dreaming to be an entrepreneur.............a must read...

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About this group
Hope it will be of some interest........... :stuck_out_tongue: Some e-alumni of IIM Bangalore Ravi Venkatesam ('97) Amardeep Lakhtakia (Lucky) Sanjay Anandram ('91) Balaji Pasumarthy, Businessgyan Arun Pa...
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zango Says
please search before you start new threads. - better to continue your posts in one of the existing threads pointed xcoolaryan.
sorry - as pointed out by an alert member (thanks denish) - i made the mistake of locking a thread. i'll keep the thread locked - any discussions on this topic may be continued on the threads pointed out earlier. i just wanted to make sure i apologise to any people who have noticed that the moderators commit mistakes, sometimes.
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please search before you start new threads. - better to continue your posts in one of the existing threads pointed xcoolaryan.

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i searched 4 word Entrepreneurship & i found 4 thread


instead of posting in various thread, plz post all ur material in one thread

tht will benefit all

i suggest following thread will be default thread as it already got max post


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About AristaSoft

AristaSoft Corporation is the world's first industry-focused Application Service Provider (ASP). Founded in 1998, our mission is to provide industry-specific, Tier-1 IT solutions that quickly empower emerging enterprises to compete on a level playing field against large enterprises. AristaSoft functions as your company's IT department, catalyzing business growth in "Internet time."

Unlike other ASPs, AristaSoft is industry-focused, incorporating deep knowledge of industry requirements and best practices into our solutions --which are specifically designed for emerging enterprises that develop high tech equipment, such as networking and computing devices.

It's easy to choose AristaSoft as your IT partner. AristaSoft provides a full range of services. We assemble, implement, host, support, manage and evolve your enterprise business solution. And our staff of IT professionals works closely with you, offering ongoing dedicated support. We proactively analyze your environment, helping scale it as your operation expands.

If you'd rather focus resources on growing revenues instead of an IT department, choose AristaSoft, the world's first industry-focused ASP.

AristaSoft is a privately held company, with venture funding provided by Crosspoint Venture Partners. The company operates from two locations worldwide - Mountain View, California and Hyderabad, India.

The AristaSoft team consists of a unique set of people that have over 18 decades of operational experience in the high-tech industry in the areas of usage, support, management, implementation, outsourcing, sales and marketing of enterprise software.


Sanjay Anandram ('91)

JumpStartUp Ventures, Bangalore, India was founded in 1999 with a set of simple objectives. To celebrate entrepreneurship and wealth creation in Indian society. To disseminate information about entrepreneurship and startups to young entrepreneurs and wannabees. To create and highlight role models. To be the catalyst for startup creation and launches. To provide comprehensive assistance to entrepreneurs in launching their startups. In short, to be the one stop site for entrepreneurial resources. We want to JumpStart StartUps!

Prior to JumpStartUp Ventures, Sanjay founded Neta in 1997 , a venture capital backed company in Silicon Valley that developed personalization software for E-Commerce merchants. As Director of Business Development, Sanjay developed the competitive positioning and wrote the business plan for Neta and actively participated in M & A discussions and VC presentations. He established key partnerships for Neta with leading companies such as Netscape and coordinated contracts with beta customers. Earlier he spent over 8 years at Wipro, India's #1 IT company, in various capacities where he helped create several new business and revenue lines for Wipro. His areas of experience include business planning and strategy, business development, marketing and sales. He brings a keen understanding of technology,business and an understanding of the entrepreneurial process. Currently, Sanjay also consults whenever he can with high tech startups. Sanjay can be reached at sanjay@jumpstartup.net.

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Amardeep Lakhtakia (Lucky)

Amar has over 11 years of experience in sales, marketing, business development, strategic partnership and engineering. Prior to AristaSoft, he worked at Wipro, Ltd. where he developed key multi-million dollar accounts for outsourced technology development services. As an e-commerce evangelist for Wipro, Amar spearheaded the development of an Internet-based self-service human resources application. He developed key strategic relationships with Reuters, Netscape Communications, NetDynamics and CommerceNet. Previously, Amar was at Tata Unisys where he developed software for ComputerVision and Unisys computer-aided-design (CAD) systems. He is a frequent speaker at international conferences on topics such as Internet-based EDI, banking and security. He also contributed several chapters to the book, "From EDI to Electronic Commerce" (McGraw Hill, 1996).

Amar holds a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Birla Institute of Technology & Sciences at Pilani, India and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management at Bangalore, India.

