MICAns Pitch Entrepreneurial Ideas to Venture Capitalists

Ahmedabad, January 29, 2015

MICA has been abuzz with excitement, as UK-based investor and Director at Cohezia, Mr. Chandresh Pala, Mr. Jiten Shende, CFO – Cohezia & Partner at a New York based investment fund and Mr. Siddharth Deshmukh, Strategy and Partnerships Director – Choezia, were on campus to judge viable business models developed by 2nd year students.

As a part of the Digital Communication Management (DCM) specialisation launched in 2013, the final year students of the Post Graduate Diploma in Management – Communications (PGDM-C) had to present a business project for a minimum viable product to the venture capitalists. The individual projects took approximately 7 months, consisting of planning and execution of their pilot projects and applying the resulting insights into their main business module. The candidates were graded on 7 parameters viz. the idea, market size, addressability & potential, scalability of operations, person/team & ability to execute, revenue model & funds utilisation, uniqueness & defend-ability of the idea and pitch presentation. Of the 14 students presenting their 11 viable business modules, 3 were shortlisted for funding. “It is very heartening to see how the DCM projects have evolved over the last 2 years. I strongly believe that they help you learn about yourself, your strengths and weaknesses owing to individual feedback & mentoring by the faculty apart from on-project insights. Students get the opportunity to work on ideas that they are passionate about” said Raghu Chaitanya, Asst. Professor & Area Chair- DCM.

The panelists adjudged Nikhil Saraf and Ankit Purohit as the candidates with the best pitch. Their idea, the ‘Stir’ app, is a no nonsense (no conversation) activity engine which recommends activities for its users according to their mood, past social behaviour and time at hand. Ankit recollected “Initially Nikhil and I were pursuing distinct ideas; I was targeting FOMO (fear of missing out) and Nikhil, boredom amongst youth. On Siddharth sir’s suggestion, we collaborated and the output that emerged was a lot better that what we had envisioned individually”. “Our app makes life simple for users. People end up wasting time using opening multiple tabs trying to find how to utilize their idle time. Stir is a go-to app that recommends tasks post understanding your preferences, history and current mood” adds Nikhil. Among other interesting ideas were initiatives such as an app to help people find others interested in playing football & setting up matches across cities, a LinkedIn for independent filmmakers, a service that provides information about offbeat locations and ‘storygifs’, a platform where people can create and share stories/narratives in a storyboard by compiling different Gifs logically with text.

Mr. Chandresh Pala observed, “Some really good ideas were presented. The themes presented are very different from last 2 years which focussed on marketing. The students are cognisant of interesting changes and what is happening out there in the market. But more thought needs to be put to refine these ideas and make them viable.” Throwing more light on the process of this three-term project Mr. Siddharth Deshmukh commented, “We encouraged a ‘fail-fast’ methodology- the more you fail, the quicker will be your learning from the same and application of the insight to your business module.” Mr. Jiten reinstated that ‘aiming low is a crime’ and advised students to harness a new skill or read up on areas that they didn’t have expertise in prior to joining the corporate world in the feedback session. Data collection and analytics, in his opinion, is a challenging task and is a pre-requisite for any good enterprise.