“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes … the ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do.” — Steve Jobs
The man who inspired so many of us through his life and his work to have the courage, conviction and resilience to take on long-term, important agendas, is no more. Todayâ€™s 100th roundtable is dedicated to fittingly celebrating Steveâ€™s life. The reinforcement of his example, in hours of darkness, has offered me light and direction to take on a big, bold idea: restructuring capitalism through the 1M/1M program.
At todayâ€™s session, we opened with a memorial service for Steve and then went on to explain how we are doing so.
Through the past six years of intense research and thinking, I have come to conclude that the most vulnerable phase in an entrepreneurâ€™s life is the pre-$1 million revenue stage. This is where numerous ventures fail.
In the 1M/1M roundtables, the vast majority of entrepreneurs we work with are in this rather vulnerable pre-$1 million revenue stage.
The 1M/1M program aims to help a million entrepreneurs globally reach $1 million in revenue (and beyond), thereby building the foundation of a robust, distributed and sustainable economic value creation that would add up to $1 trillion dollars in global GDP. It would also result in creating at least 10 million jobs around the world.
And today, we have a group of early adopter premium members who are making good use of the program. In over 100 roundtables, I have personally coached more than 400 early-stage entrepreneurs. Over 7,000 people have attended the roundtables. And between the free and premium programs, as well as the blog, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, we have a community of more than 200,000 people engaged in the initiative at various levels.
Through this journey, we have raised the visibility of fundamental issues like the causes of exorbitantly high infant entrepreneur mortality and alerted the entrepreneur community with a simple observation:
Entrepreneurship = (Customer + Revenue + Profits); Financing is Optional
Our community has successfully established a culture of bootstrapping as a counterforce to the compulsive rush to financing that entrepreneurs often mistakenly engage in, only to be rejected over and again by investors. This, of course, doesnâ€™t mean that we discourage entrepreneurs from seeking financing. It simply means that our methodology prepares them better if they do decide to raise capital, as well as calibrate their fundability at different points of the journey.
And finally, we have defined 1M/1M as a framework for capitalism 2.0, a distributed, democratic model of capitalism.
What makes 1M/1M unique?
Every incubator you look at takes pride in how exclusive it is. How difficult it is for entrepreneurs to get selected to participate. 1M/1M is not exclusive at all. We want every entrepreneur to have access to our curriculum and incubation services, and give them an opportunity to build their businesses, irrespective of the scale of their entrepreneurial aspirations. After all, there are many more $5 million, $10 million, $20 million ideas out there than $500 million or billion-dollar ones. The latter is the domain of venture capital, but the former is what we need to build the foundation for Capitalism 2.0 on a global scale.
In 1M/1M, we offer a case-study-based online educational program, video lectures, and methodology, online strategy consulting at public and private online roundtables, as well as introductions to customers, channel partners and investors (pre-seed, seed, angel, VC, bank, alternative financing). The public roundtable is a free program accessible from anywhere in the world. The rest of the services are for paying members only. The $1,000 annual fee grants paying members unlimited usage of the service.
I have learnt a great deal being based in the heart of Silicon Valley for the last 15 years and having access to its inner circle. However, as I started designing 1M/1M, it was clear to me that what we have learned and fine-tuned here at such a furious pace, needs to be encapsulated and made available to the larger world of entrepreneurs. No, you do not need to come to Silicon Valley to learn entrepreneurship. With 1M/1M, we have packaged the lessons from the trenches of over 500 entrepreneurs. We have synthesized a methodology that draws from their best practices. We have created case studies that help you get an up-close-and-personal experience of sitting down with some of the best entrepreneurs of our time and sharing, perhaps, a cup of coffee with them.
At todayâ€™s session, we had ten 1M/1M premium members share their journeys.
Dan Stewart, from Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida, presented Happy Grasshopper, an online service helping sales people keep in touch with their prospects via email. Dan started off in 1M/1M with the idea of raising money right away but has since focused on getting a solid positioning done, a minimum viable product (MVP) built, and has generated over 2,000 successful, delighted, paying customers, thus vastly enhancing his fundability.
Girish Mathrubootham, from Chennai, India, discussed FreshDesk, a full-featured social customer support SaaS offering targeted toward small businesses. In the past 100 days since its launch, Freshdesk has recruited 100 paying customers. In parallel, the founders have won a $40,000 grant from Microsoft as winner of the BizSpark Startup India Challenge and are in the throes of closing a financing round. The company has generated excellent investor interest and multiple term sheets.