In 1995, Amardeep "Lucky" Lakhtakia was with Wipro?s Financial Solutions Division in Bangalore, India after having returned from a stint as head of Wipro?s Portland, OR, operations. Back then E-Commerce meant EDI and the Net was really far, far away in India. In 1996, he became part of the core team that set up Wipro?s E-Commerce initiative. In 1997, he became the E-Commerce evangelist based in Wipro?s US office, evangelizing ECommerce within the company as much as he was outside. He was attending conferences, exchanging ideas with vendors and analysts, discussing business models, and understanding customer concerns.

But in 1997, some strong trends and signals were emerging that were immediately recognized by Lucky. In the era of the internet, there would be a radical change in the way supply chains were architected for delivery. As a good corporate citizen, Lucky wrote a white paper on "shared services" in late 1997 (Ed: Usually in Silicon Valley, a business plan would have been the result!) which contained his thoughts on the way software would be delivered in the future, namely as a service over the Net. In this world, customers would no longer have to pay huge sums of money for purchasing licenses and then spend larger sums to consultants for the implementation and support; instead they would just pay a subscription fee per month for the software which would now be hosted outside of the customer?s premises by an Application Service Provider (ASP). In one stroke, expensive capital expenditure would be converted to revenue expenditure. This was the "shared services" buzz that analysts and others like Lucky were envisaging.

Lucky took the idea to Wipro but there was no or little interest. Undeterred, Lucky continued researching and validating his idea of offering software applications on a rental basis. Meanwhile, Anil Garg a former Wipro colleague who had started Aristasoft, a consulting company, was looking at ways to grow his operations. He too was looking at the ERP opportunity in the internet age. Then one day, Lucky discussed his notion of offering software on a rental basis with Anil. Anil had run a data center in one of his earlier lives and the light bulbs went off in Anil?s head as he quickly realized the opportunity. In June 1998, Lucky and Anil teamed up. They talked to 10-12 potential customers and 5-6 software vendors and bounced off ideas. They also talked to KB Chandrasekar of Exodus and Walt Mayberry (one of the founders of Sequent whom they knew from their Wipro days). They new they were onto something big.

But they still had a ways to go. Two people in a 120 sq feet office in Sunnyvale. Low on money, high on enthusiasm and conviction. They knew they needed serious, smart money and that too quickly to make their vision happen. And in Silicon Valley, that usually translates to venture capital infusion. But it was easier said than done. They were told all kinds of horror stories. But these guys were made of sterner stuff. With no contacts, no US education (Lucky holds degrees from BITS-Pilani and IIM-B, while Anil is from IT-Varanasi), no real US work experience and no godfathers, they did things the old-fashioned way: they cold-called General Partners of VC firms that they thought had a synergy of portfolio. Aristasoft had no business plan but a very clear idea of where they thought the opportunity lay and how they would execute. They also had a set of 13 answers to VC FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) which they?d mail to interested General Partners in VC firms including the elevator pitch: software on rentals.

Surprisingly, over 90% of the GPs got back to Aristasoft: showing how hot the opportunity was. They made pitches to about 5 VCs. Meanwhile, money was running out. Then in August 1998, Lucky read an article by Rich Shapero of Crosspoint Ventures in Upside magazine. There Rich had offered $10m in funding to anyone from companies like Oracle, SAP, Peoplesoft who could offer the ERP software as a service.

A quick email was sent to Rich. The reply was as quick:When can we meet? Soon, Lucky and Anil were in Rich?s offices in Woodside, CA making their presentation to Rich Shapero. After 90 minutes, Rich asked: How can we make this a billion dollar business? After 2 more meetings with Rich and a formal presentation to all the GPs, Lucky and Anil knew they were in business.

(Ed:Rich and Lucky, bad puns anyone?!)

But there were several challenges yet to be surmounted. Anil and Lucky were the founders of Aristasoft and had the vision. But could they execute and build a billion dollar business? Being first time entrepreneurs, they realized that they needed help to exploit the huge opportunity staring them in the face. Drew Hoffman, an Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) at Crosspoint, came on board as CEO. (EIRs are usually highly regarded corporate executives who work with VCs in evaluating deals and opportunities while thinking about their own entrepreneurial venture. They are usually paid a retainer by the VC firm and are under no obligation to take funding from the VC firm in which they are the EIR (wink! wink!)). Drew Hoffman brought an enormous amount of experience in the product development and delivery arena. Lucky and Amar had a services background and the synergy was evident. Moreover, Lucky and Anil were focused on ensuring that the original vision was intact, were agnostic about who was the CEO and were concerned only about reaching their goal and thus had positive feelings about Drew?s coming on board. In addition, Crosspoint insisted on Aristasoft signing up JD Edwards (the ERP software company) as a partner.

