Startupbootcamp Cape Town held its inaugural accelerator demo day on Nov 30th. 10 startups from across the continent pitched to investors, corporates, mentors and others. It was incredible to see their customer traction – “At the beginning of the program, six of the 10 startups had no revenue and two did not even have concrete products. Now, every company is generating revenue and has commercial contracts, while two of the startups have also broken even in less than three months” – Disrupt-Africa
I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the panel discussion on ‘Building Better Lives’, hosted by the Babson Entrepreneurship Forum 2017. It was great to share our experience helping students and entrepreneurs launch social ventures and learning from the incredible journeys of Sean McGrail, Co-founder of Paint Nite, and Jonathan Feinman, Founder of Innercity Weightlifting. And a special thanks to our moderator, S. Sinan Erzurumlu, Associate Professor at Babson College.
Learn more about Babson’s flagship entrepreneurship conference and watch panel discussions here:
1. India’s start-up ecosystem has grown considerably in the last decade, with twelve unicorns created (companies valued over $1 billion) and over 700 start-ups founded by entrepreneurs from these companies.
However, the ecosystem faces several challenges – the big venture capital funds haven’t been able to generate liquidity through exits to return profits or even capital to investors, and the mortality rate of start-ups is quite high with less than 3% reaching the Series B funding stage.
1. Innovation = Invention * Commercialization
MIT is a hub of innovation, with about 900 companies launched by students every year. “As of 2006, over 25,000 companies existed that employ over 3 million people with aggregate revenues of approx. $2 trillion. The primary reason for MIT’s success in entrepreneurship is a combination of ‘spirit’ and ‘skills’ – a culture that encourages collaboration and gets students to believe that they can launch a business.” – As explained in the Introduction of ‘Disciplined Entrepreneurship..‘.
“It is an understatement to say that Suraj Kripalani is passionate about social ventures. Like many participants of MIT Sloan Executive Education programs, he’s interested in making an impact on the world. However, few take that charge quite as seriously as this former finance executive.” – MIT Sloan Executive Education Blog