It was billed as the New year’s review, a year’s reflection and lots of discussions. The Startup Santa at the Headstart Navi Mumbai chapter saw enthusiastic participation from seasoned entrepreneurs and young budding wannabe alike. This edition of Startup Saturday was in association with CIBA, Vashi, the co-working and incubation hub.

The final edition of 2018 had to be different. So the team Headstart decided to open with a case study and an activity. The participants were divided into teams of four, with each team been given a series of pictures to identify the needs of a Start-up. After the picture decoding activity, the five key elements were shared with each team.

The five being

 

  • timing
  • idea
  • finance
  • business model and
  • team

 

The respective teams were given 10 minutes to brainstorm and come up with an order of priority of these five key elements for any start-up. There were enough debates and discussion. Priorities were changed and case studies shared from PayTM to Axis bank. Ultimately the teams came up with their own list. Each team then presented reasoning for the list.

Our city lead Bikash Sahoo, then summarized each of the five points with his own version, a mix with mentor hours and loads of rich experience.

Here is Bikash’s list of the right priority:

 

  • Team
  • Timing
  • Idea
  • Business Model
  • Finance

 

The key lessons of this activity were:

  1. The most important area is the timing. You can be way ahead of your time and still your business will fail or if you are slow to start, you will end up doing all the catching up. So timing is a Priority.
  2. You can never underestimate the power of a team. A great combination is a team of three co-founders. The terms coined, courtesy CIBA – our host, are – Hacker,  Hustler and Hippie. Think of great companies with the twos, the two Steves Jobs and Wozniak. Larry Page and Sergey Brin from Google.
  3. Everybody unanimously agreed that finance was perhaps in the bottom tier of the list, probably at number 4 or 5. 
  4. While finance is important, attracting investors is good but this cannot happen without the sound business model. Making a sound business model is a key to scalability. Idea can be generated, dime a dozen. The key to is focus on one idea that would work!

Next up, we played a version of Shark Tank, albeit a more gentler one! Continuing on a newfound success with the five parameters of a good start-up, each participant was asked to share his / her view on what was the key element missing from their start-up in 2018.

Among the key speakers from the participants, we had Angam share his idea of working with a smart City project. Aagam Jain is the Director at Trunexa. His story is that of team building and capacity building, the two key elements any start-up requires. A very interesting discussion also came upon the difference between bootstrap and one that seeking Angel investors. According to some of the senior participants, a great way for any start-up to emerge is on a self-funded journey and then make your presence count, so that angels queue up to give you the funds. Perhaps this is one wish, we can ask Santa to fulfil on this #StartupSaturday!

This was followed by a very interesting discussion with Sushil Alme. Sushil is the Director at InfinitiEdu. His journey began with the team of five but along the way some of the co-founders found this different niche to work on. In Sushil’s story of his failures, we found inspiration and had better lessons than some success stories around. He spoke about being focused and not repeating the mistakes, as the key to build up a new start-up.

Overall a great participative session and the key lessons that we learnt can be summarized here:

  1. Be very careful in choosing your team members and co-founder.
  2. Be rational and not only emotional.
  3. Remember investments come from 3F: friends, family and fools!
  4. Learn from others’ failures, so that you don’t repeat them.
  5. Choose a core subject and build over your expertise over.

The expectations from Headstart for 2019 for the Startup Saturday were networking sessions, finding the right product mix and understanding the legal issues of setting up a new enterprise. With that hope and promise we look forward to an exciting 2019 and we hope next year round we can give our dear friend Santa some gifts instead of asking for a favour! Happy New Year from the team Headstart.

Contributed by: Dawood Vaid
Volunteer, Headstart Navi Mumbai