The Kolkata event of Startup Knockdown is approaching and the entries are coming in fast. As we prepare for the event, we are also getting into discussions with our panel of judges and mentors to know what they are expecting from the innovators participating in the event. This would serve as a guide, not only for the participants but for any startups that are going to pitch to investors.
We spoke with Shivam Shah to get inputs for this story. Shivam is Partner at Augment Ventures and not only is he associated with various startups at seed stage to help them grow but he also carries experience from his own successful e-commerce ventures.
For the innovators who will be pitching during the event, he suggests that they should just focus on the ‘What’, ‘Why’ & ‘How’ of their business. He says, “These are the only three things that an entrepreneur needs to convey to an investor in the initial pitch. It allows the judges to be able to understand the product well and gauge it on its merits. It is easy to get carried away, and spend too much time on fluff but I would strongly advise not to do so.”
Talking about the recent slowdown in startup funding, he claims that can’t exactly be termed as a slowdown but a change in approach of investors. He says, “Globally investors are vary due to macro-economic situations in Europe and the US. Large VC funds are finding it challenging to raise money, and thus, are being more selective in their investments. Additionally, exits in India have been few and far between, thus resulting in many angels/funds re-evaluating their investment strategy.” Clear indicators that investors are still more than happy to place bets on your idea if it is promising enough.
Speaking from his own experience, he emphasized the importance of building a strong product and validating the idea. However, he also highlighted the fact that founders should not completely miss the other aspects of running a business. He shares, “In the early days, most founders are pouring 100% of their energy into building the product and getting validation. That focus, is of course required and natural. However, founders must focus on other non-core aspects like statutory compliances as well. Most first time entrepreneurs do not focus of these and don’t give them their due importance. Oversights like these tend to affect the business significantly in the future. That is why I strongly recommend founders to implement due process in non-core areas as well in the start, to avoid facing issues later as they scale.”
APAC market has caught the fancy of many global players over past few years and investors have seen huge growth opportunity in the region. According to Shivam, “Global investors are seeking the highest Alpha they can get on their investments and their money will follow any region that is experiencing high growth. The APAC region has population on its side, with China and India in particular, having over 25% of the world internet users concentrated. Along with that, consumer spending is on the rise and there is a growing user comfort with transacting on the internet. All this is making India and China great places for start-ups, and thus attracting global investors.”
Through the Kolkata event, we are trying to give a platform to the promising travel innovators from the region. This would give them a chance to interact with the domain experts and also give them reach to investors. Shivam expressed that the region has been lagging behind in the startup boom but he is eagerly looking forward to the event as it holds lot of promise.
If you have a product that has the potential to change travel, sign up now. Huge opportunities await you.