Friday, March 7, 2008

Bootcamp for Entrepreneurs

I visited Boulder, CO to attend the TechStars for a Day event on Wednesday. The decision to attend this event was a last minute one - I decided on Sunday evening that I am going for sure; however, deciding to go was a no brainer. Think Ben Casnocha, Shelfari, Brad Feld, Mobius, Rocky Mountains & Tibetian restaurants.

The event was fun, quite enjoyable and very useful. Felt good & inspirational to revel in the energy of 50 or 60 young & budding entrepreneurs and a few experienced folks who have been there and done that. Participants had come from as far as UK and Australia!

Since I was already sold on the idea of TechStars even before going there, I wasn't really listening keenly during some of the parts where people were on a "TechStars is a gift from God" mode.

The first-person accounts of and were interesting case-studies of the Entrepreneurship band-wagon, highlighting some of the practical issues faced in the startup years, the personal sacrifices involved in making it big, and the importance and value of team-work & mentoring / outside support and nurturing in the entrepreneurial efforts.

The session with the founders from the previous year's TechStars Bootcamp was the highlight of the day for me. Amazing to see a few 'kids' talk about their journey from guys-with-ideas to founders of startups with funding - and a product - to show for the effort!

Got to speak with a few of the other participants about their business ideas. One guy - from Mexico - is already way ahead in the startup game with his company : Shastic!

Another person I met had an idea of having restaurants in his home city to put up their menus on the web and allow for patrons to place an order through the web-application. I told him about the Seamlessweb web-site which I have been using to order my lunch in New York City for the past few weeks. I might have made him rethink his business plans!

It is still a mystery to me how an idea grows into a million-dollar - if not a Google-esque Billion-dollar - company, and given that TechStars provides the tools, knowledge, environment, mentoring, seed funding, contacts, legal advice and anything else required to do so, I am bullishly sold on TechStars!

I have already applied for the TechStars Bootcamp program this Summer. Over the next few days - till the dead-line date of Mar 31st - my emphasis in this regard will be on the following activities:
  • Refining the objectives of the business - getting to the nuts and bolts.
  • As Guy Kawasaki says - and TechStars repeatedly emphasizes - to find a soul-mate or two to work with me in this effort; someone who is / are as passionate about the business idea as I am, and who is /are willing to move to Boulder for the period of the boot-camp, should this business idea be selected for the boot camp. Regardless of whether I am in TechStars program or not, I definitely have to find partners to work with on this. The fact that I have found enthusiastic and willing partners in the RunWalkIndia project is a harbinger of good things to come in this business as well!
An unexpected by-product of this trip is the contact with Newmerix - which is operating in a very similar business space as I am planning to get into. While they focus on the well-known ERP packages like SAP and PeopleSoft, I am planning to focus on a less well-known and a too-often not-identified-as-an-Enterprise-wide-application package: Murex. While I was not able to visit their offices and meet them in person (as I would have preferred), I did speak with the person who is working as a VP of marketing at Newmerix, and got some valuable feedback about the business.

Newmerix' success is dependent on the fact that SAP and PeopleSoft provide a meta-data model to work with on automating the testing and life-cycle management processes. As far as I know Murex does not provide a meta-data model, and does not have it as a priority in the near future. Food for thought and discussions ...........

One thing to work on later: To replicate the TechStars bootcamp program in India, in some favorable location(s). Boulder is a favorable location because of its strong local business culture, University town ambiance with a few Nobel Laureates to boast about, proximity to Denver, etc. Wonder if Bangalore or Mysore or Pune or any other Indian city will have similar factors to make for successful entrepreneurship culture.

Zarking Farkwards!!


David Cohen said...

We were glad to have you Prakesh! Keep on truckin.

murexconsultant said...

What are you trying to set up?
Might be interested...