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  • How To Get Funding For My Idea?

    How to get funding for your idea is a question which leaves many dumbfounded. In this article i try to explain what you as an entrepreneur must do before you try to raise funds for your idea.

    By idea i mean that you have either a prototype or a working product. Having just an idea will get you no where as explained later in the article.

    Think of a worthy idea

    Before you try to raise money for your idea make sure it is worthy. The idea can come from anywhere. It can be a new and unique idea, or improving an existing one.
    However there have been cases where the most useless of ideas have been funded and I believe that is just a waste of energy and money.

    Do Your Home Work

    Before starting work on your idea you must first define a user persona which explains who your ideal user or customer is, what his personality is, what his income is, what inspires him.

    Build Your User Persona

    The user persona helps you to understand your ideal user and it will make it easy for you to build your idea and target to the correct market.
    You must then use your user persona to find a problem in your market and pitch your idea to them. If your idea solves a pain point for your market and if they accept it and are willing to either use or pay for it then you are on the right track. If you find something lacking then you will have to pivot and include what is missing, and get rid of what is not important.

    Build Your Business & Marketing Plan

    Always have your numbers ready.  An investor always prefers an idea which already is already being executed and has paying customers and sales.
    A business plan also contains your current costs, expected costs, revenue, expected revenue, etc…
    A marketing plan helps you chart out how you will conduct your marketing efforts. Having a business and a marketing plan explains what you plan to do, and also helps understand your business goals.

    Execution is Extremely Important

    An idea which has not been executed has no value. Unless you have done some form of work on the idea, no one will fund your idea. Executing an idea shows to the potential investors that you are willing to work on your idea.

    Even if you have not yet executed on your idea, but have done your initial homework even then you might get funding for your idea.

    Getting funding for your idea

    Getting funding for your idea
    Source for image: http://techzulu.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/vc-funding-now-what.jpg

     

    Where can I get funding from?

    There are a number of different sources which you can get funding from.

    Borrow from your family and friends

    This is the first place where you should go. There is a high chance they will give you the money  for being family but you have to prove them your idea’s worth. Also you might not have to give any equity since you are borrowing money.

    Look for Angel investors

    Before you can apply to venture capitals and have already exhausted your family and friends for funding, try to find an angel investor. They will either give a convertible loan or ask for equity. Angel investors invest their own money into these startups and as a safeguard also want a high return on investment as there are very chances that the startup will fail.

    Try To Get Venture Capitalists on Board

    Venture capitalists like the Angel investor invest money for equity. Before investing into a company a venture capitalist will have due diligence done and may not invest in your idea if they do not seem it to be a viable investment.

    Bootstrap your way

    If you can afford it it is better to pay from your own savings, then you do not have to share ownership with anyone. You can either spend from your savings or from your monthly paycheck if you have day job. You can also take on consulting work while you work on your idea. The money that you earn through the work can also be used to pay for your idea.

    Crowd Funding

    A new phenomenon which has taken the world by storm is the crowd funding platform such as kickstarter, and indigogo, where you can post the details of your project and your pitch and have others fund your project for no equity. If your project reaches the target then you will get the target. However, since there is no equity involved you have to provide the backers with something in return.

    Conclusion & Disclaimer

    There is no guarantee that your product will be funded even if you have done all of your home work and have a product. If the investor finds the investment to be a good one then he will do so, and also how you pitch to the investor will also matter. Even if you have the world’s best product but you get your pitch wrong no one will invest in your idea.

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    January 12, 2015 • Entrepreneurship • Views: 4465

  • How Do I Build A Company Culture?

    Your Mission Statement

    In small companies, culture are the values and beliefs that you as an organization hold dear and close.

    Your mission statement and future plans for the company dictate what your company believes in and what kind of a team that you want to build around you.

    For example my startup’s mission statement is to solve the world’s problems that matter and to provide solutions to them. We believe in this and we want to help make the lives of our target market much easier and better.

    I believe in this mission, and i want a team around me which also believes in this mission. I want passionate team members who will bring to the table their passion for solving problems and want to be part of this experience of building the company. I do not want people who only work for money as they will not be able to understand why and what we do.

