With Us As One…

Face to face

Gazing in depth,

Into your eyes

Silence sigh,

But minds roar

With the triumphant

Of unconquerable queries,

Waiting to take on

To get simultaneously defeated;

Victory be won,

With us as one.

 

Pinch of first words

And then it commence,

An unending saga

Of nuances and brevity;

As the hearts open,

Curiosity transcends

To explore the floral corners

Of flowery minds;

Time takes a halt

But moments keep building.

So yet another journey begun,

But this time

With us as one…

 

Advertisements

Penzu Asks “How Was Your Day Today?”

Dear Penzu,

Thanks a lot for asking me that buddy!

Everyday, without a miss, you ask me that. Right from the day I signed up for you.

You have been the one consistently caring.

It really motivates BTW, to make my day memorable so that I always have something exciting to write to you.

It’s my birthday today. So happy birthday to me! 🙂

Self-potrait

Your message was same as every other day. Well it’s not your fault. How would you have known about it?

Lot of people wished. Some in person, some through messages and most of them took out time to paint my Facebook timeline.

Probably it’s the first time when the wisher’s list spans across international boundaries. Thanks to my friend Mika. She is from Japan. We met in i.school workshop. Now she calls me her best friend in India 🙂

My blog has also helped me in making some good international friends.

BTW I haven’t told you about the workshop, have I? Well I started writing about it (you can look into the draft) but didn’t complete it. Actually I wanted to document the real-time account of happenings. Never mind, I’ll write about that shortly.

Family is always the first, without a doubt. My brother was probably keeping the mobile phone with him so he can call me right after the clock struck 12. Nothing can make you feel more blessed than your parents wishing you, right in the very morning.

I couldn’t pick up the call right then because my friends had already barged into my room. As the tradition goes, we celebrated it in the night.

Not to mention the beatings. I feel like I’m getting more vulnerable to that day after day. Beaters would come up with weird relations just to get you on the list, let alone be it your birthday.

And not only mine. It’s my lovely nephew’s birthday too! He is two years old now. I had already made a poster for him as I did for myself 🙂

2

Yeah! The Birthday Boy

Well I didn’t expect any tangible gift and neither did I receive any. But gifting yourself is much more satisfactory. Load of self encouragement and motivation to chase aspirations. Giving myself treat. Listening to some good music and watching lot of comedy videos.

My friend’s birthday is there tomorrow. We didn’t go for the party today as it would be more economical if we give it together 😛

We had to bear the mess food for that. You know, I really appreciate the mess food to be so adamant on not to change its taste. I mean that’s what having attitude means, right?

Day mostly went in sleeping because I had a very important conversation throughout the night. Please don’t ask me the specifics. Just know that it was totally worthy. I am happy that I had that conversation.

Spending your birthday like a regular routine seems an accomplishment. To make it tougher, combine all the chunk activities that spread over several days into one.

Going to the stadium is one of those routines. Amidst my other possessions, I probably wouldn’t have chosen this one today (or I might have missed it). Luckily my friend asked me to come with him and I happily accompanied.

I didn’t do much – no running, no exercises. But it did give me some peaceful time with myself, as it always has been the reason for going there. Most of the time, I was thinking what should I write to you.

I went to the temple in the evening. As you might be knowing, I am quite religious. It’s been so many days that I have visited the nearby temple. Amidst my busy schedule, it somewhere takes a side. But I had decided to take out time for this today. It feels contempt after spending some serene moments there.

There were lots of messages to reply throughout the day. I still haven’t open Facebook to atleast greet all those who wished. I feel more comfortable in thanking them here. So if they somehow read this letter at some point of time, they would know I am not rude for that matter.

I had a bit of headache in the evening. I can’t particularly pin point the reason but I was feeling so tired. So I took a nap. I think the climate adds up to that. Its too hot in here these days. It makes you feel lazy sometimes.

