over 5 years. Vishal brings in over 5.5 years of experience in Software Products.
Skills: Product Management, Business & Strategy, Feature Definition, Products Requirements Definition and Product Strategy.

So that is my team, a set of highly motivated individuals, each an expert in his field. We have already started brainstorming ideas for the Opportunity Analysis Project. A brief of the discussions in the next post. Now before I   finish, here is a funny picture I found on facebook about Entrepreneurs..Enjoy..!!!

Wednesday, 25 April, 2012

Venture Lab Bangalore Meet-Up

This last Sunday, the Venture Lab Bangalore met for a discussion session at Cafe Coffee Day, Lido Complex, MG Road. I was fortunate enough to have been picked up by Hari Rastogi (COO of, a Serial Entrepreneur (yes.! He is in his 3rd Venture now). During the drive to the venue, we had a lot of discussions on the current situation of e-commerce Start-ups in India.
At the venue, I met some really good and passionate people. There were 11 of us with backgrounds ranging from Hi-Tech ones to Bio-technologists. Each one had a passion to make a difference to his own life and to the world. We started of with introducing ourselves to each other.
There were a lot of Start-up ideas presented and we brainstormed each one. It was amazing to see how people from diverse backgrounds brought new perspective to problems of the society. Hari started of with sharing his experiences of having been part of 3 Start-ups. We understood the Operations, Margins and Technicalities of an e-commerce venture. The main focus of his talk was the Venture Capitalist association with Start-ups. He shared his experiences with VCs, their expectations, Pros and Cons of having a VC backing one's Start-up. For Example, there was an instance when Hari made a presentation to a VC and VC was ready to support his B-plan but under the condition that Hari will have to work only on that project and leave all other stuff like Mentorship, B-School teaching. Hari made a choice not to leave that stuff and he did not get VC backing, however, he found some other investor interested in his B-plan.
Overall, it was an amazing experience for me, more particularly so because I am not from a business background. I had to learn so much from Hari and his experiences on real business intricacies. The Lessons learnt so far,
1. VC backing can change the face of business by giving enough cushion to Start-ups. Example: Flipkart
2. e-commerce market in India is still nascent. Opportunities are huge.
3. Every good idea cannot be implemented as and when it comes. Hari gave an example of a project which he considered long back but could not work on because of lack of reach of Internet in India. He has now started working on it.
4. Research is the key to success. Research as much possible to know the entire scenario of your Business idea.

Lastly, here is a talk about the "Secret History of Silicon Valley". The talk given by Steve Blank focuses on the history that created Silicon Valley. The fact to observe is that how innovations changed the world. As they say in Economics, Innovation is the driver of sustainable growth. After watching this, I was left INSPIRED..!!!

Monday, 23 April, 2012

Technology Entrepreneurship Venture Lab 2012

I am now back again. It has been long since I have posted something. I was busy with some personal stuff. Things have sorted out now and I will try to be regular at posting my experiences and learning.
Recently, I have joined this FREE online class called Technology Entrepreneurship Venture Lab 2012.
The class is being moderated by Prof. Chuck Eesley, Stanford University (Yes..! Its Stanford, USA and FREE). We are in team building stage now. For the first assignment, we had 10 people in our team. For this assignment we had to submit 5 Worst and 5 Best ideas with 1 individual submitting only 1 idea, Worst or Best. Unfortunately, only 4 people from my group submitted and based on each individual's evaluation of his team members, we were teamed up with 5 new members for the 2nd stage of assignment.
For the 2nd assignment, we were given a Worst Idea of some other team and we were supposed to tweak the idea to make it a Good Idea. The underlying principle is that no idea is a bad one. We can change some things and make a bad idea, an impressive one. For the submission of this 2nd assignment, we have to make a commercial which can either be a video, a presentation or a couple of paragraphs. My team is submitting a video and a presentation. My team mate, Pranay Bhardwaj, has done an excellent job of creating this video.

I have made this presentation, which first gives the Business Model of the Worst Idea that was given to us. Based on our brainstorming, we tweaked the idea and changed the B-Model. Here is our presentation

One great thing that happened through Venture Lab is that I got to meet many like-minded people. Yesterday, I went to meet the Bangalore based people who are taking this course. It was a great experience to meet all of them. I also met a Serial Entrepreneur who is currently into his 3rd venture. More on the meeting experience and what I learnt from it will come in next post.