Couldn’t have asked for a better start

Startup Saturday Mumbai hit the right notes in its very first edition of the year while talking about Startup Basics. Aptly titled ‘Special Startup Saturday’, it was held at SP Jain on the 11th of January. The event was made special by the valuable feedback shared with us by our peers in Mumbai. This made us extend our Special Startup Saturday over the course of six months instead of compressing it in one single event to give more time to extract maximum benefit from the speakers’ insights.

We had four great speakers, including one who had flown down all the way from San Francisco, to discuss about intellectual property rights, legal framework required for a startup as well as converting an idea into a business plan and startup accelerator programs.  We also had one lightning pitch during which an upcoming entrepreneur duo shared their concept with the audience.

Our first speaker for the evening was Chirag Tanna from INK IDEE. He spoke about intellectual property rights and how INK IDEE was started to assist individuals, startups and corporates to protect their ideas and innovations through patents and trademarks. He started out by explaining about the differences in trademarks, patents, copyrights and design, an often confused domain.  Intellectual property rights are extremely important for startups to protect their innovative ideas, logos and source codes as they are vulnerable to being exploited during their early stages due to lack of capital. He also emphasised on the need to get patents to get the necessary recognition as well as protection from third parties.  He created awareness about the procedure for registering a patent and also highlighted the easiest way to search for patents on the Govt. of India site for entrepreneurs before embarking on the journey of product invention. The Q&A session that followed was one of the most extensive seen in the near future with the audience clearing their doubts regarding copyrights and what can and cannot be patented.

Our second speaker for the evening was Ajeet Khurana, an angel investor, who had the audience in a spell during his interaction. He spoke about creating a business plan from your idea and went about explaining the same in a very un-conventional manner. Unlike explaining a business plan template, he spoke about what differentiates a startup and a successful startup. From an investor’s point of view, the idea is not as important as the implementation and execution is the key. The idea should have the potential to be reiterated and the business plan should provide a new way to sell the product.  Since there will be multiple startups in the same domain, it is important to scale faster and presentation skills are extremely important to get noticed. He gave three simple tips to connect with investors to discuss your idea and also raise the necessary capital. The first being, connect with the investor preferably through the referral route otherwise develop a relationship by following and retweeting rather than bombarding the investor with your idea. After clearing the first step, it is important to display traction during your interaction with the investor as they can then track your growth real time. Lastly, if the entrepreneur can get multiple investors  interested in the idea, nothing can be better as it displays saleability potential of the idea.

Going with our resolution of changing the Startup Saturday model, we had our LP right after the break with the intention of giving them more time for valuable feedback. Our LP for the evening was Documendz, which is a cloud based service for getting documents reviewed by peers. They provide a secure and hassle free service to review reports, articles, CVs and many more documents. The founders, Sagar and Hardik,explained their business model and scalability potential to the audience and in return received valuable feedback from the audience about setting up a revenue model and marketing campaigns.

Our third speaker for the evening was Mihir Lunia, from Themis Consulting, who spoke about the legal issues that need to be addressed while running a startup .  He spoke about creating a legal entity for your business, the models through which one can register their organisation and the accounting work to be done. He spoke in brief about the various methods of registering one’s company as well as the pros and cons of the same. On the same lines of Chirag Tanna, he spoke about the importance of getting your trademark registered as even a corporation like Parle-G had to pay one crore in Australia for buying their trademark from a third party.

Our fourth and last speaker for the evening had flown all the way from San Francisco to speak about Startup Chile and Startup Next. Aakash Barot spoke about the benefits of incorporating a startup from Chile and the benefits offered by the government for smooth functioning. Other than being offered forty thousand dollars as upfront seed funding, the startups are also given guidance and a conducive environment to flourish. He was able to connect with the audience and this was showed during their interaction with him. He even spoke about Startup next and also their endeavours in India . Startup Next powered by Google for Entrepreneurs helps startups in their  market ready.

Unlike other Startup Saturdays where individuals can post their requirements on Shoutbox, this time around, they were given the opportunity to pitch for two minutes and get a better chance of explaining themselves. This was greeted with huge excitement and the response was phenomenal. The networking session post the event gave individuals time to connect with one another with respect to their requirements as well as bounce off ideas.  The event gave a glimpse of what lies ahead for Startup Saturday Mumbai and everybody wants to know how the story unfolds…

The next Startup Saturday event will be held on 14th February 2015 on the theme of Startup Basics of Marketing.

Writeup by:

Vibhav Gupta

Headstart Mumbai Volunteer