    When your company is in the startup stage it is you who will have to be the first one to initiate the culture, but do bring on your team members on board because without their support it will become if not impossible extremely difficult for you to maintain. You have to be the example which your team will follow.

    If you try your best, but your team is not willing to accept the culture then it will not be possible for you to carry this on for the long term. It is essential that you bring your team especially your senior management on board.

    It takes a team to grow a culture.

    It takes a team to grow a culture. [1]

    Some Examples

    Steve Jobs of Apple Inc. believed in great design. He did not allow products of poor quality and design to leave the design table. If he found something to be lacking and the deadline was approaching fast, he would scrap the whole thing and redo everything. This is what I mean that you as the leader have to act on what you say. There is a reason why during his time Apple products were so well designed of top quality. He himself took part in the design and development process.

    He turned Apple into a company which believed in building well designed products, and not some boring duplicates.

    I believe that if you work on the products which align with your mission statement and values as a company your team will also embrace that.

    Be Responsible & Accountable

    You as the founder of your startup will be the one who will be managing the culture. You have to ensure that you and your team follow the culture.

    Suppose you want to endorse a culture where late sitting does not take place and that your resources come on time every day and leave on time every day.

    You yourself will have to come on time and leave on time. You have to lead by example. When your resources will see this they will get a sense of responsibility. Talk to them about this as well so that they know why you are trying to enforce this. Show them the benefits of this and soon they will understand.

    If you like reading and learning new skills, then encourage that. Purchase online courses for your team so that they study them. Dedicate a part of your team’s working hours to be spent on learning new skills.

    If you want to build a product in your company, then you may not have to be the only one who works on it. Apply the 80/20 rule in your company and let your team work on their own ideas during the 20% of their time and they work on other tasks during the 80% of the time.

    When you see an idea worth working on, build a team to work on it. Hold hackathons to find new ideas. The point is that you as the founder have to be the one who enforces these rules. You have to practice what you preach as well. Be open with your team, and bring them on board, and explain to them why you want to do this.

    I myself love to learn new skills, and to apply them, and so does my team. I have purchased courses on udemy.com for my team to study. In fact when ever they ask me to purchase a course for them i purchase that course. I believe that letting my team have what they want makes them even more motivated to work with me.

    They feel well taken care off that i care about them, and i do because i want them to do well in life. If they do well in life they will do well in my company as well.

    When you hire a resource for your company, make sure that he fits in your culture. As mentioned earlier your company culture is being passionate about solving problems.

    In large companies or organizations cultures do not matter as their aim is to hire the resource for the least amount of salary and their actions will not have much of an impact in the running of the company. Since your company in a small startup which needs input from everyone in order to survive, and grow hiring a wrong person for the job even if he has the skills may mean disaster for your company.

    Suppose you hire a hot shot programmer who writes the most beautiful code, and is really good at his work, but he is not passionate about your mission. He only comes day in and day out just to work and make some money. He does not care what problem gets fixed.

    Eventually he will spoil your environment and your other team members will start to get influenced by him.

    Even if you hire a mediocre programmer, who is willing to learn and improve and believes in solving problems, i say hire him instantly. As time passes he will improve in his skills, and he will show more passion than the other hot shot programmer.

    It is of utmost importance of who gets to be in your team. As your team will increase in size it will become even more difficult to manage your culture and to enforce it. Then you will have to hire people who will do this for you, but do make sure that your culture is not lost in the growth machine and day to day life. Culture is what gives your startup character a meaning to work for.

    Image Sources:

    [1] The plant image has been taken from Enterprise Startegies

    [2] Udemy My Courses List

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    January 5, 2015 • Entrepreneurship • Views: 4068

  • How Do I Find A Co-founder For My Startup

    Who Is A Co-founder?

    A co-founder is a person who shares the same or similar passion, zeal and commitment to work with you on a project. You can think of the contract between you and your co-founder as an intellectual marriage to build and nurture a project and see it grow into a company.

    Why Do I Need a Co-founder?

    Bringing a co-founder on board is a good idea as you can use his skills and also have another source of feedback for your idea.

