CIE organized a one-of-a-kind Bootcamp which kickstarted the journey of many students into entrepreneurship. Prefaced by the weekly ‘Basecamp’ sessions (held over the course of the previous semester), the Bootcamp offered students an in-depth hands-on approach to entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship and business.
The 2018 Bootcamp was a 7-day residential program. Students mainly in 4th and 6th semesters from various fields of engineering participated enthusiastically. By the end, the 30 students had gone through the entire process of starting up – from validation of ideas and creating a Business Model Canvas to selling and pitching.
TEAM 1 – Simrita Jayasimha, Mridula Singhal, Jeevan, Shashank Prabhakar
TEAM 2 – Dweepa Honnavalli, Manoj M, Shrey Tiwari
TEAM 3 – Ayushi Mehta, Chetan, Supriya Prasad, Gauransh
TEAM 4 – Devasish, Akhil Siddharth, K P Arjun Rajesh, Siri Prasad
TEAM 5 – S.Shiv Mohith, Chirag L, Chinmayee Shenvi, Keerthan
TEAM 6 – Vibha Puthran, Vishwas N Udupa, Parthan
TEAM 7 – D Yashaswi Shetty, Omkar Metri, Tejas Prashanth, Parmesh Kaur
TEAM 8 – Shrushti Kaul, Sumanth Rao, Mohammed Sadiq K, Khalandar Nawal Sheikh
In the “Industry Lead Expert Session” of Day 2, Mr Shankar from Microsoft who spoke to the students about Big data storage and Analytics.
He gave a lot of insights on how the modern day distributed cloud file system is built and managed. The students saw how the growth of cloud systems, cheaper storage means and availability of enormous amounts of data has opened up an entire new untapped field of machine learning and Artificial intelligence.
As described by the speaker, AI is “Technology that can perceive, learn, and reason to extend the capabilities of people and organizations”. The speaker clearly described how the times are changing and how the characteristics of the data are changing too. He also spoke about the present day file systems in cloud, restoring capabilities of these systems and also about their performance. At the end of the talk, the floor was open to questions from students. Students prodded Mr. Shankar with various questions that piqued their curiosity.
Suresh, managing partner of CoCreate.Ventures, gave the budding entrepreneurs their very first introduction into the Finances of building a start-up. He started by presenting them with 2 questions. Will the entrepreneurs make money? Or will their Business make money? Contrary to popular belief, they are not the same. He went on to pool questions from the class and answered them one by one.
Students were introduced to Unit Economics, Metrics and Liquidity preference. Suresh gave them some useful insights on equity and market Value Valuation. He helped them think from the point of view of Venture Capitalists. He made them realize the importance of knowing how big their market is. He spoke about Patents and Corporate law in detail and cleared any doubts the students had regarding these. Overall, it was a very informative session and a good heads-up for what to keep in mind while pitching to investors.
Nagesh, from General Electric (GE), was the speaker of the day. He introduced the students to the domain of Digital Health and Affordable Care. He spoke about the current leading topics in the domain and some disruptive ideas, which we can build upon. As an exercise he gave each of the teams time to propose an innovative solution to a healthcare problem of their own. He talked about Emerging market needs in the domain, and how any cost-effective solution would make a huge impact on the market. Everyone was bursting eagerly with questions towards the end of the talk.
NS Sunil Kumar is a Product / Industrial Designer + UI / UX Researcher at INTEL Technology India Pvt, Ltd. He guided the Bootcampers through the process of applying Design Thinking in a practical and useful manner to groom their product to better suit the market. With the help of a simple cyclic process, they were shown how design thinking can make a huge difference in the way they look at ideas.
It was an extremely interactive session with Sunil taking the students through small exercises. Teams were asked to mock pitch their product (a pen of their choice) to a fictitious investor. He then pointed out many aspects of design thinking as each team proceeded to pitch.
