1. Construkt Studio – How to Pitch to an Accelerator by Microsoft Ventures
Speakers – Ravi Narayanan and Avinash Menon, Microsoft Ventures
Micrososft Ventures is dedicated to helping small business models reach their potential through their accelerator program. The event saw a lot of talented and creative audience members who had come up with their own business ideas attending the session.
To begin with, speakers Ravi Narayanan and Avinash Menon explained what exactly an accelerator is – and how important it is to have a viable business model so that an accelerator would want to invest in one’s business. The most important aspect, according to them, is to keep one’s pitch short and sweet. Any presentation should be a sort of an elevator pitch and not exceed five minutes. In those five minutes, entrepreneurs should talk about
1. The pain points
2. The solutions one has
3. Details about the market size and potential
4. The uniqueness and characteristics of the business model
5. Assurances about who and how strong the team is
After they completed this segment, a workshop was held where audience members were encouraged to come up on stage with their own elevator pitches. Both speakers then provided them with valuable feedback that they could use to work on before they pitched to their potential accelerators. One of the most popular and active sessions of the day where the audience came away having learned a lot!
2. Hiring Hackers
Speaker: Raghu Mohan, Product Manager at HackerEarth
What do Nicholas Tesla and Ronaldinho have in common? They’re both playfully clever.
And that is what hackers are like, said Raghu Mohan. Hacking has come a long way since the days of them being categorised as “bad guys”. Nowadays, hacking is connected to creativity, with hackathons being organised everywhere.
So who are hackers, then? There are some values that are sacrosanct to good hackers, like sharing, openness, decentralisation, freedom, and distaste for authority. However, attitude is no substitute for competence.
Where does one find hackers? Chatrooms, meetups, hackathons. Also there are definite benefits to hiring a hackers, because you will get one resource to do the work of ten. But as an organisation, you need to give hackers the freedom to do their work – and if you aren’t fun, they’ll leave!
Bottom line: Hire a hacker IF you want to build something timeless.
3. The Dark Side of being an Entrepreneur
Speakers: Varun Agarwal of Alma Mater, Reticular and Last Minute Films, and Nikhil Velpanur, co-founder of Brahma3
Who are entrepreneurs? We had two experts on the topic take the stage for this session. Both serial entrepreneurs in their own right, Varun Agarwal and Nikhil Velpanur, had a bunch of experiences to share with the audience and broke through a lot of myths on what it REALLY meant to be an entrepreneur.
For one, entrepreneurship is not a “cool thing”, but a way of life. One has to dedicate your life to the business and be able to pick up the phone even at 3 am if someone is calling with an issue. But above all, there must be a love for what you are doing. After all, investors invest in the entrepreneur, not the idea, said Varun.
Nikhil also claimed that entrepreneurship is the best personality development course in the world. From forcing you to become confident about yourself, to learning to deal with the ups and downs of the business, entrepreneurship makes sure you are well-rounded after you emerge from the experience. Going sky diving every day with a faulty parachute – that’s what entrepreneurship is really like! But someone who has the craze for it will love every second of it.
4. Building your Networth
Speaker: Zishaan Hayath, co founder of Toppr.com
As someone who has invested in a number of start ups, Zishaan, brought to the table some simple and great pointers for people to keep in mind. From his journey with Ola cabs to his current venture Toppr.com, Zishaan cleared some misconceptions about Angel investors and what is important for investors to know when it comes to start-ups.
To start-ups themselves, Zishaan stressed on three things. One, do it when nobody else is doing it. Evolve when people enter the field, but enter it at the right time too. Two, don’t hesitate to do thing that might seem counter intuitive. Three, go all in once you figure out what you’re good at.
His charisma kept the audience at the edge of their seats. One of the most inspiring talks of the day, Zishaan’s journey was sure to inspire those among the crowd who were looking for a few pointers.
– Tia Raina.