Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Toast - My first startup exit

IP and assets of my first venture (xbrlware/bitstat) have been acquired by Frankfurt, Germany based financial services company, about a month ago. The acquisition process went smooth.

The acquisition brings logical end to my first venture. During our time in this venture,

  • We raised seed fund.
  • Assembled core team and created the product.
  • Generated revenue.
  • Acquired customers globally.
  • Acquisition of IP/assets by another company.

Toast time. 

Prior to acquisition, we were able to generate revenue from our product, but we couldn't grow at a pace that we had hoped for. Since then, we have started focusing on other opportunities.

Over last couple of years, have received four acquisition offer for our product/company. The first acquisition offer that we received was at early stage of our venture. At that time we were very hopeful of  our product future and turn the acquisition offer down without even considering it. If I look back now, our first acquisition offer looks very attractive (time window to revive that offer has gone).

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Bridging digital divide in emerging economies

This post details about how things went till now, in our attempt at creating a solution to solve digital divide among members of Indian families.

Brief about our solution :

In emerging economics like India, not all members of a family are equal in their capability to access technology, due to language barrier to access them, demanding tech skills to manage them. Since, members of a family live & work at different places/cities/geographies, there is friction in sharing & consuming digital content.

Our solution is mix of hardware + software.

How things went till now :

1) Go to market on our own : Since our solution involves hardware, we were in need of good  capital investment. Approached few VCs & had few rounds of discussion with them, but things didn't workout. Below is the feedback from one of the VCs (Other VCs feedback were also in similar lines)

"In general, any hardware based models have a lot of complications due to inventory management, support infrastructure, maintenance and so on. That is the reason, you don't see much o single hardware product companies any more (Apple, HP, Dell, Samsung, LG, MicroMax, Sony, etc. etc.). They all reuse their distribution, manufacturing, procurement, and maintenance network very well. If I were you, once you have a product, think through whether you can sell the product through Micromax or some one like that and you getting a royalty.

The question is not about the demand, but, how you satisfy the demand without reinventing the whole wheel. My 2 cents."

2) Attempt at approaching an India based hardware vendor : Through friends, got an introduction to board member (who is also one of their VCs) of an India based hardware manufacturer. Pitched our solution to them, but didn't get any response from him.

3) Approaching Intel : Again through friends, go an introduction to Intel capital. Intel is trying to market their atom processor and working with other hardware manufacturers. Demoed our solution to them. They were also working closely with same India based hardware manufacturer, that I approached early. Not much progress here too.

4) Approaching Reliance : Reliance jio infocomm (Owned by Mukesh ambanis's RIL. RIL pumped $5 billion in this project) is launching 4G based tablet tailored for Indian audience. Initiated discussion with connections I knew at RIL. Again here is too not much progress after few rounds of discussion.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Indic language, Firefox OS App Days - Hackday

Have participated and demoed my app at Firefox OS App Day, in bangalore. My app was selected as one of the winner. Would be receiving Firefox OS developer preview phone as prize.

My app is about custom home screen, specifically tailored for Indian audience with Indic language support and Indic language keypad. There were more than 100 developers participated in the event and were around 15 hack demos. Was happy that many developers and mozilla team got excited about my app.