139th 1M/1M Roundtable For Entrepreneurs: Attention, FinTech Entrepreneurs!
We started today’s roundtable with a reminder that the TradeKing-1M/1M pitch fest is on as we speak, and the application deadline is September 10. The finals are scheduled for October 4 and October 11. The contest is focused on financial technology entrepreneurs, and TradeKing, an online brokerage, will be awarding 12 1M/1M scholarships, picked from 20 finalists to entrepreneurs who are developing apps on their platform. The opportunity comes with a nice channel to bring your product to market.
First, Daniel Rejzner from Israel, pitched Zollo, a social grocery-shopping site. Daniel’s premise is that consumers who spend a large chunk of their household income on groceries and FMCG would be willing to compare notes with community members to optimize their grocery bills by comparing prices, learning about coupons, discounts, etc.
I am not entirely convinced by the idea, but perhaps, for certain segments with very tight budgets, it would work. I personally do not have the time to invest in optimizing my grocery bill to shave $5 off it. An audience member suggested students who are studying far away from home, especially those on scholarships. It’s a segment worth testing.
Next Shameer Thaha from Kerala, India, pitched DecideQuick, a site that helps consumers make decisions like which college to apply to, or what brand of laptop to buy not only by using the comparison shopping site data, but also input from their trusted friends and family.
I would like this concept to be marketed in a more segmented way. For example, perhaps, career and higher education choices could be a good category. Perhaps travel is an interesting category. Shameer needs to pick some test segments and good use cases. But a generic solution seems to me to be a harder proposition.
Then Chika Uwazie from Washington, DC, pitched Keejul, an online e-book retail store focused on Africa. Chika rightly points out how difficult it is for consumers in Africa to access high quality e-Books. Similarly, for publishers who want to reach the African market, it is also difficult to crack. As an author of five books on entrepreneurship, I would love to have a reliable partner with whom I can go to market in Africa without piracy playing havoc with my IP.
Ranjan Bhattacharyya from Mumbai, India, pitched Voyager 2012, a manufacturing software business that currently does about $200k a year. Ranjan’s products are on a client-server architecture, which he is looking to move to a SaaS model. We discussed his options for financing the migration.
Last up, Ray Levesque from Vancouver, Canada, pitched Lingo Polyglot, a language learning community that specifically focuses on personalized skill gap analysis, as well as community-based practice and speaking. I gave Ray my own perspective as a customer. My Spanish and French learning have stalled, and I would love to have a way of identifying the gaps, plugging them, and continuing to make progress on both. I am terribly time-challenged, so a solution that can help me keep progressing with say 20-minutes of investment per day, would be terrific.
You can listen to the recording of today’s roundtable here.
Sramana Mitra is the founder of the One Million by One Million (1M/1M) initiative, an educational, business development and incubation program that aims to help one million entrepreneurs globally to reach $1 million in revenue and beyond. She is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and strategy consultant, she writes the blog Sramana Mitra On Strategy, and is author of the Entrepreneur Journeys book series and Vision India 2020. From 2008 to 2010, Mitra was a columnist for Forbes. As an entrepreneur CEO, she ran three companies: DAIS, Intarka, and Uuma. Sramana has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.