Somebody please tell me what exactly happened at the three-day Bootcamp that preceded Proto.in Edition 6. The agenda note said that the Bootcamp would, among other things, “teach and groom (the showcase startups) with everything that goes into the mastery of delivering a pitch.” The results at the July 25 showcase in Pune were disastrous, to say the least. Not one startup that presented at the showcase (each was given six minutes) answered with precision or satisfaction the six essential questions that a good elevator pitch should address:
- What does the product or service do? Guy Kawasaki recommends in ‘The Art Of The Start’ (recommended reading for every bootstrapped entrepreneur) that this question should be answered in less than a minute. Which means it has to be simple and precise.
- Who are you selling to? The entrepreneur should be able to clearly identify the end user, which should automatically illustrate why that person would be using his product or service.
- How will you make money? Most pitches at the showcase spent the least time on this one.
- Who are your competitors? Everybody has competition. Knowing the competition implies that you know your market.
- Why are you better than the competition? This is where the startup finally gets down to explaining what its key differentiators are, what problems it solves that the competition does not.
Hopefully the Bootcamp is going to be a regular feature and will be taken more seriously in future. No matter how much the organizers holler about “venture capitalists being incidental to the event”, ultimately 90 per cent of startups who turn up at an event like this expect to get noticed by investors who may fund them at a later stage. So, getting that elevator pitch right is of utmost importance. The flash and crackle of showmanship is great entertainment but of little use.
Now, on to the 14 startups showcased in Edition 6:
Bankbazaar: Founded in 2008 by Adhil Shetty, Arjun Shetty and Rati Rajkumar. Online realtime loan disbursal platform. Based in Chennai. Seeking venture capital.
eMart Solutions: Founded in 2009 by Aditya Bhamidipaty and Srikanth Chunduri. The product, GoVasool, is an online group shopping and reverse auction marketplace. Based in Bangalore. Seeking venture capital.
Vigyaapan Technologies: Founded in 2008 by Ankush Gupta and Ramayya Krishnan. Mobile (user base) analytics and advertising applications. Based in Mumbai.
Time Vision Infotech: Founded in 2009 by Siddharth Goyal. The product, Conwizta, is a content wizard and testing application. Based in Kolkata.
Vrixx Education Solutions: Co-founded in 2008 by Santhosh Thriviraman and others. Web portal solution for educational institutions that streamlines activities related to academics, administration and communication. Based in Bangalore. Seeking venture capital.
Enterux Solutions: Founded in 2008. The product, English Seekho, is a telephone-based tutor that imparts a course in basic English. Based in Pune. Seeking venture capital.
Compark Education: Co-founded in 2009 by Raju Moza and others. The product, TestMerit, is an online entrance test preparation portal. Based in Ghaziabad. Seeking venture capital/ investment.
ThinkCore Technologies: Founded in 2008 by Narendra Narayana and Santhosh Thrivikraman (he is also a co-founder in Vrixx). Enterprise communication and collaboration solution. Based in Bangalore.
Aerosoft Systems: Founded in 2006. E-commerce reconciliation system. Based in Pune.
HyCa Technologies: Founded in 2006 by AB Pandit, Anjan Mukherjee and Vivek Ranade. Makes reactors (patent pending) that use energy dissipated by collapsing cavitation bubbles to modulate physical, chemical and biological processes. Based in Mumbai. Seeking venture capital/ investment.
Intsolvers Technologies: Founded in 2006. Automated optical inspection system for auto component manufacturers, etc. Based in Trivandrum.
TouchMagix Media: Founded in 2008 by Anup Tapadia. Digital media solutions. Based in Pune.
Vardenchi Motorcycles: Founded in 2006 by Akshai (no surname). Custom motorcycle manufacturer. Based in Mumbai. Seeking venture capital/ investment.
Automotive Robotics: Founded in 2007 by Rajeev Ranadive. Bolt-on-Kits to enhance the performance of existing cars. Based in Pune.