148th 1M/1M Roundtable For Entrepreneurs: Never Too Old To Startup
During this week’s roundtable, we worked with four entrepreneurs, two of whom are premium members of the 1M/1M program. One of them, John Lynch, is our oldest member. At 90, John is doing a startup company in the area of innovative story-telling and legacy preservation for seniors. I hope that all of us would have the stamina and mental agility to do new startups at ninety years old! You are an inspiration, John …
First, Niranjan Yadav from Mumbai, India, pitched Switch Idea, a social recruitment application that creates profiles of job seekers from their social media accounts, and directs employers to those profiles based on criteria matching. The profiles – virtual cards – that Switch Idea creates become significant traffic drivers, and as Niranjan claims, attract more traffic than the jobseeker’s personal web site.
Niranjan is under the impression that his immediate next step is to file for a patent. My read: he should incorporate the company and start monetizing.
He has about 100 employers on the site, and should start charging them as soon as possible. Seed funding would be much easier to attract if he has a business that is validated by paying customers.
Next, Ravi Appala from Chennai, India, pitched SAHAJ, an SAP VAR and System Integrator. Ravi has generated over $100k in revenues from five projects so far that spans different industry verticals: automobile manufacturing, steel, retail, real estate and construction, etc. He currently has 30 proposals out, but the sales cycle is long. Well, it appears to me that the SAP sales cycle everywhere is long, and that is just the nature of the business.
The customers are not educated in ERP benefits, and tend to be late adopters of technology in general. Therefore, to run a long sales cycle business, Ravi needs to design a sales process that will generate 30 proposals a month, so that every month, 3-5 deals close. It can be done, but as it stands, Ravi’s sales process is rather haphazard.
Then John Lynch from California discussed Interviews, his story-telling venture. He is testing a value proposition that seniors would be interested in doing a video interview using a video conferencing system, which would be recorded, and turned into a DVD, as well as an online, sharable video (public or private). These videos will tell the stories of their lives and preserve their legacy.
Designed for children and grand children, the idea appeals to me at many levels. I imagine some readers have elderly relatives whose stories have disappeared through the ages, obliterating family history and legacy.
Finally, Sudhendra Seshachala from Houston, Texas, presented Hooduku. Sudhi has a cloud product called Xervmon that provides a consolidated view of spending on cloud services. Businesses that spend $50k-$100k on cloud services seem to have inadequate ability to track spending, which is the problem Sudhi’s company is addressing. He already has about 30 beta customers.
His next step is to convert some of them into paying customers, as well as design the marketing plan to acquire a much larger number of customers.
Sramana Mitra is the founder of the One Million by One Million (1M/1M) initiative, a virtual 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.