The most craziest of surprises would be that of my friend who decided to call me when it was only 4 minutes left for the end of the day. He had already wished me through message but its nicer to get a phone call, isn’t it?

To my astonishment, he deliberately wanted to call at that time because it’s different and not many people would do that. Everyone wants to be early on the wishing queue.

I wonder what more should I write to you? Whatever I wrote so far is an anecdote from a special day. Life is great. Work is going at good pace hopefully.

Ya one more thing! I was sure that I would write something to you today but what would I write – that I didn’t know. I started with ‘Life Reverse Engineered – 20 Years In 2 Words Saga‘. Pretty abstract topic probably. It was a glimpse from the book I’m writing – ‘Zeroth Cheat Code‘.

In the process of penning down, I realized it requires deeper thoughts to structure them properly than my mind was allowing today. So I decide to write this letter instead. It’s still there in your draft, if you can look it up.

Now that I have surpassed my beginner’s inertia, I would write to you frequently. I know you would keep asking me the same question every day. But I might not reply all of them.

No I’m not being ignorant. Please don’t misunderstand me.

It’s just that sometimes urgent works takes over in priorities. You know about my 12 o’clock assignment chasing, right?

Nevertheless I would try my best to write back. Ciao till the next time!

  • Chandan

Note – Penzu is an online journal platform I signed up for, in January 2016. Since then I have been consistently writing it. In fact, many of my recent blog posts were initially drafted there. I would highly encourage the readers to start one of their own. Its totally private so you can write whatever you want.

With its email settings properly configured, it sends you notification everyday to write on it. This letter is merely an attempt to acknowledge that in form of a blog post. Hope you enjoyed reading it 🙂

Startup Schools! Let’s Talk About Incubators & Accelerators

Disclaimer : The following blog post represents my personal point of view. As an aspiring entrepreneur, I have been to various entrepreneurship events, yet my acquaintance with the startup world is limited. I am still exploring and learning.

This is just for general introduction to some startup jargon you hear these days and what they actually are. If at any point, the information seems to be vague, do point it out in the comments and definitely search about them for clarifications.

There couldn’t have been a better time to do startups than today!

This might be the most commonly heard opening line in any entrepreneurship events these days. For the innovators bitten by entrepreneurial bug, its not unusual to think constantly about their journey ahead. You’ve an idea and you know how to technically approach towards a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) – good! Then read on.

YOUNG (1)

General execution, marketing, reaching out to the target audience, scaling the potential business, team members (who would be as excited as you), angel funding, venture capital – these things would bug you more often than not. (unless you’re a serial entrepreneur with many successful companies on your portfolio!)

On 3rd March (Thursday), we had an event here in college organized by E-Cell. Having a general lecture given by senior students is not a new thing. But this lecture cum workshop was held in association with Commence Mint – a budding startup school based in Bangalore.

An Incubator – yes, that’s how they identify themselves. It’s basically a Venture Capital (VC) firm driven by general philosophy that even if the startup gets big, majority of its share should remain with its founders instead of the investors.

According to them, it is generally the other way round these days. Their current model seems to be more promising for both the parties, in terms of return. They had a really nice presentation – not much text & lots of info-graphics. I think its better for the interest of general audience when they’re not sure about the contents.

The mentors who came for the talk were  middle-aged experience fellows. They already had worked in startups and have ventures of their own. I got to know some significant things about venture capitalist for that matter. I would write them in points for the readers to have an general idea –

  • A VC is a corporation or an individual who invest in startups at their early age. They are like Private Equity (PE) firms providing office space, taking care of general stuffs like food, personal mentoring as well. Though most of these describes more of an incubator.
  • One invests in founders not idea. Yeah, that’s goes against the general notion but it’s true. Ideas keep changing but people don’t. And its much harder to recover in case of loss on the later part.
  • A disruptive model with global potential is what lures them. They expect not 10 or 100 but atleast 1000% return on their investment. This might not be the case always but just think, even if one startup makes it big out of 10 startups in their portfolio, their failure is recovered beyond the expectations.

