How mentoring helps start-ups? Why should women join the TiE Women’s Global Pitch Contest? And all that happened at TiE in this issue.
TiE Pune Events:
TiE Pune’s Nurture Accelerator Graduation Day Celebrations on June 16th :
33 out of 54 start-ups graduated the class – because the goals that were set at the start of this program were met by them. The graduates were presented with their certificates at a celebratory evening. In fact, past Nurture mentees too showed up adding more heft to the evening.
Go-To-Market with Kiran Deshpande
Breakfast With TiE was held on May 24 at MKCL premises. Kiran Deshpande the inveterate mentor took this very interesting session on Go-To-Market.
The proof of the pudding lies in paying customers. How to create and grow your customer base? Start-up founders need to have a strategy in place that will enable capturing and growing customers, and have a go-to-market approach throughout the lifespan of their business. A highly interactive session that gave the attendees deep insights into the business of customer procurement.
TiE Pune – Happy To Help:
Our one-on-one mentoring Session is open to any TiE member who makes a request for guidance on any business related issue and our Charter members whose vast experience is almost legendary will most certainly help. So far we received 51 requests on wide ranging topics such as finance, marketing, HR issues and technology. Of these, 15 are still ongoing and 36 issues have been resolved. TiE Pune – always ready to help
What’s In It For Me? – what do participants get out of contests?
Why should a female entrepreneur participate in the TiE Women’s Global Pitch contest? Apart from a prize to be won at the end of the contest, what’s the big deal, one may wonder? What do contests hold for the participants? We speak to a few participants to know what a contest can do for your business.
Parul Ganju, founder of Ahammune Biosciences, took part in the 2020 edition of the contest. At that time, her belly was full of the fire to put out the woes faced by vitiligo patients. “I had been working on finding a treatment for vitiligo through my science and felt that certain molecules we were working on would do the work. My start-up was at a very early stage.”
But she was prodded on by TiE Pune’s Zelam Chaubal who at the time was chairperson, TiE Women’s Initiative, to enter this contest. Parul did eventually. And won. She tells us what this contest did for Ahammune.
How do you convince a panel of judges that your formulation holds promise of curing vitiligo?
Well, based on my data in animals, I was very sure that my solution would work. However, it would still take me years to show this in patients. In the therapeutics arena it is not possible to show your product to anyone until it is out in the market. And to do that you have to develop the molecules in the combination, test them, then do clinical trials and then you can showcase them to people.
So how do I convince judges that my business has a potential? Especially because I was at too early a stage. With the help of my mentors at TiE Pune, I was shown the way to move ahead even though I did not have the ‘gel’ in hand. The pitch I gave to the judges managed to showcase the promise that my not-yet-ready formulation held. And I think therein lies the potential of this contest. It can help you succinctly put your idea across, no matter what stage or domain you are in, and in doing so you too learn
Arti Agarwal has been a participant of the Women’s Global Contest and though her start-up Anaxee Digital Runner did not win any prize, she feels she nevertheless benefitted immensely by way of participation in this contest.
“To begin with I got world-class mentoring. How can a small start-up manage to get global leaders who are successful businessmen/ women themselves to advise you? Besides that, I met some amazing women who were so motivating and helpful. And most importantly, some of these resulted in business for my company.”
In addition, it is important to be able to effectively communicate the story. The mentoring support provided by senior TiE Charter Members helped us sharpen our pitch and fine-tune our vision for the growth of the company. The insights were crucial in building brand visibility and refining our go-to-market strategy.
Serigen is a medical devices company that was a participant of the 2021. The founding team of Serigen felt the need to find solutions to India’s import of medical devices in an unique and innovative way.
Serigen has figured out a way to convert silk thread into a solution that can then be structured into different shapes to substitute bone gaps in the human body.
Says Anuya Nisal, the founder, “Developing implantable medical devices combines the principles of material science, tissue engineering, cellular biology and biochemistry. In addition to this, you have to understand the regulatory framework which involves clinical trials, manufacturing in clean rooms, adopting medical device quality standards, etc. Deep science led innovations also need a robust IP strategy, building an interdisciplinary team and raising appropriate resources to support longer gestation time.”