    Working on your own can take you so far. You will need a co-founder to work with you take take your product to the next level. If you are a technical founder, then i recommend that you take on a non-technical co-founder who is primarily a marketing and a sales person, as marketing is one of the most important parts of building a product. Developing a product will be easy for your, but unless you do not have the marketing and sales guy your product will not be of any use, if it no one knows about it.

    Physically there is also a limit to what you can achieve individually, and if you team up with someone it will allow you to divide your work among your selves.

    Your work will increase in quality by that much because you will get regular feed back from another set of eyes which is a breath of fresh of fresh air for a founder who has been working alone on a project.

    You two can also conduct brain storming sessions among each other and come up with new ideas to work on.

    One of the most important ways in which a co-founder can help you is be there with you during the roller coaster of building a startup. No matter what any one says, the only person or group of people who go through this roller coaster and understand this are those who who have at some point in their life tried to build a company from scratch. There are times when you are on cloud 9 and you will think and have hope that your business is doing really well, but then the next minute you will coming crashing down and loose all hope and plan to exit the company which you have so lovingly built. Believe me, trying to build a startup is not for the faint of heart. You can not predict when you will have such feelings.

    The media shows us the glamour and not the grit, and hard work which is required to build something of value. You will need someone by your side who will also experience the same or similar experiences with you so that you to can comfort and console each other.

    You and your co-founder depend on each other to survive. If you build a healthy relationship, you will be able to build a successful team which will be able to overcome all obstacles.

    You and your co-founder depend on each other to survive. If you build a healthy relationship, you will be able to build a successful team which will be able to overcome all obstacles.

     

    Finding A Co-founder

    Finding a co-founder is like finding your life partner. There are many ways a partnership in a startup is quite similar to the partnership which a married couple have.

    Trust is a very huge part of this relationship just like in any relationship. If you feel you can not trust the person you are going to partner with, then i believe your relationship will not last long.

    You will also have to kill your ego. Ego is one of the most important factors which causes relationships and partnerships to fall apart. It is belief held by people that they should not start businesses with their friends as eventually both the business and friendship will be ruined. I have analyzed why this occurs and the conclusion that i have come to is that one of the partners in the relationship fails to kill or reduce his ego and fails to see the bug picture, that they are building something of value.

    I believe that the partners should sit down and discuss all of their concerns and also legalize their partnership so that it becomes difficult to break up the partnership. I am recommending this is because the partners will prefer to sit out and resolve the issues first than to go through to legalize the break up. It is not like you just stop working together one fine day. Furthermore, legalizing the partnership and your startup ensures that your and your partner’s rights have been determined and that no matter what happens even if the partnership fails the other partner can demand for his rights in the legal system.

    I believe that it was important to address the dark side of finding a co-founder and partnering up with one, as this is something which is quite possible to happen if you do not be careful.

    Your potential co-founder can come from anywhere. He can be your best friend, a co-worker with whom you like working with, or someone you met with on a networking event.

    There are also online communities where you can join and find a co-founder. However, you have to be careful in who you decide to team up with because you have to make sure that you and your co-founder are comfortable with each other.

    How Do I Know That They Will Suit Me?

    When you want someone to become your co-founder, it is obvious you will not immediately offer a place. You have to build a relationship first. Follow the person on social media sites such as FaceBook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

    Find out about their skills and their personalities. Remember do not stalk them and do not overburden them with yourself.

    Suppose you are a blogger and write articles about a certain niche, and want to team up with him, build a relationship first. Bring something of value to him and his readers. Share his blog posts and comment on them. The more you will do it, the more they will start to recognize you and be familiarized with you.

    Also share your own content, but be sure that it is of value to them and their readers. Do not share something which is not related to your potential partner and his readers.

    Furthermore, try to team up with people who are in your or a related industry then it becomes easier to find a common ground with them and you can build a relationship based on that.

    Do not partner too quickly, get to know your potential co-founder first. What are his likes and dislikes. What is that makes him go and what is his motivation. Talk to those close to you who know you and can give you advice. Remember this is a major decision that you will be making.