IMG_20160303_175755

  • VCs don’t sign the non-disclosure agreement generally. It’s important to understand for the aspiring entrepreneurs. If two parties come to them with very similar idea, they don’t take any guarantee on whom they would prefer to fund.
  • They’re smart enough to sniff your dedication for the proposed idea. Be single minded – either job or this startup because it’s not for 1-2 days but probably for the rest of your life.
  • What’s important? The 4Ps formulae – Problem, Proof, Passion, Partners.

IMG_20160303_181258

My QuestionHow probable is it for a VC to suggest two different teams with similar ideas to merge and get the fund as a unit? Will they prefer solving the problem first?

That’s the general doubt I had based on the non-disclosure point above.

Their answer – Chances are likely but that doesn’t generally work. There are many factors that comes into picture than just similar ideas. Their compatibility, their willingness, their priority (startup or solving the problems?) – all these things matter.

Although, it’s not totally out of the scenario. Citing on the example – Flipkart snapping up Myntra, TaxiForSure (an Ahmedabad based startup) was acquired by Ola. They have much larger valuation after merging. 

Talking about the current startup scenario in India, about 98% of the startups was sold to big corporations last year owning to the founder’s will to dissolve. They couldn’t even get listed on the stock exchange. 

Extra lessons –

  • In between the talk they discussed on  character vs. venture building. For the accelerators who work is to match the mentors (expertise) with startup founders (ideators), it is very hard to get the whole thing working. While this match would certainly be beneficial in character development from the ideator’s perspective, ensuring venture development is essential as well.
  • Friendship built around business is more appreciated (an likely to be successful) than the other way round.

Where does the CampusMint (or any such incubators) come in?

You have an idea? – Very Well!

You’re young, confused and vulnerable? – Great!

You’re passionate about your startup & want to pursue it for the rest of your life?- Hmm…you might like to consider it then.

Though I can’t reproduce their whole presentation here, nonetheless I would try to summarize from whatever I noted down-

  • They provide you with one year of office space for two (founder + 1 co-founder), in Bangalore currently.
  • Summing up all the cost that they put in around 40,00,000 INR for a year (they had a detailed cost breakdown but I couldn’t note it down in the process). All these things to ensure that you’ve successful running startup at the end.
  • 3 tracks philosophy for proper incubation –
    • Founder Development
    • Business 101
    • Venture Development
  • They take 20% equity in your startup.

IMG_20160303_182300

  • They have several strategic partners on board . You can check them on their website.
  • Once a Co-Minter, always a Co-Minter‘ – after passing out from this startup school, you would be a registered alumni. They would be happy to have you there for mentoring other budding startups. Though they may not provide the facilities like before (while you were there ; if you’re still struggling with your business model).
  • Starting from July 2016 in Bangalore, their plan is to take 20 ventures (40 Entrepreneurs) and incubate them.

My take on the whole event-

Don’t step into something until you’re totally sure about it. At the end of the session, they were distributing forms to get the general idea about you & your startup. Next day, one has to appear for the personal interview where they would check your credibility for the program.

Specially when you’re talking in thousands & millions of dollars, you have to be careful. Explore other options as well, introspect your execution planning and safely entertain your chances.

As an Entrepreneur, significant part of your life would be invested in raising money and exciting customers. This was the closing remark of the event and I think somewhere its true!

Bonus –

If you’re in your early 20s (average age of startup founders in India is around 28, so in that respect you’re fairly young) and serious about your entrepreneurial journey, do checkout this Mashable article that talk about hardships you might have to face on the way.

Note : This blog, in no way, endorses or is supported by Commence Mint. It’s just an attempt to share first hand experience of attending a startup school event. The details mentioned are true to the best of my knowledge, yet you’re encouraged to check the respective website of any such incubators for clarification. The opinions presented are of my own. Feel free to comment your take on this, down below. Ciao!