After working on 100+ Start-up business models over the years, I was invited by the USD$Billion Wadhwani Foundation to work with their Content Creation, Entrepreneur coaching Helpline and Incubator/Accelerator teams. Wearing 3 hats was interesting because I would mentor and coach CXO's & Founders at Start-ups and in between work on the Content Revision project. They hired me for my "boots on ground" experience setting up professional firms and businesses across UK/USA/UAE/India and SE-Asia.
I suggested that we re-look at the curriculum using a new lens by reviewing what BRICS nations were doing in the innovation space before studying Babson, Stanford and others since India is an opportunity to develop products and services for SCALE in a VALUE SEEKING geography.
The Deloitte-UK style Storyboard was created using the new lens I co-created with the content team and ultimately the flow achieved was loved by India's Top-100 institutes editors from IIM-A and IIT-Bombay.
What made it all more enjoyable was the fact that we ran an Early Stage Accelerator (VentureFastrak) which is storied below:
HOWDY MODY - HOUSTON 2019 MADE MORE FIZZ ABOUT INDIA IN THE USA WITH FOLKS WHO NORMALLY THINK ELEPHANTS, YOGA AND TAJ MAHAL WHEN ASKED ABOUT INDIA.
TODAY INDIA IS AMONG THE TOP 5 START-UP ECOSYSTEMS OF THE WORLD. NOTORIOUSLY DIFFICULT AS A HIGH CONTEXT CULTURE AND AND AN "EASE OF DOING BUSINESS RANKING" WHICH IS FAR FROM SATISFACTORY IF THE YOUNG POPULATION DIVIDEND IS TO GET GOING. YOU DEFINITELY REQUIRE AN ENHANCED SENSE OF HUMOUR TO SURVIVE HERE.
15 December 2017, the VentureFastrack Accelerator Kicked off with 12 Founders as a Cohort. I am co-facilitating the workshops and coaching sessions alongside Lean coach Ram-mohan reddy.
The Wadhwani team has not spared anything by way of their top team people and their extended Mentorwise platform of 300+ Mentors+advisors+funding network.
The Workshop kicked off with "Running Lean" Guru Ash Maurya(USA) on Zoom explaining "Traction/Growth" in terms of the 3 distinct phases of LEAN entrepreneurship we implement as consultants with our clients:
PHASE 1. Problem/Solution Fit
PHASE 2. Product / market fit
PHASE 3. Scale/Growth
What's special about the LEAN SCALING approach, is that we meld together 3 methodologies consciously, sleeves rolled up :
2. LEAN methods (think frugal+fail fast but fail cheaply)
3. Agile Project Management
OBJECTIVE = USE VELOCITY TO DRIVE YOUR VENTURE EVERY DAY TO CROSS THE CHASMS WHICH HIT YOU ENROUTE TO GROWTH AND VALUE CREATION
16 December 2017 We had a visit by legends Nats (manages USD$Billionaire Ratan Tata's fund) and Shraddha Sharma, Founder CEO of Yourstory giving very good practical tips specially in those dark days when the entrepreneur faces their darkness also known as " the loneliness of the long distance runner".
Shraddha's mantra was like that famous line from the rock band POLICE "we are spirits, in a material world" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzqY0TzXM4Y
22 December 2017 We start getting down after the AGILE SCRUM SESSION and knowledge about how to launch a new venture in 24 Hrs. Taking cues from F1 racing pitstop and a game with a smiley ball which i used to demonstrate RAPID process improvements in traditional PM (project management) situations which use the THINK > PLAN > DO > REVIEW steps.
23 December 2017 We Reviewed the 3 STAGES in a matrix which also illustrated the DRIVERS of Startup success - IDEAS > TEAM > BUSINESS MODEL EXECUTION > FUNDING >TIMING . Now the Cohort of 12 set up their ACCELERATION Hypotheses, Experiments, Riskiest Assumptions and Networking requirements from Wadhwani foundation.
Also explored Harvard Prof. Clayton Christensen's "Jobs-To-Be-Done" and "Pain-Gain" framework for customer value proposition and messaging.
https://www.toptal.com/insights/innovation/how-to-build-a-successful-minimum-viable-product Gives the kind of insights that we explored during our sessions over the 3 months with our cohort. I love this image Running a Startup by @Sreeraman in LinkedIN. For India specially, this is a bullseye on a page!
A few in our cohort received funding offers after their "Beer-O-Clock" presentation sessions. This experience directly helped ne as a https://www.toptal.com/finance/startup-funding-consultants to help another team raise USD$2 Million in December 2018 at the IIT-K shark tank style competition.
RUNNING ACCELERATORS IS FASCINATING - The Main VALUE we discovered as facilitators that SCALEABILITY for the cohort, can be guaranteed only by 3 things - Sales, Sales, Sales....the rest is vanity?
I currently advise a team in the Airbus Bizlab accelerator, and 2 smaller incubators, so know exactly where the shoe pinches. GTM (Go To Market) in India for overseas investors is to be handled very carefully.
That's not to say that the bulding 3 C's [Cash+Capacity+Customer] with different skills sets at each of the 3 stages do not apply; but the Customer provides the cheapest form of funding .ie. Sales Revenues. Later one can have the luxury of discussing "strategic" matters such as https://blogs.economictimes.indiatimes.com/et-commentary/four-essential-cs-of-a-startup-entrepreneur/
AIRBUS -BIZLAB ACCELERATOR GRADUATION 13/7/18 - OUR CLIENT www.cats-global.com "SHOOK UP DA WORLD"
Bruno Gutierres, Global Head, Airbus BizLab, said at the event, “For the last couple of years I have been convinced with the potential and the quality of entrepreneurs in India. I am pleased to see that all these partnerships between Airbus and Indian startups are proving me right.”
Gutierres also commended the robust ecosystem provided by the Indian government for a thriving startup environment.
The Season 3 of Airbus BizLab’s start-up acceleration programme TAKE OFF 2018, also seeks to bolster the Indian government’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Startup India’ initiatives.
Shruti Singh, Director of Department of Industrial Policy (DIPP), said, “Indian Government’s initiatives about the new tech sector are not about creating jobs — but about creating job creators.” She added, “India’s vision is to support startups and work with MNCs to take Indian startups global and also help the country innovate.”
CATS-GLOBAL was one of ONLY 6 out of 140 Startups selected by Airbus.