    You also have to take into account what is it that you can offer him. Building a relationship is a two way street and both of you have to offer something in return. If you can offer him equity in your business that is great. A personal connection and the bond that two business partners share is extremely invaluable. You become one and are in tune with each other.

    What Skills Should The Co-founder Have?

    Essentially your co-founder should complement you and your skills and should make up for what you are lacking. so if you are a technical founder, then try to get a marketing guru as your co-founder, and vice versa. It also depends on what kind of a startup you are building. If you are building a product then the above is a good formula.

    However if you are building a startup which is primarily an out sourcing company where you develop software for other people, then you can bring on more than one co-founders who can both help you in marketing your company, and also help your build the software for your clients, but do note your equity will get reduced further.

    Do note that you as a founder will also have to learn many skills such as business development.  I myself am a technical founder, but all of my business partners are technical as well, and now we have too many technical founders and no partner who can handle the business, marketing and sales side, and brining anymore partners will dilute the shares, but since i have an interest in these areas, i am self learning and trying to build the business though it would have been really good if i had an experienced partner with me in this field.

    How Much Equity Should I Give?

    This depends on what level of commitment and skills your co-founder brings to the table. Is he willing to come full time with you? Will he be there with you all the way. I believe and have experienced this that giving equity to your partner builds a sens of ownership in them and they tend to work even more hard and passionately with you, and become more responsible for their work than they would be other wise. This is something interesting that i have discovered in my experience so far.

    There is no fixed formula, but do note that there will be time where you will be tempted to break up your partnership because you want the whole pie for yourself, and at that moment you have to look at the big picture. As mentioned earlier you have to kill your ego. You can not let your ego spoil something beautiful. You have to constantly tell your self that what you are working on is something larger than you.

    When i brought in my first partner, i gave him half of my company. I was putting in more time, and effort than he was, but i knew that i could not do it alone. I had tried it for 2 years and i could not take my ideas to the next level without his help. I was at a constant battle with myself, to look at the big picture and mind you this takes a lot of mental energy and leaves you exhausted.

     

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    December 27, 2014 • Entrepreneurship • Views: 3711

  • App Review: Do Now Time Management App

    Introduction

    There are many time management apps available which help us manage our tasks and our time. Time management is a very valuable skill which every one must learn and practice in their lives. Once app that i have found goes by the name of Do Now which is available from Google Play Store for free. This app is a bit different from other apps, i have used before.

    UX, Design and Ease of Use

    The theme of this time management app is good looking with colors light blue, and orange bars, which light gray buttons.

    With apps of the same category as of this app, we usually expect that we can schedule an app and set its date and time, and set an alarm. With Do Now this particular feature is different. When you add a task you just specify the duration of the task, and not when it is to be done. What this means is that the app is only for managing the tasks on which you are working now, though you can a list of tasks, but you can not schedule them. This is not in the use case of the app, hence the name of the app is Do Now.  When i first started using this app this is what i was confused about. I was looking for the date and time fields, but only found the fields for setting the duration of the task as mentioned above.

    The association with scheduling of tasks that we have with apps like Do Now have caused the time to learn and understand how to use the app to be a bit more than an average app. Other wise the app is easy to use.

    Usefulness

    As mentioned above the app allows the users to add the duration of the task(s) being worked on. When you start working on a task press the play button and then the timer will start to count down. The good thing about this app is that the tasks are executed one by one, which is logical as well.

    Once the task is completed the alarm is rung and you are given options of if you want to ignore the alert, snooze the alert or complete the task.

    There three lists being used in the app. The first is the unplanned list which contains the list of tasks which you have not planned and are working on at the moment. You can add new tasks at run time in this list.

    The second list is the planned list, which is similar to the unplanned list in some ways, but differs in others. The user interfaces and controls of the two lists are the same and you can also add a new task at run time in the planned list just like in the unplanned list.

    The third list is the routines list which you can create. Routines are repeatable tasks, or you say planned tasks. Do you see the link? When you create a new routine which can contain a list of tasks (which you create in the routine) and when you will start the routine (play the routine, means starting the tasks in the routine) the tasks will be added to the planned list. This is where the unplanned list and the planned list are different from each other.