Taariq Lewis, from the San Francisco Bay Area, presented Voluble, an online â€˜eventâ€™ platform that broadcasts multiple chat messages to multiple social media platforms simultaneously and is seeing excellent traction in large enterprises to assist with lead nurturing in the sales closing process. Taariq joined the 1M/1M program with a single-slide concept and has since recruited marquee paying beta customers. Voluble is also seeing good interest from investors.
Suresh Sambandam, from Chennai, India, discussed OrangeScape, a Platform-as-a-Service provider from India that plugs a gap in Googleâ€™s enterprise product, helping migrate long tail applications from Lotus Notes to Google App Engine. Through partnerships with larger channel partners, OrangeScape is seeing traction in very large enterprises and has established an excellent relationship with Google. Helping the latter win Lotus Notes migration deals is a market penetration strategy that is paying off.
Gioacchino La Vecchia, from Pisa, Italy, discussed CrowdEngineering, a crowdsourced customer support platform, that is pioneering a level zero customer support layer that expects to save 20% to 30% in support costs for enterprises with a high volume of support calls like Telecom and Consumer Electronics. CrowdEngineering is also seeing traction through channel partnerships that 1M/1M has helped put together.
Ajit Narayanan, from Chennai, India, presented Invention Labs, a speech technology for helping children with disabilities, like autism, communicate and learn. Ajit is a remarkable innovator and technical founder who is using 1M/1M as his crash course in business and product marketing, while also generating revenues through services, some product sales in India, and winning major awards like the Technology Review TR 35.
Vikrant Mathur, from the San Francisco Bay Area, presented iFood.tv, a large community of cooking lesson videos where food lovers learn to cook. Vikrant has already built a business with millions of users and eyeballs, monetized some, and his company is now profitable. But the opportunity is a lot larger, especially by introducing Web 3.0, and expanding the monetization models to include commerce. Much revenue waits to be unlocked.
Value Of Insight Consulting
Scott Clark, from Miami, Florida, presented Value Of Insight Consulting, a company with deep expertise in clinical trial research in areas such as oncology that offers great value to pharmaceutical companies. No, 800 million people are not going to be buying the companyâ€™s product, but major pharma clients are buying, and the company is doing important work, while building a serious, profitable business.
Ashok Jagathrakshakan, from Bangalore, India, presented Azuyo, a mobile and social application developer. Ashok has established himself as one of the go-to guys for many 1M/1M companies that are looking for outsourced product and prototype development services. In parallel, he is also building a product business that has emerged out of his work with social media campaigns.
Michael Goldman, from Portland, Maine, presented Wealth Gathering, a social gaming consumer app for managing your financial health. Michael is in the midst of advanced market validation, having completed the first level of positioning and research. From Maine, where there isnâ€™t much of an entrepreneurial community, Michael is able to plug into Silicon Valleyâ€™s knowledge and experience through 1M/1M.
These are just a few examples of how the 1M/1M entrepreneurs are moving forward. The most important fact is that they ARE moving forward and are able to short-circuit a learning process that cost many of us many invaluable years of our lives and numerous avoidable mistakes.
The 1M/1M community is very proud of all the entrepreneurs who are pushing ahead with the same determination and resilience that Steve Jobs taught us through his glowing example. It is a light that will continue to guide entrepreneurs around the world for years to come, and it will also guide us at 1M/1M, offering the strength to stay with our mission of restructuring capitalism and empowering a million entrepreneurs to become successful.
You can listen to the recording of todayâ€™s roundtable here. As always, I would very much like to hear about your business, so let me invite you to come and pitch at one of our free 1M/1M public roundtables. We will be holding future roundtables at 8:00 a.m. PDT on the following dates:
If you want a deeper relationship with me, you are very welcome to join the 1M/1M premium program. If you have any questions about the program, please, first study the website, especiallyÂ What to expect from the 1M/1M premium program and the FAQs. If you have additional questions, please email me, and I would be very happy to respond. Please note, that I work exclusively with 1M/1M entrepreneurs.
I also invite youÂ to join the 1M/1M mailing list for the ease and convenience of getting updates.Â This wayÂ we can stay in touch and it will help you to decide if 1M/1M is a program for you.