3 months later, in Jan 1999 Aristasoft had $5m in the bank, 4 employees, and a partnership with JD Edwards. Rich Shapero got Dr Alan Baratz, former head of Sun?s Javasoft division, to join the Aristasoft board. Today Dec 1999 Aristasoft has 90 employees, an A+ team of heavy hitters, operations in Mountain View, CA and Hyderabad, India and a second round funding of $30m from Crosspoint and Warburg Pincus (Dr Alan Baratz is a partner at Warburg Pincus). An IPO is expected next year. A long road traveled in a short time.

What is their view on VCs? "VCs should be able to provide operational support and have the deep pockets to support businesses. We didn?t want a 24 year old Stanford or Harvard MBA as our VC. VCs have to get the business and understand the dynamics. We needed to have people who had been there and done that. In addition, there had to be a portfolio match, deal-making expertise and of course a great rolodex."

Any other learnings? "Believe in yourself. If you?re convinced, Just do it! Keep your eyes and ears open: Read a lot and assimilate. Nothing is perfect; remember you?re moving in internet time, so action not analysis is important. At Aristasoft, we have yet to prepare a business plan! Don?t be bogged down by traditional decision making. Look at an idea with a business model that can create a huge market opportunity. Have passion and that glint in your eye. Your assets are people, customers and investors."

On the difference between Silicon Valley and India: People in the Valley want to hear about new ideas. Imagine in our 120 sq ft office, we had people like the CEO of Baan and the CFO of SAP America come visit us. The power of an idea is what moves these people. Getting an audience as a startup is not difficult.

And what about the element of luck, Lucky? Well, "we were in the right place at the right time. But we were well prepared"!

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Hope it will be of some interest........... 😛

Some e-alumni of IIM Bangalore

Ravi Venkatesam ('97)

Amardeep Lakhtakia (Lucky)
Sanjay Anandram ('91)

Balaji Pasumarthy, Businessgyan
Arun Pai, Passionfund


Ravi Venkatesam ('97)

To listen to best friends Ravi Venkatesam and Ranadeep "Ronnie" Ray talk is like listening to a series of highly quotable soundbites on entrepreneurship delivered by a new age management guru. Sample these: "In business you have to bet on the future. You can?t let the past and social conventions constraint you"; or "You must have passion and be driven in your mindset to succeed"; or even "However bleak things look, there?s always a way out" or "you can?t learn swimming without getting into the water"

But Ravi and Ronnie are not in the soundbites business. They are driven, motivated, and passionate entrepreneurs. And all of 30! They impressed no less a person than Sabeer Bhatia so much with their Internet idea and drive that he acquired their company and made it a part of his new venture, Arzoo Inc (www.arzoo.com).

Their?s is a story of raw passion and drive to make it on their own. They met at IIT-Kharagpur over a decade ago where Ravi was studying to be an architect and Ronnie a mechanical engineer. Sometime during their 2nd year, they figured that the future lay in being independent without constraints. Says Ravi, "I always wanted to be independent, right from an early stage. I wanted to be in software. I didn?t enjoy architecture at all" while Ronnie adds, "Y?know I wanted to be a scientist till I was about 15. Then after reading John Sculley?s "From Pepsi to Apple" at IIT, I decided that the future lay in computers and business, not in being an A+ academic."

Post IIT, they went along fairly traditional career paths. Ronnie joined HCL in sales and Ravi joined Infosys after a year with TISCO. Subsequently, they got their MBAs from IIM-Calcutta and IIM-Bangalore respectively. But the entrepreneurial bug was well, bugging them. One day in 1996 at a party in Bangalore they said "Yes!" to Kamal Sagar, an architect and batchmate from IIT, in response to his offer to join the real estate business! "We don?t know why, maybe it was the drinks, but we were keen to do something and had been discussing various options. So when Kamal asked us, we said "Why not?!"

So, in 1996 "Total Environment" was born."We had no idea of the real estate business and had no clue about what we were getting into. That was just as well, else we may not have founded Total Environment! Our objective at Total was to be the one stop shop to meet the housing needs for professionals like us. We took care of everything from land, financing, to finally handing over the key. We roamed around Bangalore searching for land to buy; Kamal knew someone who had land to sell, but we had no cash to buy the land. So we called up our IIT batchmates and told them about Total Environment and our need for money to buy land. We managed to convince 3-4 of them and believe it or not, our first 1 lakh (Rs hundred thousand) came within the next few days. We paid the advance for the land and were in business!