    The planned list is linked with the routines list. As mentioned above, when a routine is selected from the routine list to run its tasks are copied to the planned list and not to the unplanned list. This i feel is quite intuitive, and well thought out. The user does not have to manually transfer each task.

    However, i also found one thing which does not make sense to me. You can manually load the tasks in a routine and into the unplanned list. Now does that not sound contradicting from above? This is also quite possible for the planned list. I have no idea why have this when the developer has already made a link between the planned list and the routine list. Why is there a need for this?

    You can also save tasks in your planned list or unplanned list into either an existing routine or create a new routine. This feature i found quiet useful.

    You can also reorder the tasks by dragging the up and down. In order to do so you have to press onto the task where you see three gray vertical bars and then you will be able to move the tasks. You have to select individual task and move it. If you press anywhere else on the task it will not move.

    Do Now time management app also gives a statistics screen given which shows how many tasks you have completed and when you the completed the task.

    Conclusion

    I recommend this app for those users who want to track the time they are spending on their current tasks. and will surely help them manage their time. I have started to use this app myself and will continue to do so, as my style of work suits the use case of this application. I assign a fixed number of hours to my tasks for my daily work and have created a routine. I believe this will help me get more productive and get more out of my work.

    • Do Now Time Management App Review
      Do Now Time Management App Review

     

    December 7, 2014 • App Reviews • Views: 3959

  • App Review: Wallet Finance Management App for Android

    Introduction

    We all live lives care free without a very concern for how much money we spend on our daily items and our pet peeves.

    Then when we find out how much we have spent we panic and start to look for ways to either monitor our spending habits or start reducing on spending altogether.

    I believe that managing our finances is the way to go and to begin hoarding and not spend any money is not. An app that I have found which helps me manage my finance goes by the name of Wallet and is free to use, however the app does offer a premium version as well.

    UX, Design and Ease of Use

    The home page shows the total balance, a graph of the balance for the last 30 days and the last ten records. These help the user get an overview of the health of his finances.

    The app is easy to use and the art being used is easy on the eyes. The app uses the standard Android design layout using the Android Action Bar which further helps the Android user easily use the app.

    The menu slides from the left side of the screen as per standard UI controls provided by Android and the menu contains different features available for the user to use.

    The controls for entering the data are self explanatory, and easy to use.

    Usefulness

    This app also comes with the cloud, where after creating a free account the data entered by the user is stored in the Wallet cloud, and can be accessed from the website.

    The app provides with built in categories for which expenses( or income) can be added such as car, groceries, eating out. You can add your own categories as well and also assign an image to that category. You can also add a form of payment used to make the transaction such as Cash, Debit Card, Credit Card, Bank Transfer, etc…

    You can even add a picture of the receipt which you can take at that moment via the camera or upload from the gallery. I like this particular feature because it allows me to back up my expenses/income with proof. Date and time of the transaction can also be added.

    For basic users this app is pretty useful, in helping them manage their expenses and also their income. If you use this app for a period of time, you will be able to analyse where you are spending and where you need to cut down in order to control your finances.

    The app is not all numbers. You can see the data in graph form as well, and filter the data based on the preferences provided.

    The app also comes with different modules such as a module to manage your debts. shopping lists. and warranties. In debts you can add the debts that you people, and also those debts that people owe you. Pretty neat uh?

    In shopping lists you can build lists of what you want to purchase and you can even add the total amount spent on this list, which is then added to your expenses list. I would have liked to be able to individually add the price of each list item, so to get more control, but then i can add them in the expenses list of the app.

    The warranty module allows me to add warranties of the items that i have purchased and it tells me how much time is left after i enter in all of the details.

    Conclusion

    Looking at the usefulness and easy to use nature of the app i highly recommend this app for those users who want to start controlling and monitor their finances.  This app is just a first step. To further help you manage your finances either you can hire an accountant or a finance consultant to help you further stay on track, but then only do this if you have enough money to spend on these professionals.