There was a lot that the students took away from this session: concept of interacting with customers, finding the right insights or being able to put yourself in the customer’s shoes to find out what they need etc. Design Thinking revolves around a deep interest in developing an understanding of the people for whom we’re designing the products or services. It helps entrepreneurs observe and develop empathy with the target user. It helps them in the process of questioning: questioning the problem, questioning the assumptions, and questioning the implications. Sunil Kumar beautifully tied all of these together in a coherent and interactive talk.
The session concluded with describing a product in terms of functional and emotional aspects. For a product to be a success and satisfy the target consumers the functional aspects must be optimised and there must be no compromises in the emotional aspects because at the end of the day what you want is to deliver happiness and satisfaction to your consumers (which is the key to success).
Suhas Ghante focused around Business Development. He started by making the students aware of how outdated the traditional marketing funnel was and how the new funnel is much better. The cyclic process of exploring, researching, evaluating, engaging, purchasing, using and sharing works best now.
Suhas went on to enthral them with a session called “Hacking the Funnel”, where he shared some business hacks which he had picked up, through his experiences. One such hack was to use a “No” question, when an investor did not reply, to actually trigger a response from him/her. He stated how a single, untimely, almost rude question, something like, “Should we postpone discussion for the time being?” can turn the tables in your favour. He mentioned how important it is to know what is actually important! He went on to talk about handling situations which arise during meetings. He shared some Negotiation Hacks from experience which have been found to work really well.
The students were told how important Etiquette was and to be aware of your receiver’s personality. He provided them with a lot of software and book recommendations, which was very useful. He concluded by stressing on the aspect of always doing your homework before any meeting and how it would pay off.
Dr. Anbumani was the first speaker at the Bootcamp. He gave a brief introduction to Machine learning and its subsets. He brought his expertise in the field of machine learning and showed students how the unseen can be seen if they just broadened their thinking
The “Industry Lead Expert Session” of Day 3 was given by Gokul Subramaniam from Intel. This was a “ No Gyan ” session- no boring slides, just candid stories. The speaker spoke about innovation and how it is shaping the future. Innovation is the cynosure of start-ups. He spoke from personal experiences about many important factors like having the right team. He said there are two types of people in this the world- the Doers and the Debaters, so make sure your team doesn’t dwell too much into the latter category. Striking the right balance between the two categories will inch towards a successful start-up.
He presented a lot of examples of how people can make mistakes during their ventures. He stressed upon one of the most basic success tips for start-ups, i.e. while venturing start with the problem and not the technology to solve it. This was made very clear with the help of the examples that Gokul took up during the session.
The speaker also motivated the students to dream big and nor limit their imaginations while ideating. This message was stressed when his daughter, Kavya talked about her dreams and vision and how she is working towards it. The speaker also told how failure is fast if the path of the start-up going ahead is unclear. Social interaction with the customers can help reduce the loss margin to a great extent.
On a concluding note the speaker told the teams about the importance of asking the right questions. He gave the teams a set of simple questions to ask themselves: • Why are we solving the problem? • Why not solve it another way? • So, what if we solve the problem? Gokul indicated that questions are important, questions that one should ask oneself and also questions that should be put forward to the customers (high gain questions); these can give valuable insights about one’s goal and could be the line between the success and failure of a start-up. This notion tied beautifully with today’s theme of asking and answering. Students started off asking all their questions and found out how to ask the right questions.
Dheemanth Nagaraj, an Intel Fellow, a Platform Engineering Group Architect at Server CPU Development and New Product Innovations. He brought his expertise to CIE and gave extremely useful insights to the teams. He stressed the importance of a Leadership Triad: Insight, Conviction and Credibility. Every problem needs a purpose and one must always have the big picture in mind and never lose sight of it. He spoke about the importance of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in today’s world. It can transform health, finance, retail, energy and transport. He gave some staggering numbers and talked about the computing power of the human brain, and where the compute power is at right now in the world of technology, and where it will be in the future. Some numbers that cannot even be comprehended! It is important to reverse engineer successful ideas and learn from them. One must overcome his/her fears, come up with a good problem to solve, convince others in the team and sell the dream! The more preposterous people think your idea is, the more prosperous you will be.
