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Showing posts from October, 2005

Technopreneur Promotion Programme

Last week, I came across an interesting ad by the Ministry of Science and Technology in The Economic Times and The Hindu inviting proposals for the "Technopreneur Promotion Programme (TePP)" .

The TePP aims to extend financial support to "individual innovators for converting their innovative ideas into working prototypes/models". Jointly operated by the Department of Scientific & Industrial research (DSIR) and Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) of the Department of Science & Technology (DST).

Here are some extracts from the FAQ section of the DSIR web site

# Who can apply?

Any Indian Citizen with an original idea/invention/know-how to develop working prototype/processes can apply for TePP support. Even, the proposal from the owner of a ‘start-up’ company/industry may be considered for TePP support, if the annual turnover of the company / industry doesn’t exceed Rs. 30.00 lakh per annum.

# How much support one can expect?

The maxi…

Presentations at TiE-Silicon Valley now available via streaming video

TiE Silicon Valley has launched "TiE-Webstream Zone" showcasing videos of presentations by various speakers at its various forums. From Vinod Khosla and Tom Friedman keynoting at TiECon 2005 to the various interesting presentations at the monthly meetings, the selection is indeed wide. Entrepreneurs from around the world will definitely find quite a few vidoes well worth watching.

Thanks TiE-SV for this great effort!

Arun Natarajan is the Founder of Venture Intelligence India, which tracks venture capital activity in India and Indian-founded companies worldwide. View sample issues of Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.

Great TiE-Chennai event featuring Chandu Nair

The TiE Chennai Chapter, which hasn't been very active in the recent past, seems to have become vibrant again.

The Chapter's latest "Success Close Up" event on 19th October - featuring Chandu Nair, Co Founder & Director of knowledge process outsourcing firm Scope e-Knowledge Center - was especially interesting and useful.

The Success Close Up event is envisoned as a presentation "by a Successful Entrepreneur who...are willing to share with others candidly their life experiences in an informal setting".

Chandu Nair delivered on all this and more in his very engrossing presentation and sincere and thoughtful answers in the subsequent Q&A session. The presentation and discussions covered how Scope was created (serendipty), challenges faced (one of the main being the need to let people go, ameliorated somewhat by active outplacement help), relationships between the founders (better be direct about issues rather than let them simmer), support from the ent…

Lessons a VC learned from a good exit

Bill Burnham of Celsius Capital has a great post on the lessons he learned from investing in Datapower, a company that was recently acquired by IBM.

The entrepreneur "sometimes" knows his market betterJust after Datapower had launched its first product, a performance oriented appliance, Eugene lobbied for the company to accelerate the launch a second security oriented product that had been planned for a quarter or two in the future. At the time, I remember cautioning Eugene on the potential distractions and costs of having two immature products in the market at the same time. Eugene lobbied hard to take the risk and thankfully he won the day. I say thankfully because not only did the company land a $300K order that quarter for the security product, but it was able to establish significant mindshare in the security space well ahead of its competitors. To this day the security space continues to have the most robust market demand and competitors that failed to quickly launc…

"Top Ten Commandments of Venture M&A"

Bill Burnham of Celsius Capital has a great post. While it is a VC's angle, it has relevance to entrepreneurs as well.
Given the importance of M&A to both VCs and start-ups, it’s important to realize that the seeds for M&A success or failure can actually be sown quite early in a start-up’s life and well before any potential deal materializes.

With this in mind, I offer the following Top Ten M&A Commandments with the idea being that if a start-up follows these commandments it will be able to avoid some of the most common structural and financial issues that have the potential to blow-up a deal or dramatically reduce its value. These commandments include:

# Thou Shall Not Give a Strategic Investor a Right of First Refusal, Right of First Offer or a Protective Provision that Enables Them to Block a Sale.
If you must have a strategic investor in your company (and in general I recommend against it) by all means do not give them a Right of First Refusal, a Right of First Offer…

VC-spamming that entrepreneurs can do without

Paul Kedrosky has an entertaining account of an "all too common" type of "value-add" from VCs that entrepreneurs can do without.
Too many venture guys do virtually zero heavy-lifting when it comes to qualifying the people they toss at already stressed and over-worked portfolio company CEOs. “Here, talk to this guy, maybe you guys could have an alliance … here, talk, to this guy, he’s with a big company that I met recently.” It’s closer to spam than real added value.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder of Venture Intelligence India, which tracks venture capital activity in India and Indian-founded companies worldwide. View sample issues of Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.

What's so great about being the founder of a start-up?

"Genuine VC" David Beisel has a list of "Seven Reasons To Become a Founding Entrepreneur", including

Creation. The essence of a founder’s job is to create something where there was previously nothing. An idea becomes a plan; a plan produces a product; a product launches a company. To me, the notion of conceiving and building something both tangible and real is paramount.

..Variety.The title “Founder” is function-agnostic. Sure, someone may be a technical founder or a founder with expertise & a formal leadership role in another function (sales, marketing, etc.), but during those exciting early days everyone is wearing many different hats. The diversity in the tasks required of someone in this role necessitates that there is rarely a dull moment.

Control. Many jobs leave the much of one’s destiny to the group he/she works in, the company he/she works for, etc. Obviously, there are extraneous unmalleable factors with everything in life, career paths are no exception.…

What motivates a corporate VC?

Until 2004, Intel Capital was probably the sole active corporate VC investing in the Indian technology sector. As I have written earlier, Flextronics with its string of rapid acquisitions of telecom R&D companies in 2004 - quite a few of them, interestingly, with Intel Capital as an investor - has emerged as a significant new player.

2005 has seen the VC arms of Nokia, Cisco, IBM, TI and other hi-tech companies - begin to actively scan the Indian market for potential investments. Add to this, the active investments in by some of the Indian business groups - like the Godrej Group and more recently, Reliance Capital - it certainly seems as if corporate VCs are going to play an increasingly important role in the Indian technology landscape.

In this context, it is important for Indian entrepreneurs to understand the factors that drive corporate VCs vis-a-vis pure financial investors. A recent Knowledge@Wharton article, quoting the work of Gary Dushnitsky from Wharton and Michael J. Len…