The MVP gang is launching “Start-up Evenings” with the support of a few firms who are involved with start-ups and a lot of friends in the community.

The First edition of Start-up Evenings will take place on 20 Jan-09, Tuesday in Mumbai.

Concept

The idea behind “Start-up Evenings” is to facilitate “close interaction” between founders of young companies and experienced folks, allowing the founders to learn from the champions (the tricks and hiccups of the trade), and to network.

The event will be monthly, with one edition each in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.

We did some sessions as part of our founders meet and saw that it was extremely useful for the founders and hence by popular demand decided to conduct regular “Start-up Evenings“.

Format

  • Event will be attended by 10-15 founders of start-ups from the MVP portfolio, partners portfolios and other founders
  • There will be one guest of the evening who will share his / her experiences and interact with the start-ups in an informal manner
  • The guest will typically be an experienced entrepreneur / investor / a person from the start-up ecosystem
  • There is no fee for attending but participation will be only by invitation
  • No more than 15 participants will be allowed to keep the focus of the event
  • Typical timings: 0700 pm – 0900 pm

This is a non-profit initiative and we would love to hear from you if you would like to collaborate on it. There is no requirement of any sponsorship for these events, since we are going to keep them quite bootstrapped. Some of things which can be help would be:

  • A conference room / venue at your office for these events once a month (Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore)
  • Arranging / suggesting speakers
  • Spreading the word amongst start-up founders
  • Anything else

Feel free to share your thoughts / feedback on the initiative. If you are interested in helping / contributing in any way, write to nandini AT morpheusventure DOT com

This post was jointly written by Sameer and Nandini

Many entrepreneurs working on new ideas, seem to live with this assumption that Idea Sharing = Idea Stealing. That is, if I as an entrepreneur share my idea with others, they will steal it and make it their own. Garnering this notion, they fail to share details of their project, about what solution they are building or which the real problem they are solving. This does not give an opportunity for the person on the other side, however competent he is, to give constructive feedback or be the devil’s advocate. Hence, entrepreneurs may land up working on their idea in vacuum.

This approach leads to a lot of lost opportunities, such as, missing out on opportunity in getting:

  • any relevant information
  • useful contacts
  • feedback, approval or criticism

or even a missed opportunity in creating a genuine relationship. All of the above are fairly important for an entrepreneur working on a new idea.

Here is another and better approach, which as entrepreneurs we believe in and propagate:

  • Just an idea is not worth any value
  • True value is derived out of the team that works on the idea, the planning, knowledge and the final execution
  • As founders and the core team, the secret lies in your strategy. However, this needs validation and refinement from various kinds of people:
    • Potential investors: They can give us feedback from the investors’ point-of-view, thus helping us refine our idea or pitch. Also, since these guys, interact with a lot of young companies and entrepreneurs with ideas; they are in a position to tell us if our idea will work or if any such thing already exists.
    • Entrepreneurs: These are the guys who are brimming with ideas and who will always have a word of wisdom or two. They are well networked and update about the startup world. These guys can help in validating the idea and refine the thoughts.
    • Potential customers: Who best to learn from than the end user?
    • Other people: People in general, who do not have the domain knowledge about what you are doing. Try selling your idea’s power to them. That experience will surely teach you a thing or two.

You can always choose not to talk about some sensitive/confidential parts of your business. Other than that, the more you talk about your idea that much more refined the concept / pitch will get, as we tend to improve our pitch with each sharing. It is a natural mending method that helps crystallize our thoughts. So, all you entrepreneurs with idea; share them!

Also would love to build the discussion, so go on comment on either of the blogs..

Couple of good posts about why “VCs don’t sign NDAs”, before entrepreneurs share the ideas:

Every startup has a core team, consisting of the founders (or just the founder) plus other key early employees. The core team members are those who have displayed the intelligence, high learning ability, passion and appropriate skill-set required for a startup assignment. They are people with a successful track record, relevant experience and good educational background.

But, the very same successful track-record, many times comes in the way of “unlearning and re-learning” that is essential in a startup environment. And that happens when some team members play majority of their new roles with old rules.

The following rules apply to you if you are building the core team or are part of a core team, because in a new startup, different laws apply.

New rules (GO WIN THE GAME)

  • Be open to learning and influences. Build fresh perspectives.
  • Go on a journey to build things from scratch, build them block by block.
  • Think fresh and think fundamental; understand a problem in ways which was never done before and then create a novel solution.
  • You surely have a rich set of experience, knowledge, contacts and education. You must use it as source of reference to help you do a fantastic job. But its very important that you:
    • Adapt the past learning to the current context before applying it.
    • Don’t skip any steps while analyzing problems or building solutions, thinking that you have done similar stuff and don’t need to repeat.
    • Continue to take a fresh look at things with the new context in mind and not let the past cloud your vision.

Old rules (OFTEN LEAD TO FAILURES – DON’T PLAY BY THEM)

  • The methods which brought me success in past will continue to apply without any change or adapting.
  • I have enough knowledge, no more learning required for me. I will apply my existing knowledge and make the venture a success.
  • During my days as part of the middle/junior layer, I have been part of teams who have executed many challenging assignments and built things bottom up. Now that I am part of the top management and I will build things “Top down” and the junior and middle layers will worry about the middle and bottom part.