Magesh Srinivasan, Global Head of Connected Car and AI at HCL, spoke about Autonomous Driving – today’s buzzword, yesterday’s dream. Everyone seems to be talking about it now, but back then everyone thought it was a preposterous idea only meant to be in science fiction movies. A car without a driver in the 1900’s- Preposterous! A car without a driver in 2018- Prosperous!
Mr. Magesh spoke about the 130-year-old automobile industry. He told them how technology and rapid advancements in software has changed the whole technology circle. He spoke of how software in cars is becoming more and more important. He threw light on the very cool concept of ‘connected cars’, where driverless cars can communicate with each other and make the road a safer place. 5G is on its way, and this will be a huge leap. This will be an exponential (and not incremental like the previous versions) jump from 4G, as 5G promises high throughput, low latency, high mobility and high connection density.
He encouraged the students to explore current technologies and be acquainted with breakthroughs that disrupted economies, because one day they might spearhead one such disruption.
Manoj Sanker, an alumnus of PESIT gave a candid talk to the students. The students related to his engineering anecdotes and marvelled at his entrepreneurship journey. He shared with them his college experience, the projects he worked on and how they all played an important role in making him what he is today. There was to lot to learn from it. He showed them how the subjects, students learn in college will play a role in their career and that it is crucial that they work on their strengths in college. He spoke about ‘Moonlight entrepreneurship’, which is a term he used to describe his journey. He would work at a company at day and turn into an entrepreneur at night. He stressed on never giving up on your dream no matter how busy, under-equipped or tired you are. “Believe in yourself, work hard, learn from your failures and it will take you a long way” was the message the students walked away with at the end of his talk.
The ‘Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ experienced a one-of-a-kind Bootcamp which kickstarted the journey of many students into entrepreneurship. Prefaced by the weekly ‘Basecamp’ sessions (held over the course of the previous semester), Bootcamp offered students an in-depth heuristic approach to entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship and business.
Bootcamp was a 7-day residential program. Students mainly in 4th and 6th semesters from various fields of engineering participated enthusiastically
DAY 1 MORNING SESSION – BREAK THE ENTREPRENEURIAL ICE
CIE’s Bootcamp witnessed the launch of the 3400 sq. feet ‘Makerspace’ with state of the art infrastructure and facilities. The Bootcamp was inaugurated by Dr. KNB Murthy (Vice Chancellor, PES Institutions) and Prof. Ajoy Kumar (COO, PES Institutions) who shared their experience with CIE and wished the students all the luck moving forward.
Prof. Sathya Prasad and Mrs. Usha Raghunath briefed the students on the daily activities and formats of the camp and introduced them to how entrepreneurs should think by analyzing their growth mindset. Some of the important takeaways from their session were: 1. Entrepreneurs have a pro-learning, risk-free outlook on life. They aren’t paranoid about losing and are open to challenges. 2. They brace the uncertain with their unique solutions to new problems. They innovate. 3. They are very observant and are always digging up hidden opportunities which are inconspicuous to the normal eye. 4. They are quick to recover and eager to start over.Their uninhibited, infectious, and unrivalled energy keeps them going even if they are facing hard times.
The bootcampers formed teams of 3 and 4. The teams were diverse in their gender, branch of engineering and year of study. A small team bonding session took place in order to make the students comfortable with their team.
AFTERNOON SESSION – THE BUSINESS CHALLENGE
Effectuation, a popular strategy amongst entrepreneurs involves knowing your ‘means’ and setting your goals based on those ‘means’. Means include who they are, what they know and who they know. Students were introduced to this decision-making strategy. This is contrary to ‘Casual reasoning’ where you set a goal and find the resources you need to accomplish it.
