By Anusha Ashwin
The number of startups in India is growing at an exponential rate and at the same time, a high number of startups are shutting shop. Taking note of the knowledge gap enters Sandeep Maurya, Founder & CEO of Bornbrio, a startup to help other startups succeed. In the interaction with Voice&Data, Maurya reveals the reasons behind a startup’s failure and how his organization helps a startup stay at course to success.
A startup for startups
Startup entrepreneurs have become the center of economic value creation in major economies across the world and in the last two decades, we have seen startups creating value far in excess of century old corporations. Uber is a perfect example of that. Business model construct powered by technology is the new era of innovation and Bornbrio came into existence to help build this change by facilitating capital, people and business solutions through its platform.
Describing about his company, Maurya, says, “Startups do fail! These need to be groomed to further the blooming entrepreneurial landscape. To facilitate a constructive approach towards innovation, we need to empower entrepreneurs with right skills, knowledge and ecosystem. Bornbrio is the platform facilitating the economic cooperation needed for the success of the startups and rise of the entrepreneurial spirit.”
A self-funded organization, Bornbrio is driven by the market need. Its platform was released to the public on May 1, 2017. With the revenue model designed to bring down cost per transaction, Borbrio intends to transform the way the startup ecosystem works across the globe. While the focus is on capital and skills, the company works with various stakeholders to oil the startup machinery and remove kinks to improve success rate.
Bornbrio’s team brings together 60 years of International expertise in strategy, finance, marketing, contracting and fundraising. Founder Maurya himself has worked across the globe with majors such as Chevron & ExxonMobil and seen the intraprenueral spirit at work.
Speaking about his career, Maurya, says, “My career kickstarted as a Marine Engineer, where I dwelled into engineering. Later, I became part of Punj Lloyd’s core management team developing businesses across geographies. I have developed engineering solutions, launched an infrastructure fund; created Shared Services with McKinsey; consolidated multi-million dollar projects spread across Middle East, Africa and Caspian and established markets in Americas, Latin America & Europe. Ramraj Singh, my cofounder, who is from IIT Roorkie and has CFA Level III, has spent 18 years working on core banking solutions with global majors like Nomura and Credit Suisse. Other members of the team add value with their experience with startups, insurance and public policy.”
Baby steps to long strides
Bornbrio is all about supporting the startup from ideation to success and it facilitates idea generation, development of business plan, funding, training, recruitment, e-lancing, mentoring and peer-to-peer discussions. Maurya says that it is important to bear in mind that seed funding does not mean funds for just a one page idea. An idea has to be backed by strong market opportunity, credible team members with ability to execute the idea and some traction on ground.
This means that someone who is working on developing a concept can utilize Bornbrio’s idea platform to reach out for suggestions and develop a robust business plan. A startup may have an incredible idea but may lack a credible team, and Bornbrio promises to help such startups reach out to innovators who could be co-founders or employees. The platform is open for mentors too, who could facilitate discussions at various levels.
Based on the startup’s business model, Bornbrio provides customized funding campaign that would consider equity, debt or crowdfunding as potential means of funding the startup’s business.
Adding few more of his services, Maurya, says, “In case of an equity or a debt campaign, once submitted, we review and comment for the guidance of the investors. Once reviewed the campaigns are released for the qualified private investors registered on the platform. The investors can then bid and offer based on their perception of the business model. An investor takes the lead and convinces others to invest. This is known as syndication in the world of Angel Investments.”
As a seasoned advisor, Maurya observes that in the telecommunication sector, the startup world has seen some large amount of investments in the sphere of IoT, driverless cars, big data, and AR/VR. According to him, startups are redefining what connectivity and media consumption mean. Technology as such has been hot and he has witnessed Blockchain and AI as the investor’s favorites.
Bornbrio on a mission to accelerate Startup India Plan
Being in the business of startup consultancy, Maurya has the knowledge on India’s startup initiatives and the policy for startups. He expresses his views to say, “Prime Minister Modi has created a startup momentum with “Startup India” campaign. We see startups, incubation centers and accelerators being announced in every corner of India. Government has mandated banks to provide startup loans. Tax holidays; ease of doing business; and transparency in government operations are a boon for startups in India. Make in India also brings in multiple opportunities for startups in manufacturing. The policy is working in the right direction, but there are several gaps such as:
- Creating Incubation cells and accelerators will not create impact unless they are manned by people who have the right skills to spur businesses out of nascent ideas.
- Funding is not available on ground. Government has planned to set up a Rs 2,000 crore fund to securitize loans to startups, but the process lacks transparency at the point of disbursement of loan.
- Manufacturing is capital intensive. To spur startup activity in manufacturing it is important to create a mechanism that facilitates capital raising against the future production of goods. We need to focus on specific sectors such as defense, infrastructure and food where contracts are designed for startups and government as the counterparty of final produce. The off take contracts from the government can make a lot of difference.
- Skills and manpower remains one of the most demanding issue.
Bornbrio is specifically working on easing funds and creating skilled manpower to accelerate “Startup India” campaign. We will also liaise with government on the policy related issues.”
Bornbrio operates as an online platform and the company has views-traction from over 100 countries across the world. The company is striving to develop a network of advisors and investors in countries from where they get have observed majority of the web traffic.
Maurya plans to utilize Blockchain to create a secondary market for startup equities. He reveals that he is awaiting policy changes and evaluating alternatives available to scale up his business plans.
In the meantime he has a target of sealing 2,500 users and to clock $50,000/month in revenue, by May 2018.
Some Tips for Startups
“Your pitch is as strong as your knowledge of your business and the passion of your team. When presenting to the investors ensure that:
- You know your facts and figures and you don’t end up answering, “I will come back to you”.
- You do not get intimidated by the questions thrown by the investors. They are playing devil’s advocate. Do not get defensive, but avoid being overtly offensive.
- You know your worth, do not oversell. If you and your idea have the potential, someone will invest. Maintain your power to bargain.
- Listen to constructive feedback. It will help you improve your revenue and delivery model. If not money, you are sure to walk away with some pointers on how to approach the business better.”