InstaOffice Unwind Session – Q&A with startup founders
Our Unwind Sessions have really come to be all we had hoped for. Engaging member conversations, summing up the entire week’s challenges and accomplishments plus expert advice from startup idols, it really is the best way to end a workweek.
Discussions over chai
Our first unwind session at our centre in Iris Tech park, Sohna Road, Gurgoan was especially memorable as it marked the beginning of a knowledge sharing network at InstaOffice. The evening was perked up by the brain-stimulating conversations with Talvinder Singh, Product Head – OYO rooms and Vartika Bansal – Experience at OYO rooms, Rahul Dalia – Founder LofferZ – Gurgaon, Jayati Agarwal – PR professional and Vivek Subramanian- Founder, ExamVictor.
The response we received for Unwind Sessions made us want to bring even more value to our members.
Hence, for the second session we planned to have over the founders of 3 successful startups to share their insights and experiences from their startup journeys:
- Mr.Prasoon Gupta – Founder & Director, Sattviko,
- Mr.Rana Atheya – Founder & CEO, DogSpot.in, and
- Mr.Devender Agarwal – Founder & Managing Director, Dexter Capital and Co-Founder InstaOffice.
We came across some insightful learnings including how to develop a healthy business network, managing
& increasing web traffic and funding advice. Some of these tips could be ground breaking for new businesses.
People are vital
Prasoon Gupta founded Sattviko in 2014. It started off as a quick service restaurant and is now underway to becoming a healthy lifestyle brand. Sattviko’s products and offerings resonate the beliefs of its founder, a firm follower of yoga and healthy eating, it did not take him long to connect sattvik and yoga philosophy.
Prasoon is currently handling investor relations and people management at Sattviko, and talked about the importance of networking for startups. Some of the pointers by Prasoon:
- People are vital; people both inside and outside the organisation are vital to run any business successfully. Connecting with people in the same industry helps us not just share experiences but also to meet prospective vendors, partners, clients and to stay abreast with new opportunities for growth. Hence, people management is an essential trait for any startup founder.
- An easier way to network is to attend small events where you can interact with people better, exchange business cards and write to them later.
- Another important thing Prasoon mentioned was: “don’t forget others”. Helping others connect is a more effective way to build long term connections in the business world. It is a two way street and you need to be on the right side of people.
Leverage organic for growth
While Prasoon told us of the people angle, Rana told us about how he got his venture DogSpot.in in the startup pedigree. Dogspot.in is a unique venture that celebrates the love and passion that pet parents have for their beloved pets. The site is a one stop shop where pet lovers can find pet grooming, feeding & wellness products along with information on different species of pets. Rana told us how he followed his passion and made a living out of it. Some useful tips by Rana were:
- Focus on creating interesting & genuine content (in Dogspot’s case content was written by actual pet lovers) to make sure that people can relate to what is on your site.
- One must measure organic growth on social media by following engagement and not just by page likes. Pull people in through quality content that benefits their learning. This ensures not just visits but engagement.
- Try to indulge your customers by unconventional techniques like, Rana used to go to all dog shows, take pictures of various dogs there and then ask the people to come to his website for them. This helped increase awareness of his services while delivering a personal touch.
When, how and what not’s of Fundraising
Finally, we had Devendra speak about getting investments for startups. Devendra is the founder and managing director of Dexter Capital, a boutique investment bank focused on providing the best in class services to growth stage companies as well as new age entrepreneurs in the early stage funding process. He chalked out some of the dos and do nots of funding for entrepreneurs :
- Don’t take funding if it’s not required. The first don’t for funding is to not take funding unless absolutely necessary. Look into your own pockets and try to search for alternatives. Is reinvestment a possibility or are there some angel investors among your close networks? Look within and around before going for investors.
- Be thorough with the background of your investors, avoid taking investments from first time founders. Your investors can often act as major influencer in your decision making, hence, it’s advisable to look for seasoned investors who bring constructive ideas to your venture.
- Don’t be very stubborn about the amount of money you want to raise and the stocks you would want to give away. Always play your cards by looking at the demand and supply in the market.
- Having a good network allows you to raise angel investments from this group of friends and acquaintances. This point elaborates on the first one, leverage on your network rather than going outside for help. People closer to you would be more flexible to the way you work and open to your ideas.
Hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth sure gave us some perspective. The knowledge infused evening has us looking forward to the next unwind session, hopefully you will be there too for some more business gyan.