We survived on subsistence salaries and worked out of a garage. Our phone connection was an extension of the landlord?s. We actively used our credit cards (that the card companies hopefully handed out at IIM) to survive! While Kamal worked on the design and the building itself, we were out in the market selling like crazy. We?d use the cash from customers to pay for the building; Our first building had 12 apartments and we sold all 12. We had never seen so much money. It was scary!"

But real-estate was clearly not something Ravi and Ronnie felt comfortable with. After one and a half years and many sleepless nights (after being threatened by toughs and wondering where the money to pay contractors and others would come from), they decided to quit the real-estate business and get into their first love, software.

Ravi and Ronnie then formed Right Fit Solutions with the objective of placing software engineers overseas and undertaking projects for Indian clients. Total Environment provided the initial capital for PCs and other basic infrastructure. "It was hard. We cold-called people and tapped into our networks for business. But we learnt the market very well. Our first project came courtesy our accountant - we then placed ads in papers for people to execute the project! Subsequently, we undertook projects for clients like Citibank, BPL Finance, and KPMG. Our experience was not very good. Companies in India don?t want to pay for software. We?re still owed money by some of them. However we placed a couple of engineers in UK and for the first time were cash-flow positive"


June 1998 was the turning point. Says Ravi "we were feeling low as Right Fit was not scaling and we were wondering where to go. I wanted to quit and spoke to Ronnie about it. He pep talked me into changing my mind. Only later did I come to know that Ronnie too was feeling low and had talked to Kamal about it! But we decided to give it one more shot. The internet was happening in a big way in the US and we?d realized that the internet was the way to go. We were aware of the Net and were avid users and browsers. If people like Sabeer Bhatia could do it, why not us?!" And then THE BIG IDEA struck us: we spent nights discussing the idea and decided to just do it. We did a lot of research and developed a business plan."

"We then went looking for money. Some of the VC firms we talked to baulked at funding an internet idea ? they wanted us to go to Silicon Valley. We were then put onto Sivan Securities through a friend. They were impressed by the idea but wanted to get the idea whetted by an expert before committing any money. And the expert turned out to be Sabeer Bhatia! He was coming to India in August (199 for the India Internet World show and we were to meet him in Delhi. We sat up nights and prepared a truly fantastic multimedia presentation ? I learnt Macromedia along the way.

We travelled 2nd class by train to Delhi. But gaining access to Sabeer there was next to impossible: he was a celebrity and the organizers were jealously guarding him and rationing his time. We waited outside his hotel room for about 5 hours hoping to get some time. Finally late in the evening, as the last visitor came out and before the organizers could stop us, we went in to meet Sabeer. We?d just started our presentation on a borrowed laptop (we paid Rs 3000 for it) when he said he was too tired to pay attention and do full justice to us; He suggested we meet in Bangalore in a couple of days and gave us a phone number to call.

But there was one problem: Sabeer would be reaching Bangalore much ahead of us. He was flying and we were taking the train! Thanks to our IIM-credit cards, we too flew back to Bangalore. But getting hold of Sabeer in Bangalore was even more difficult especially since the number he?d given us was an old one! Anyway, we managed to get hold of the new number and kept trying to reach him. The calls were being screened at his home but one day at about 8 in the morning we got through and were told by his mother that Sabeer had gone to his old school (St Joseph?s). We rushed out to St Jospeh?s on my scooter and finally met him there. We then fixed up a presentation the following day at Sivan Securities offices.

The presentation started with Sabeer not showing much interest. But somewhere along the way, he sat up and got interested. He gave us the thumbs up and we were in the money from Sivan. So here we were: 2 founders of Circle Systems, an idea, $1 million in the bank, and with a tight time line to meet. We moved to a "good" office and then worked the IIT alum network for getting people. Our chief architect Chidambaram "Chiddu" was with Infosys in Pune and we coaxed him to join us. After all, he was our junior from IIT and we?d ragged him there! We managed to get 8 people in place by October including 2 who we?d placed earlier through Right Fit! Development was on in full swing.

We were in touch with Sabeer all along and were keeping him updated on the developments at our end. In March 1999 he quit Microsoft and started his new venture. What we were working on seemed to fit into the bigger picture he had in mind; suddenly we had a choice: Team up with Sabeer Bhatia or go it alone. In April we traveled to the US and met with him. We decided to team up with him simply to maximize the chances of success given his track record."

Sabeer wanted to name his new company Arzoo ? meaning passion or desire- but was disappointed to learn that the name had already been taken. When he asked Ravi and Ronnie what name they?d like for the new company, they replied:Arzoo. They were the ones who had already registered the domain in January!

Arzoo is currently rolling out an E-Commerce B2C portal that promises to change the user shopping experience. The roll-out is expected later this year. We?ll have to wait till then to know what THE BIG IDEA was.


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