    • Wallet Finance Management App for Android Review
      Wallet Finance Management App for Android Review

    December 1, 2014 • App Reviews • Views: 2918

  • App Review: SmartIO Wireless Data Transfer App

    The design of the app is minimal which makes it easy to understand and use, however there are places where i think a bit more instruction should have been given.

    The user interface can further be improved by adding more color, as at the moment the app uses grays , black and white for its theme.

    This app requires the user to have at least two devices from any of the platforms mentioned above. Do note that at the moment there is no cloud storage, so the data transfer is end to end. This is pretty useful for those users who do not want to spend quite a bit of time to wait for the data t first transfer from the device to the cloud, and then the data then download from the cloud to the other device.

    Data can be transferred via two ways,

    Local WiFi network means that an internet connection is not required and that the data is transferred using your WiFi router’s connection.

    Internet means that the data will be transferred via the company’s servers via the WiFi or device’s cellular network connection. Do note that this is available only for business users.

    This is not a free app as one has to purchase a business account to avail all of the features of the device, however there is a limited free trial use of the app.

    The app supports the following content types for data transfer:

    After i had transferred my data, i found that there is a popup which asks the user if he wants to factory reset his device. I believe if the user presses the affirmative button without reading, then he will be at a major loss. I recommend that the development team remove this popup, and instead give a proper message and ask the user to type in a certain phrase, something like what github.com does when one wants to delete his repository. The app should be designed where the user can not make mistakes so easily.

    Furthermore, finding the data transferred on to my target device was a bit of a hassle. I recommend that the app build a single folder and then have sub folders in that folder, because at the moment the folders are distributed in other folders.

    I expected that all of my pictures will be transferred, but only a few were. I also could not find any settings for the source of my data, either the source be the phone storage or the external SD card.

    Overall the app is a good one, but it does have its share of problems which the development team should immediately resolve.

    Furthermore, if you are also concerned about your data being secure in some corporation’s cloud, then i recommend this app as from what i have understood that they do not provide cloud storage (the development team has plans to introduce cloud storage in the future).

    We received the following as part of SmartiO’s  future plans

    As a rapidly emerging company, we have always focused on providing highly innovative and advanced solutions to our privileged customers around the world. We are planning to roll out latest version of SmartiO product termed as SmartiO-T.Lille SmartiO, it is also a cross platform mobile application solution that easily integrates with retails POS and E-Commerce shopping carts. It is powered by Aomata’s Connectix™ communication platform utilizing WI-Fi, Hotspots or Cellular data connections to transmit large amount of information efficiently.

    • App Review: SmartIO Wireless Data Transfer App
      App Review: SmartIO Wireless Data Transfer App

    November 26, 2014 • App Reviews, Technology • Views: 5022

  • Fire Side Chat with Badar Khusnood of Google Pakistan

    On Wednesday 19th November 2014 I attended a fire side chat with Badar Khusnood Pakistan Country Consultant Google, organized by Startup Grind Lahore which is powered by Google for Entrepreneurs. The host for the evening was Zohaib Khan Director of Startup Grind.

    Many things were discussed, where questions were answered from various topics such as incubators, accelerators, how a non-techie can play his role in a startup.

    Following is the round up of the things discussed:

    What Badar’s role is at Google Pakistan, and how he started his careers. He explained he graduated in Economics form Lahore School of Economics, and joined Nishat Textile. Then he moved to work for Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority. He then further told us what he does at Google. He is involved in conducting market research and also helping Google understand the Pakistani market. He was also instrumental in the role of Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt visiting Pakistan in 2012, and also the visit of Nelson Mattos, VP Emerging Markets Google.  Badar is also part of a Google Scouts program in which was started in 2005 by Google to scout for emerging markets in the world.

    The issue of youtube being banned in Pakistan and what it would take it to be un-banned. The main reason that he gave was that in countries such the offensive video which caused a hue cry has been banned in many countries, but the problem in Pakistan is that in order to do so youtube would have to be established in Pakistan with a domain of youtube.com.pk or youtube.pk and in order to do that legislations and laws are required to be in place for such a thing, but unfortunately in Pakistan we lack this. Google can not implement the ban just for Pakistan on youtube.com website as it comes under US laws, ad jurisdiction, while the .com.pk or the .pk version will come under Pakistan’s laws and jurisdictions.

