Pune has its own Open Coffee Club which was started a few months back. You can join the club here. Its ideally for startups from Pune, and wants to help them through informal meetings and discussions with fellow people having the same dream and aspirations. It has gained traction over past few weeks, and last weekend, the club had an attendance of over 50 people, compared to 12 people attending the meeting 1 month back.
Last weekend, on 13th September 2008, the agenda for the meeting was :
- Discussion : How to Bootstrap your startup
- Startup Spotlight: ThinkingSpace Technologies
- General Networking
There were invited panelists for the Discussion :
- Tarun Malaviya, CEO of Mithi
- Shridhar Shukla, founder and MD of GSLab
- Anand Soman, founder of Infinishare Technologies
The first part of the meeting was insightful. As usual, half an hour was spent on debate – VC vs Bootstrapping. I have seen this happening in other conferences/summits I have attended, where majority of the attendees ( from startups, wanna-be entrepreneurs ) are very much interested in ways to approach VCs, what do they want, etc. The next half an hour was discussed on how to bootstrap, why to bootstrap.
The panelists were from a varied background. One panelist was totally against VC funding, and gave his whole experience and the mistakes he did by taking VC funding. Second panelist did consulting and services in his company for number of years, and is now coming up with their own product. Thid panelist , had was part of 2 startups – one bootstrapped and one VC funded. In the end, it was conclusive, that entrepreneurs should take VC funding only if their goals and VC’s goals are properly aligned.
One thing I observed from the discussion was the importance of Value Addition and Value Proposition. I realized that no matter what you do – services, consulting projects, or products – you should be adding value. If what you are doing is not adding value to the current market, then dont make grand plans for it.
Anyways, after the discussion, there was a startup profile arranged. The first startup to be profile in POCC was ThinkingSpace Technologies. Yes, thats us !! It was great presenting our products and talking about our journey so far in this industry. Saurabh ( my partner from ThinkingSpace ) presented Eventazoo and threw open the marketing challenges to the people sitting there. Many people including the panelists gave their invaluable feedback and suggestions for the future roadmap. We got lot of leads that we could use to tie-up with our existing system.
I believe many more startups ( spec. from Pune ) should come forward and present themselves at POCC. Asking for help for something that you lackor want will eventually benefit you and POCC was started for the same purpose – to build a informal community / eco-system for startups in and around Pune.