|Experts Inspire Start-up Dreams At Proto.in|
|Events - Events|
|Written by K T P Radhika|
|Sunday, 01 March 2009 00:00|
The fifth edition of Proto.in at Bangalore had a number of entrepreneurs, investors and industry leaders participating. Here are a few insights from the event.
Adam Smith, the noted economist and philosopher, once said, “The real price of everything… is the toil and trouble of acquiring it.” These words are most applicable to start-ups, which in the process of becoming successful businesses, undergo numerous changes and face innumerable challenges. It was hardly surprising that those with start-up dreams flocked to Proto.in to gain insights from experts, entrepreneurs and industry watchers at the event.
Look to the future, not the present
Atul Chitnis, senior vice president, Geodesic Information Systems, advised entrepreneurs to cultivate the art of foreseeing trends and building products accordingly. “Don’t build something because people need it today. By the time you finish building it, the window of opportunity will close. You can’t do without guess-work and taking a few risks. This is where an entrepreneur’s vision comes in to play,” he said.
Choosing the right co-founder
Choosing a co-founder needs careful thought since partners might have very different views. They may have excellent skills but may not match your requirements. Some may share your way of thinking but differ in other areas. Speaking on the subject, ‘The Misunderstood Co-founder’, Allwin Agnel, CEO, The Pagal Guy, pointed out: “Co-founding is like marriage. It can be good or bad. It is absolutely good when you get a co-founder who can really understand you and your desires.” Finding the perfect match is difficult and may take years, but he cautioned that if this decision is not taken carefully, co-founders end up becoming a headache for entrepreneurs. This step needs to be taken wisely, because your passion for your company needs to be shared in equal measure.
A matter of price
“In business, all that matters is what you are, where you are and what your goals are,” said Amit Jain, co-founder, Slideshare, while speaking on the free vs premium business model. Many feel that customers will be more loyal if they pay for a product. Shalin Jain, founder, Tenmiles Corporation, said that if you provide a product for free, customers might undervalue it. Pricing can provide an extra value to your product. “We used to think that there would be a greater acceptance for a free thing. But that is not true. The rationale behind the paid product is that you will get the money easily in and it is easy to get feedback. Depending on the market space, you should determine which of the models suit your business,” he said.
Atul Chitnis stressed that it is not the tools you use but how you use them that matters. Customers do not want the code; they want the software, support and tools to expand their business. He opined that people would pay for software, if it solved a pressing problem.
Traits for success
“Entrepreneurs should have the right mix of the right attitude, intellectual honesty, a good organisational structure and accountability,” said Ashish Gupta, managing director, Helion Ventures. “They should have a willingness to accept errors, to tackle any inconveniences on the way, and the knack of identifying talent and putting it to optimal use,” he added. According to him, “Recruitment is the one task that should be done with utmost care. It is better to take help from an experienced hand than land up with the wrong members in the team.”