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R CHENNAI 2011 24th Nov 2011 @ Chennai Trade CenterDesign your own personalized merchandise Jumping onto DilSeBol specializes in making “We are always on the lookout for new ideas,” explains Ravi as multiple opportunities customized and personalized creative businesses can be taxing for the entrepreneur and could merchandise (t-shirts, mugs, calen- easily turn the customers away if they don’t think there is some- For some, entrepreneurship does not stop dars and the like) using thing novel about it. With the advent of Internet, customized prod- with one venture. Pravin Shekar is one designs/artwork that the customer ucts to customer choice has become commonly possible. such restless soul. He wants to keep provides, even it is just 1 unit. Users re-inventing himself every two or three can upload the artwork they want at Motivated by a couple of successes of similar ventures in the years. What started as a part-time ﬁll www.dilsebol.com, and complete United States, a mature market, Ravi adapted the idea to India. during college vacation has morphed into the entire designing and order “With people getting more and more net savvy in India, it would multiple ventures for Pravin. Thereafter, process online. be a good time to start this business,” felt Ravi as he embarked Pravin’s ﬁrst employer Dun and BradstreetRavi Kumar, cofounder, DilSeBol, says, “The name signiﬁes what upon converting his idea into DilSeBol. How can TiE Chennai help (now Cognizant) placed him in thewe do – we make what people want to say through merchandise. creative entrepreneurs like him? Ravi feels that “access to capital accounts of AC Nielsen and IMS Health,We also wanted a non-serious name – something easy to remem- through potential investors, access to potential customers, sharing both market research (MR) companies.ber and something that implies that it is fun, as gifting is experiences and seeing what other entrepreneurs have done whensupposed to be fun”. they started can only help and this is where TiE plays a big role.” This helped him gain entry into MR and later as an entrepreneur, he now focuses on businesses in the research/analytics/insights domain. Since starting his ﬁrst MR venture , Pravin has moved on from two ventures into his third, Krea, a specialized MR ﬁrm with focussedGive us the money - an interview with Venkat Subramaniam panels. Pravin states: “There is a need for specialists in specially in healthcare MR and Krea ﬁlls that need. Krea connects with Indian physicians, nurses, pharmacists and patients for studies that include commercial and social research. Krea leverages tech- nology to connect with the hard-to-reach segments.” C Venkat Subramanyam, A council member at ESOMAR, a global non-proﬁt association for Founder Director, Veda Corp, Scenario 4) MR, he assists in the propagation of international research stand- an investment bank discusses At the idea stage, how does an entrepreneur arrive at a valuation? ards and creation of a grassroots movement for research. Dabbling the topic “How should an In early stage funding, there is nothing called a great plan and a also in social entrepreneurship, Pravin is founder-trustee of Social entrepreneur weigh his great team. It is all relative. One VC may think it’s great and Catalyst, a non-proﬁt trust that works towards professionalizing di erent options while another may reject it in a ﬂash. Just focus on getting the basics NGOs. He is the winner of “Emerging Global leaders in Marketing raising money?” right, which is to ensure that the price discovery process has been Research” under the age of 40 awarded by the American Market- managed e ciently. The entrepreneur then has to gracefully ing Association. An active charter member of TiE Chennai, Pravin Scenario 1) accept the ﬁnal verdict. He can then decide to choose the best or enthusiastically spares e orts to help TiE in organizing events and Venture capital (VC) investor wait for a later date, it’s a gamble he has to take in mentoring entrepreneurs. versus a strategic investor Scenario 5) Firstly,the objectives of a VC While raising money, how far down the road should one think? are vastly di erent from that of a strategic investor. On the The entrepreneur should not be too obsessed with what could other hand, strategic investors happen in subsequent rounds. But being aware of a few pitfalls rarely take minority stakes could help. E.g., excessive dilution ,complicated deal structures, and will deﬁnitely be more fancy valuations in Series A can become a bottleneck in future rounds.hands-on.So, if the company has good growth prospects there isno reason why he/she should look beyond a VC investor. Balancing the interests of the existing investor, the incoming investor and the entrepreneur becomes a herculean task later on.Scenario 2) But then, it’s too much to ask entrepreneurs not to accept fancyA small-scale industrialist who’s grown through debt ﬁnancing valuations when the going is good.and internal accruals, wants to scale up by raising equity, not anemotionally comfortable option for him. What should he do? Scenario 6) Your thoughts on raising debt, when can debt be raised and someThis kind of apprehension has subsided substantially. By and advantages in doing so?large the small-scale sector has struggled to meet VC/PE expecta-tions and hence is undercapitalised. Debt has several advantages. Firstly, it ensures more discipline. It is cheaper than equity and can also be smartly deployed as anThe bottleneck is not the discomfort with external shareholders interim replacement for equity. Obviously, the amount of debt onebut with the kind of return expectations that VC/PE investors have should raise will depend on the industry, the company, its cashand the entrepreneur’s conﬁdence in delivering such returns. ﬂows, end use of funds, security and the market conditions.Scenario 3) Today’s generation of entrepreneurs seem to embrace equity moreHow to choose among multiple potential investors o ering di er- spontaneously and more debt averse. It is clearly a sign of chang-ent valuations? ing times.Obviously, price is the single most important factor for any entre- S. Prem Kumar, a TiE Chennai memberpreneur and the instinctive response would be to choose the one *Source: The Smart CEO Magazine (www.thesmartceo.in)who pays the highest. However, please use a few more ﬁlters toeventually decide which one to pick.Firstly, the valuation itself has to be normalised for comparison;check for exit related rights and other onerous clauses. Secondly,take a closer look at the investor, their brand equity, market repu-tation, domain knowledge, operating style and check if therecould be any potential issues in the future.Finally, the team that is managing the fund is also a factor. Often,deals are crafted not only on mathematics but also on chemistry!Registration Flexicareer woman entrepreneur to look up to A seed sown by an unrelated experience some- network further. Diversity issues slowly started gaining ground times becomes a huge business idea. When and I-winners took o . The precursor to this, AVTAR I-WIN, whichSpot Registration: Saundarya Rajesh visited the UK on a Cheven- provides women with ﬂexi-time and second career opportunities, At the Chennai Trade Center ing scholarship in 2005, she had an opportu- was a research done by Saundarya in 2005 which showed that between 8 AM to 9 AM. nity to interact with interim managers, profes- 45,000 to 50,000 professionals stepped o their career track owing sionals who worked only on part-time or to marriage or childbirth never to return again! project-based assignments. Thus was bornFor Queries: AVTAR I-WIN network (Interim Women Starting with creating ﬂexi-career tracks within an organization, AVTAR subsequently helped deﬁne the process for a ﬂexi-career Call Ms Latha at 044 6515 4900 manager’s Interface Network), India’s ﬁrst career service for paradigm in organizations. Saundarya says, “AVTAR works enabling work-life integrated careers for women.or mail her at email@example.com towards a vision of making education and work worthwhile for AVTAR was started in December 2000. The experience of her father women. Making women’s careers sustainable is AVTAR’s goal.” as a ﬁrst generation entrepreneur held her in good stead that she TiE Chennai has also hired through I-WIN network, which shouldOnline Registration: put her faith on people rather than products. be heartening for Saundarya who has won the TiE Stree Shakthi www.tiechennai.org award this year. The concept of interim managers, called I-winners, did not ﬁnd an easy passage initially. The I-winners themselves proved to be ambassadors for the concept and word of mouth expanded the