Using this strategy, our bootcampers were encouraged to ideate and formalize their business challenge. To help them out, templates were provided. By the end of the session, each team had a solid business idea to work with over the next seven days.
Dr. Anbumani Subramanian from Intel gave a very insightful overview on machine learning, image processing and analysis, and introduced the idea of “how the unseen can be seen”.
DAY 2 MORNING SESSION – PUT YOUR DESIGN THINKING CAP ON
Mr. Sunil Kumar from Intel provided insights into design thinking, the importance of identifying the correct user, user-friendliness, and also conducted a basic pitching session.
Students were introduced to describing a product in terms of functional and emotional aspects. For a product to be a success and satisfy the target consumers the functional aspects must be optimised and there must be no compromises in the emotional aspects because at the end of the day what you want is to deliver happiness and satisfaction to your consumers (which is the key to success).
AFTERNOON SESSION – CUSTOMER IS KING
The students spent this session finding out about their customer segments and defining their problem statement that they were targeting to solve. The formal procedures explained by Mrs Usha helped all the students to work productively.
A customer persona a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. Students were introduced to Ethnography, which is the recording and analysis of a culture or society, usually based on participant-observation and resulting in a written account of a people, place or institution. Understanding the customer and the surrounding information can be done using this technique. Students spent the afternoon providing solid structure to their ideas by creating empathy maps and understanding their problem statements. This clarity formed a strong foundation for the teams as they progressed to further their innovative business plans
DAY 3 MORNING SESSION – BUILDING A BMC
The day started out with the bootcampers having some burning questions, so Prof. Sathya and Mrs. Usha pooled all of their questions and answered them throughout the week. One of the questions led to Usha talking about energy management and its importance. The bootcampers were urged to keep their motivation and drive even if the situation seems like it can’t get any worse. When times are hard, surround yourself with positive people. It is crucial to choose the right team, a team of diverse, positive and motivated people. Many a times, start-ups need mentors and external help for some problems that they are targeting to solve. It is important to always remember that your mentors are not the decision makers for you. You must always do the research/study/homework and take decisions yourself.
The teams were then exposed to an aspect called a ‘Unique Selling Proposition’. A ‘USP’ is a factor that differentiates a product from its competitors, such as the lowest cost, the highest quality or the first-ever product of its kind. A USP could be thought of as “what you have that competitors don’t”. A successful USP promises a clearly articulated benefit to consumers, offers them something that competitive products can’t or don’t offer, and is compelling enough to attract new customers.
The teams were given time to analyze their problem, come with a solution and express its USP. All along they had the mentors to help them with any difficulties they had. Later, the teams analysed their competition carefully and filled out their BMC based on all the work they had done so far.
AFTERNOON SESSION – PARADIGM SHIFT: ASK WHY, NOT HOW
The activities conducted in the past three days have shown students how to tackle the initial process of entrepreneurship- ideation, validation and differentiation. Students learnt how to ideate and brainstorm different ideas.They were thought how to think without barriers and without worrying about the solution. They learnt to validate their chosen idea and choose to move forward with it, change it or discard it altogether. They learnt how to differentiate their idea from the current market and identify the ‘Secret Sauce’ that makes them unique from existing companies. The students were halfway through the bootcamp and had made tremendous progress.
DAY 4 – CLARITY OF BUSINESS VISION
The bootcampers were motivated by a passionate talk delivered by Prof. K.S. Sridhar, Principal of PESIT. He shared some of the amazing feats achieved by the students of PESU to inspire future entrepreneurs. He talked about the importance of finding one’s passion and pursuing it, no matter what. His stories kick started an energetic day for the students.
The teams finalized their Business Model Canvas (BMC) for their business challenge. Prof Sathya and Mrs. Usha spoke about Revenue streams, Expense streams and the key role they played in a startup.