In addition to all this, it is important to be able to effectively communicate the story. The mentoring support provided by senior TiE Charter Members helped us sharpen our pitch and fine-tune our vision for the growth of the company. The insights were crucial in building brand visibility and refining our go-to-market strategy.
Nurture- The Growth Guide
What can 100+ years of collective experience do to 54 young start-ups? Stated plainly, help them achieve their stated goals, or in some cases give them a better understanding of what the goals should be.
Says Advait Kurlekar Chairperson, TiE Pune’s Nurture Accelerator 11.0, “this year we received 148 applications to join Nurture but we accepted only 54. This is because many of these companies are either at too early a stage, perhaps still at ideation where they don’t need Nurture but a validation program, or do not have a POC ready or simply are not focused enough.
“A start-up must be ‘mentorable’ to join the Nurture program. Often, we see that a founder is married to the solution rather than the problem. There might be several ways by which a problem can be solved and a founder must be ready to accept this.”
Of the 51 start-ups that were mentored by Nurture, 57% (that is 33) have graduated – which means that they have achieved their stated goals and brought about great positive change to their business.
Here is what Nurture has done for a few of the graduated companies:
Kishore Kapoor, founder, True Biz Learning Info Systems
“My company provides corporate training to companies in five areas that are – improve in sales, innovation and creativity, happiness at the workplace, leadership and customer delight skills. We have so far worked with 35 companies, some big ones like Mitsubishi, Godfrey Phillips, ITC, Marico and so on. As a start-up one is obviously concerned with making money and as a result ends up undervaluing its services and charging less. My mentors showed me that some of the services I was providing were high value services and I should not underprice myself just because I have bills to pay. So now I am following this advice. Three of my services I charge a premium (an increase of 10% to 100%) and two, which are mass market services, I offer at a lower price. This is an invaluable insight that can help me as I go ahead growing my business.
Parishi Atodaria, co-founder, SeedTree
“My husband is an architect and I am a tech person and we started SeedTree with the idea of offering interior design and architecture services online. We provide all designs online and if a customer wanted to execute it then we would do that as well. At Nurture we learnt two very important things – one, do not focus on execution of the project because that is something everyone is doing. We should focus on our offering of online design services and grow that. And the other thing was we were connected to a CA who advised us on how to value the services of our part-time founder. Now instead of doing just two projects we are advising 10! This surely is the way forward.”
Deepak Nagar, co-founder, Yagna Entrepreneur Success Services
Our company provides consultancy services to help other companies grow. But strangely, we worked passively, that is do work only if someone gave us a referral. But our mentor Kiran Deshpande showed us how being passive is not the way to go. We have so far been lucky to get referrals and grow but the way forward cannot be built on referrals alone. We have to have a plan that should be built systematically, have a mechanism in place that will help us grow. We don’t need to offer our services to the whole world. We should narrow down our customer field and get a significant share of that market. Which is what we are doing. We are now focused on Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Vishal Sardeshmukh, co-founder, Sarvaay Solutions
Vishal’s start-up works to develop machinery and processes for the Agro and food processing sector. They have a plant that manufactures jaggery that comes with its own tale of woes in the market – too much chemical, purity and so on. With a patented process he now produces clean, safe jaggery that is available on Amazon. What did he get from Nurture?
“There are two pieces of advice that have been very useful to us. At the Go-To-Market session Kiran told us that we should be able to make our jaggery more discernible, else we will be like any other. So, we have created four products – a Chocolate Jaggery, a Haldi Jaggery, one with masalas like elaichi, nutmeg, etc. that can be used on sheeras, masala milk and one that can be used to make tea. We are working on more such jaggery products. The other was regarding funding and when your company is ready for it.
Kaushal Kothari, founder, Ripple Healthcare
Ripple is a medical devices start-up that is now in the process of launching a device for the elderly that can protect the hip joint from fractures during a fall. Says Kaushal, “When we set up our company, we felt that we could provide a device for several medical issues. As a result, we were everywhere and spending time, money and our R&D on too many ideas. However, at Nurture, the picture was made crystal clear to us. Our mentors told us that dividing our energies on too many projects was rather futile. They said start with one, make the money from it and then start work on the second product. Which is what we did. We have built this device that uses AI and ML and based on a wearer’s gait and posture, is able to predict and protect the hip joint from a fall. Our product will hit the market in September this year.”