March Madness or March Sadness?

March Madness or March Sadness?

Can you believe that almost 3 months have passed since the New Year’s celebrations? A few weeks ago, I read a quote about time on Forbes which basically stated that time is the only commodity you need to generate money. And it struck me how strongly I felt about it. I thought it was the rashest rationale ever. First, you can’t leverage time! It is a man-made construct to satisfy our psychological need to anchor our perceptions from to moment to moment as reality that hold true forever and it comes into a finite packaging. 24 hours in a day; 60 minutes in an hour and 60 seconds in a minute; not one more! If you have only 24 hours to make money by “selling your time”, you can only make a finite amount of money. Now, if you are selling “value” as opposed to time, the more value you deliver, the higher the price, regardless of time. Second, if that quote held true, then every single entrepreneur who had a plan, goal, milestones, or even the faintest idea of what the new year will look like in terms of revenue, would have achieved their objectives. We were all granted the same amount of time. Is that what happened? Has every entrepreneur out there achieved their financial goals? If you have, congratulations! If you didn’t, why? You probably have heard this anecdote before, when Bill Gates and Warren Buffet each took a piece of paper, and without consulting each other, wrote down what’s responsible for their success. They both chose the same word: FOCUS. Focus is the hardest thing...
How to Benefit Most From Mentors & Advisors (Hint: They Are Not Seeking Jobs!)

How to Benefit Most From Mentors & Advisors (Hint: They Are Not Seeking Jobs!)

What causes startups and businesses to fail? I contend that it is not the quality of their product or service or the intellectual property that protects it, but rather the entrepreneur’s inability to leverage their power to secure and capitalize on commercial opportunities. A prerequisite and mandatory step to leverage your power is to evolve, develop yourself, and mature as an entrepreneur: self-assess, understand your capacity and learn from experiences both inside and outside of your business. Almost every successful entrepreneur can recognize a few key mentors and advisors who have influenced their journey and helped them along the way. If you have raised equity funding, you may benefit from the guidance and mentoring that investors provide (yes, qualified investors don’t just write a check!). After all, it does take a village to raise an entrepreneur! Both mentors and advisors are an important part of the entrepreneurial journey, and although the terms are being used interchangeably, it is important that you understand the difference so you can benefit the most from their guidance.   Mentors: A mentor is someone who will support you and encourage you to develop your skills and knowledge as the leader of your company to maximize your business potential and achievements. They have some entrepreneurial experience and a general business acumen. They can be close friends, professional acquaintances or come from organized resources group like Score or the Business Mentor Team. Mentors are most beneficial in the ideation and early stage of a business. Why? Because their main focus is you as your business results are in direct relation to your development and maturity as...
Don’t Tell Me About The Labor Pains, Show Me The Baby!

Don’t Tell Me About The Labor Pains, Show Me The Baby!

When you are an entrepreneur, you find yourself having to tell your story over and over. Traditionally we have been taught to master an elevator pitch, which certainly has its time and place. When dealing with investors, you have to paint them your master piece, your Sistine chapel! Don’t let them guess or work hard to get to it. Many entrepreneurs are so focused on their mechanism, their how-they-do-what-they-do, that they fail to show them the baby! A great framework to help you articulate your story is Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s journey. It involves a protagonist who goes on an adventure, wins a decisive victory after a crisis, encounters some more challenges and eventually returns home, transformed. Sounds familiar? From Finding Nemo to Star Wars, you find this narrative in classic literature, movies and even religious texts. Now, don’t get carried away! You are not writing a Hollywood production! Your business plan, pitch deck, etc. still need to be in an investor-grade format (cf. From MVP to VC: Strategic non-starters and how to avoid them).     Investors want to know who you are: The first step in the Hero’s journey is the “ordinary world” where you learn details from the hero’s ordinary life before he starts on his adventure. It anchors the hero as human and gives us a chance to connect. Translated to business: Who are you? Who are the members of your management team? And how will your experiences aid in your success? Are you trustworthy? Are you coachable?   Investors want to know why did you get started: That is the second step “the call to...
From MVP to VC: Strategic non-starters and how to avoid them

From MVP to VC: Strategic non-starters and how to avoid them

One of the unavoidable responsibilities for the CEO of any startup company is to provide the initial funds; and round 2 funding; and round 3 funding, until investment is secured or revenue generated, as running out of cash is not an option. Think you are ready to raise investment capital? I review many business plans and pitch decks for companies who are seeking funding for their pre-seed, seed or series A through our Business Marketplace. And as part of our process to successfully secure capital for our clients, I also write many plans and pitch decks. I want to share with you what I’ve learned. Investors lend you money to make MORE money Investors write you a check when they are emotionally high Investors don’t bet on an also ran   Before you get to meet with investors, you will have to submit yourself to their vetting process by sharing information about your startup: pitch deck, executive summary, business plan and financial projections. In other words, your documentation will speak first on your behalf. You only have one chance to make a great first impression! Here are the top strategic errors many entrepreneurs commit from the get go: They do not ‘speak’ intelligently about their business They talk and talk about the labor pain but never show the baby They live for today   What does it mean to speak intelligently about your business in your pitch deck and business plan? When seeking funding, the first thing is to prepare a funding business plan and not an operational business plan! Sounds obvious but many don’t know that such a...
Five Trends in Agritech Innovation in India to Watch Out for in 2017

Five Trends in Agritech Innovation in India to Watch Out for in 2017

Five Trends in Agritech Innovation in India to Watch Out for in 2017 – AgFunderNews Editor’s Note: Hemendra Mathur is agribusiness investment lead and venture partner at Bharat Innovations Fund, a new $150 million early stage fund with a focus on agtech, cleantech, health-tech and enterprise-tech ventures. Mathur previously worked at SEAF India Investment Advisors and Yes...