The topic of pricing is very important. After all, money doesn’t grow on trees, and in a business, money is everything.
Teams were also asked to come up with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to get hold of the core functionalities of their product and not get distracted by the embellishments. Teams spent the better part of the day in building the BMC, which formed the foundation of their pitch
DAY 5 MORNING SESSION – MARKETING NUANCES
Day 5 started with a Skype call session by Suhas Ghante, all the way from San Francisco. Mr. Suhas Ghante, a young entrepreneur based in San Francisco, California, and COO, AlchemAI, introduced students to the Feel Felt Found framework, business etiquettes and negotiation hacks.
AFTERNOON SESSION – TALK THE TALK
After lunch the students convened again and had a session on Pitch Development and Storyboarding. Students were shown what impresses and what doesn’t. They were made aware of the importance of a strong opening sentence and how having a crisp and “to the point” pitch was essential. Each team brainstormed their storyboard and began the process of constructing it. Students started their preparation on the pitch and their ideas were coming together beautifully
DAY 6 MORNING SESSION – THE PREPOSTEROUS ARE PROSPEROUS
Day 6 was a packed day for the bootcampers. They had 3 mentoring sessions and a pitch demo session. Students were hustling hard and enjoying lots while they were piecing things together for the following day.
Mr. Dheemanth Nagaraj, Intel Fellow, delivered a compelling talk on factors contributing to good leadership and how passion and perseverance is the key to success.
Sailing on that same boat, Mr. Magesh Srinivasan, Global Head, Connected Cars and AI, at HCL, provided a well-rounded insight into how the automotive industry has evolved from its humble beginnings to its present-day counterpart and what is required moving forward
AFTERNOON SESSION – DO THE DREAM
The bootcampers continued to prepare for the pitch by drafting a presentation, tweaking their BMC from insights gained by the speakers and mentors. A dry run of the pitch was conducted and the teams revisited their pitch and presentations based on the feedback. All the teams were excited and looking forward to present their work to the panel of eminent people at the session the following day.
Mr. Manoj Sanker, Founder/CEO of Nemo Care and a young alumnus of PES University spoke at length on how he began his entrepreneurial venture right from college, stressing the importance of studying the existing market and then creating a niche for oneself in it.
Mr. Bhaktha Keshavachar, co-founder and CTO of Ezetap delivered a very candid address, sharing the highs and lows he faced throughout his entrepreneurial journey, the importance of a smooth user experience and how insightful observing the target customer can be.
Students were surprised with hot pizzas for dinner and they savoured it after a long day’s work. They relaxed and socialized with fun games and delicious food. Students then prepared for the day to come with a final run of their pitch and a whole lot of excitement.
DAY 7 THE CULMINATION OF EFFORTS
Over the course of a week, students had gained terrific insights into the various stages of entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship. They had had many industry experts talk to them about their experiences and takeaways. The final day of Bootcamp showcased the learnings and experiences the students had gained throughout.
The teams pitched their business start-up idea to experts and veterans of industry. Dr S. Raghunath, professor at IIM-Bangalore was the Chief Guest and Juror. There were many other guests from the industry and also a team from Vantage Agora headed by their COO, Harsha Chaturvedi
Each team was allocated 5 minutes for their pitch and for the next 5 min the floor was open was questions and comments and feedback. All the teams pitched remarkably and put out their thoughts in a compelling and crisp manner.
The panel was impressed by the efforts the students had put in. The students indeed went above and beyond.
Dr Raghunath judged the teams’ pitches and business ideas on various criteria and provided valuable feedback. The panel of experts pointed students toward the next steps and offered their opinions on their business ideas.
At the end of the session, students interacted with the experts regarding their business ideas and how to take them to the next level. Many students expressed high inclination to take their ideas forward in the future.
CIE’s Bootcamp was a massive success. It bought together diverse, driven and determined students and helped them grow into enthused entrepreneurs.