    Differences between incubators, and accelerators were also discussed where the audience also posed their questions which were answered by Badar. Basically incubators are supposed to build a proof of concept of an idea, and the idea is validated at this stage. Accelerators come at the stage when the startups are to further grow and build their products and ideas.

    The models to generate funds for the company which companies follow, and he listed the following as the ones which a startup can adopt:

    • bootstrap your startup, that is spend your savings on your startup
    • ask your family and friends to give you the money
    • find an angel investor to invest in your startup
    • offer your time for money become a services based company doing freelance work for clients and then use the money earned to support your products
    • find venture capitals to invest in your company

    Google’s interests in Pakistan and also how Google has helped Pakistan in times of need were also discussed. We were told that USD $1 million were distributed to non-profit companies who were working to help ease the effects of the 2010 floods in Pakistan.

    Furthermore, it was emphasized that an entrepreneur should be a jack of all trades, and that he should acquire skills in the fields which require building, running and growing a business. Such fields include, technical (IT), marketing, accounting, sales, and administration. It is good to hire some one for that particular post, but if you are starting out, you should learn as much as you can.

    Networking is also very important, as entrepreneurship can not be done alone. Meet new people and find a common connection with that person whom you want to meet. The only way to do that is to get out of the building and to talk to people, attend events.

    After the talk I met with entrepreneurs from different companies, and shared ideas and discussed strategies with them.

    Overall the talk and the networking activity that followed was quite engaging and inspirational and i recommend that entrepreneurs who are starting out attend such events so that they too can learn and network with other entrepreneurs.

    The pictures below have been shared with permission from Startup Grind Lahore.

    The pictures were taken by ShutterWorks Photography.

    Updates: The date of the event was corrected. The actual date was Wednesday 20th November 2014.

    The source for the pictures was added.

    • Fire side chat with badar khushnood
      Fire side chat with badar khushnood

    November 25, 2014 • Entrepreneurship, Pakistan, Technology • Views: 3711

  • App Review: Sticher Radio for Podcasts Android App

    Sticher has been designed well, but it might be a bit too much for a beginner user of Android devices. The app does need a little bit of exploration to be done in order to find out what the features of the app are.

    Sticher is essentially an on demand podcast service, where you can download the podcast that you want to when ever you want to. You can also add podcasts to listen later list after which the selected podcast will be downloaded to your device. This functionality is quite useful for those listeners who are in a hurry to reach their destination, but want to listen to podcasts on the way. Users can also add stations (a station is the source of podcasts where the podcast author publishes his podcasts) to the read later list, which will download podcasts from those stations as well.

    You can call Sticher is to podcasts as RSS readers are to websites and blogs. Sticher also provides with searching functionality where you can search for your favorite topics, stations, or podcast authors, etc…

    Sticher provides a number of different settings which allows you to personalize your experience. You can even set what to show on the start screen.

    You can also create multiple play lists into which you can add your favorite stations. Maybe you want to create playlist which will just contains technology related stations, while another playlist contains business related stations.

    I highly recommend Sticher for podcast enthusiasts, as this app truly brings a great collection of stations and podcasts. I surely continue to use it in the future to listen to podcasts.

    • Sticher Podcast Reader Android App
      Sticher Podcast Reader Android App

    November 11, 2014 • App Reviews, Technology • Views: 4569

  • App Review: CamCard Business Card Android App

    Introduction

    When you meet people it is quite often that you share business cards, and keeping them in one place has been a problem which many have. The non-digital way of storing business cards is to get a card book in which you keep all your cards, but then who can carry one hefty book for all of those business cards?
    Now we live in the digital world, and it does not make sense to solve problems non-digitally in a digital world, and even better be able to store a large number of cards without much of a problem. One app that i have started to use is CamCard Business Card Reader for Android and it has allowed me to store my business cards safely.

