We have done almost 90 roundtables so far, and based on this extensive experience of learning directly from entrepreneurs about their core issues, 1M/1M has just launched a new assessment tool for entrepreneurs.
It is a quick self-assessment that you can apply to calibrate where you are in your business-building process. We have also provided relevant 1M/1M curriculum modules that you can use to bridge the gaps in your knowledge and understanding of a robust entrepreneurship methodology. Please note, curriculum modules are only accessible to 1M/1M premium members.
Before I jump into the presentations, let me also share a piece of news with you: 1M/1M premium company FreshDesk, based in Chennai, India has won the Microsoft Bizspark India Startup Challenge Grant of $40,000, topping the Cloud category. Congratulations to the FreshDesk team. They are executing very well. I have high hopes, as I discussed in last week’s India’s Big Opportunity in SaaS post.
As for the pitches today, first, Daniel McPherson from Australia pitched ShareVolution, an app store for the Microsoft SharePoint community. Daniel expects SharePoint’s cloud based solution provider eco-system to develop over the next few years. He wants to provide both a branded app store and white-labelled stores for developers to put on their respective sites.
There is one problem with the strategy, though. The SharePoint cloud eco-system is not sufficiently mature, and for Daniel to be able to realise his vision, he needs to get enough application developers active soon. My advice was to keep doing the SharePoint solution development and consulting work the company does today and develop the store project as a side effort until the market is ready. Cash needs to come into the business. For now, it won’t come in through the store.
Then Anupam Rajey from Lucknow, India, presented Acelerar Technologies, an outsourced accounting services BPO project from India. Anupam has serious segmentation issues. He is heading straight into an intensely competitive market without adequate differentiation or competitive positioning. I asked him to review the TrueCFO project in my Vision India 2020 book. In it, I have mapped out a similar project, but with a clear delineation of the segmentation and positioning as well as a go-to-market strategy. I advised Anupam to come up with a 2011 strategy. He currently has a 1999 strategy.
Next, Heddi Cundle from San Francisco, California, discussed MyTab, an online gift-registry of sorts to raise money for travel. Heddi wants to do this, that, and the other from wedding registry to charity donations. I asked her to focus squarely on just travel. In addition, her segmentation strikes me as incorrect. Those who need to raise money for travel, most likely, are the disposable income strapped gen Y, as opposed to the gen X or baby-boomers, whom she wants to target the solution to. The idea is interesting, but needs positioning and validation with the right set of target customers.
Then, Harshil Parikh, from Bombay, India, pitched CareerDhaba, an online solution for career counseling for the Indian student population in the 16-25 age group. This strikes me as yet another entrepreneur who needs a tightening of his segmentation big time. Age 16 kids have very different career counseling needs from age 18 kids. Age 18 is worried about college, and that in itself is a sizable market. I asked Harshil to focus his entire product and go-to-market strategy on the college-bound age 18 market and develop his assessment module, vertical search engine for colleges, and trust network to address the needs of that market and that market alone.
Green Earth Aerogels
Last up, Fortunato Cardenas from Barcelona, Spain, presented Green Earth Aerogels, a nano-materials company in Barcelona, Spain focused on developing insulation gels from rice. Fortunato is facing a dreadful economic climate in Spain — a meltdown of sorts, really — and is looking for U.S. partners to help bring his product to market. So, if you happen to be an expert in nano materials and green buildings, please feel free to contact him through his website.
You can select the business you like best of those discussed today through a poll on the 1M/1M Facebook page.
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