I am sharing my journey on my participation as a student and as a Social / Digital IBM’er @ IBM Mentor day,24th July 2013.
My participation at this event ,not only enriched my knowledge on the various aspects of Entrepreneurship, but also enhanced my personal understanding on how IBM Global Entrepreneur offers mentoring and services (software on the cloud, IBM relationship manager, events such at Mentor Days and SmartCamps, etc – see http://ibm.com/isv/startup) to support the startups in the program.
Setting the context: Refer to IBM Global Entrepreneurship Blog for a brief summary of the 5 startups selected for mentoring http://bit.ly/18tblQ0
I would summarise my learning into 5 parts :
Part 1 : 3 Success factors for start ups : (although there is no one recipe for success)
1-Doing Things Right : Identifying the right product / segment / markets, the customer acquisition strategy , chosing the right platforms,business models ,capital efficiency, operating in the right markets.
2-Scalability, Flexibility , Adaptability & Speed in execution across the spectrum : Processes, Finance,Planning,Performance, Decisions ,Experimentation & Execution.
3-Learning from failure : Analysis but not paralysis , step up quality of leadership.
Part 2 :Entrepreneurs :A first hand conversation revealed couple of key insights
– Having a clear vision from the start .
– There is no dirth of passion for their idea but ideas should lead to value creation & to apply the knowledge / unique skill sets for solving a genuine problem.
– Take the plunge ,but with calculated risks.
– Key learnings on biz models,resources etc.
and many more insights
Part 3 :On the other hand Venture Capitalists & Mentors thought process & message for Entrepreneurs was very different.
-Don’t create products without understanding clients need.
-Most of the Indian startups try to solve all problems at a time,international founders take ‘one’ problem at a time.
-They look at their passion , zeal and enthusiasm while pitching the business not their communication skills!
-Do their homework before they approach VC’s.
-The ability to convince.
– Funding cycle is volatile , founders need to have a great deal of understanding of their capital efficiency and cash flow liquidity.
-VC’s biggest learnings are from entrepreneurs !
– Founders need to have strategic intent to build global visibility , scale their business and have an exit strategy at some point in time.
-Capitalization keep VC’s employed!
Part 4 :IBM Global Entrepreneur Program Agenda
-Facilitate mentoring and networking for Startups
-To enhance their business growth or any other factors hindering scalability.
-To provide a networking platform with mentors & venture capitalists.
-Evaluate fitment of IBM Smarter planet solutions to their product / solutions.
Part 5 :All in all , this was a great life hacking experience into
· A Closed door start up presentations to Mentors & Investors.
· Understanding the vision , DNA and burning desire to do immense value creation by entrepreneurs
· What goes into doing the ‘ground work’ to solving basic problems.
· Entrepreneurs need to ask the right questions to their Mentors and also fireside chat with Investors to ensure they reap maximum benefit out of the mentoring sessions.
IBM Innovation Center Facebook page :Catch a glimpse of the series of events that took place.http://on.fb.me/17gJSe2
A storify link with couple of highlights along with this blog that encapsulates my personal learning.Read the Story here