    UX, Design and Ease of Use

    The app’s design is simple and professional. The home screen shows the list of cards added and the user can sort them by either one of the following ways:
    • Sort by Name
    • Sort by Create Date
    • Sort by Company Name
    The main features are laid out at the bottom of the screen in the form of tabs. The user interface and user experience has been designed well, and is quite easy to use for the beginner. Everything has been laid out perfectly well.

    Usefulness

    As stated above storing business cards is a problem than many face. There are low-tech non digital ways to do so, but then as the number of cards increase the storage book(in most cases) increases in size and causes managing it to become quite difficult.
    CamCard also comes with a cloud where your cards are stored, and synced with the Android app so that your cards are safe.
    You can also download the cards to an excel file from the website. I have explored the website and the app, but i can have not yet found any information about the number of cards that can be stored in the free account.
    The app scans the business cards by using the device’s camera and extracts the information on the card. The quality of the extraction is quite good and perfectly extracts the information correctly, despite the format of the card being scanned.
    After scanning the app displays input fields which the user can fill in himself and change the data if needed.
    The user can also scan his own card, and save the details. There is also a feature which allows you to exchange cards with other users of CamCard.  By using this app, we don’t need to keep any business card in our wallets or card books.
    You can exchange cards via the following three options:
    • Card Reader which auto finds people nearby
    • Scan QR Code allows you to scan your friend’s QR code or your friend scan your QR code to get the business card
    • Private Group in which you can create a group or join a group
    There are also a number of different ways to create a business card. You can create them by either of the following ways:
    • Import Phone Contacts
    • Load Card Image
    • Email Signature
    • Create Card Manually

    Conclusion

    I have found this app quite useful, but the card exchange feature is as good as the other guy is using it. Until people in your community use the app, the app will just be good for storing of business cards, which is good in itself. I recommend this app to everyone, so that we all can stop carrying business cards and use CamCard to exchange and build cards.
    • CamCard Business Card Reader Review
      CamCard Business Card Reader Review

    November 1, 2014 • App Reviews, Technology • Views: 4501

  • Networking for Entrepreneurs

    Entrepreneurship according to me is an act of taking risk in order to solve a problem.
    Entrepreneurship is inherently a community based activity. If you take out the community then for whom will you be solving the problem?
     
    However, in order to know what the community wants you will need to get out of the building. According to Steve Blank, an experienced entrepreneur, he says that we should get out of the building. We should talk to the people, we should meet our customers. We will need to do networking.
     
    Networking is an act in which you meet new people, and make connections. Then you can use these connections to further help build an environment for entrepreneurship.
     
    In countries like Pakistan, there are communities, but there are no extensive entrepreneurial communities where groups of entrepreneurs come and work together as they do in the silicon valley, however do not be despair small groups of entrepreneurs have sprouted up in the city of Lahore.
     
    I will give example of Lahore, Pakistan as i live here. The government run Plan 9, is doing its part to encourage and support entrepreneurship, through a number of different programs such as the Plan 9 Incubator, Plan 9 Accelerator, and the recently launched Plan 9 Tech Hub where freelancers can come, work and network.
     
    LUMS (Lahore University of Management Sciences) Center of Entrepreneurship is also doing its part through its accelerator program.
     
    There are other initiatives as well such as the invest to innovate, a privately run accelerator program.
     
    Entrepreneurs can also find events going on in their neighborhood, or locality by searching on facebook, twitter, or any other events management software/website.
     
    I also suggest that entrepreneurs seek out events which they can attend and showcase their work so that they can introduce them selves to experienced entrepreneurs, investors and then get their guidance or help. This is extremely important in order to grow the entrepreneurship scene in your locality/area.
     
    As more and more entrepreneurs will help each other out, entrepreneurship won’t be that scary any more since there will be some help for first time entrepreneurs. I also encourage experienced entrepreneurs to guide and mentor new mentors and to help develop the ecosystem in which we all live and survive.
     
    I am happy to say that in Lahore, that this trend has started to happen as experienced entrepreneurs are coming out and helping young entrepreneurs like me and offering guidance. This is truly the start of something wonderful.
     

     

    October 26, 2014 • Entrepreneurship • Views: 4149