more VC talks

Life is funny and people are restless.

Bankers want to become consultants because they are fed up of long hours. Consultants want to become bankers because they are tired of traveling. But who cares about them, not this blog’s readers anyways, no? But then, kick a** VCs are becoming entrepreneurs now and of course the vintage entrepreneurs keep turning to the dark side all the time. I guess geniuses have an itch to keep surpassing themselves and also that until you have seen both the sides of this equation, you feel incomplete.

Rants aside, I am thoroughly enjoying my InSITE affiliation and real exposure to investment pitches for the first time.I am part of a 5 students team from Columbia and NYU that is working with a startup called that will be pitching for Seed Round in few weeks. Over this 4-5 weeks long engagement, I am myself learning the dynamics of this ecosystem and how to effectively present one’s idea. Apart from this regular engagement with one startup per semester, InSITE hosts some invaluable sessions for us and one such event was the mock term sheet negotiation. My most important takeaway was getting a sense of what makes for a fruitful startup-investor relation and some of the points made it clear to me why some VCs are so loved by their startups.

Further, I’ve attended some dazzling VC events this week in NYC:

  1. A talk by Mark Suster at CBS – I would highly recommend his blog ‘Both Sides of the Table‘ to anyone seriously interested in this domain. In person, he was a 1000 times more phenomenal than his already phenomenal blog, so you can imagine what a talk it was.
  2. A girls in tech event featuring VCs from Union Square Ventures, Time Warner Investments, Starvest Partners and Golden Seeds.
  3. I missed Steve Blank‘s talk at Columbia and heard it was great, will catch up the video soon.

I am reading Mastering the VC game these days and attending the author Jeff Bussgang’s talk on Monday. There are crazy amount of events going on and although I am loving each one of these, I think I’ll need a goooood Thanksgiving break to unwind myself – already looking fwd to the Puerto Rico trip!

Focus and take a shot

, originally uploaded by GaryTumilty.

Tasting sangria – check
Partying with a friend who just left a deadpan job – check
Hear Dennis Crowley speak about Foursquare once again – double check
Getting to talk to him – negative due to a badly timed frickin’ midterm (which I was, by that time, in half mind, to skip but the remains of once-a-good-student tag pulled me back)
And yeah, first MBA mid term – check

Three weeks gone and I think I’ve made a decent start towards my original goals. I got both (and also the only) club positions I applied for. I got into IMI with Time Warner, which more than the learning, is a way to experience how big Media conglomerate function from inside. But, coming from Citi, the big offices and sexy conference rooms and views don’t attract me on their own anymore. What my take away from this program would be is to see what direction these companies are taking to tackle technical challenges and how has increased role of technology redefined their strategy. NYU applicants interested in career switching should check this program out.

But most excitingly, I got into InSITE Fellowship program – which is the best and most hands-on way to get involved in the startup-VC ecosystem in New York. Continue reading Focus and take a shot

MBA for entrepreneurs

I can’t fix everything, originally uploaded by Street_Spirit.

I thought now is a good time to wish luck to all 2011 MBA applicants as well as fellow MBA students since our official Fall session starts this Monday. Let me not blow it out of proportion but I am quite excited to be a student again especially an MBA student for I see lot of action lying ahead rather than just theory and exams. I am also excited because I think I’ve laid a good groundwork of what I want to achieve professionally and hopefully it will result in a more holistic experience at school. In past one year, my interest in entrepreneurship has increased leaps and bounds. To this effect, I planted seeds for 2-3 ventures in India in my last month’s trip to India. I will admit that the consequent thought of postponing my MBA plans did cross my mind fleetingly but after some deliberation, I find the pros of MBA outweigh it’s significant monetary and time investments. So, I am dedicating next 2 years to school and focusing on my ventures. I am hoping these dichotomous roles will inherently complement and feed each other.

Some quick words about my so-called venturing experience:

Continue reading MBA for entrepreneurs

Startup 2010

I am all excited to be volunteering for Startup 2010 on May 20 in NYC. The lineup of this one day conference cum business plan competition is just phenomenal.

So join us on May 20 at the NYU Stern School Auditorium, in NYC.  We’ll start the day with an interview with Dennis Crowley, CEO of Foursquare, the hottest company in the universe right now.  And later we’ll be joined by Bob Bowman of Major League Baseball, Justin Shaffer of Hot Potato, Eric Litman of Medialets, and other titans of the emerging mobile world.

Another name to capture my attention was Scott Galloway, NYU Professor and an entrepreneur. I am sure all MBA applicants and students are familiar with this Internet popular email exchange story but for those who aren’t, read it here. I think Galloway’s response was pretty awesome to say the least. No wonder immediately after this campus sensation of a story, Stern students were sporting t-shirts with Galloway’s beloved phrase – get your shit together.

xxxx, let me be more serious for a moment. I do not know you, will not know you and have no real affinity or animosity for you. You are an anonymous student who is now regretting the send button on his laptop. It’s with this context I hope you register pause…REAL pause xxxx and take to heart what I am about to tell you:

xxxx, get your shit together.

Getting a good job, working long hours, keeping your skills relevant, navigating the politics of an organization, finding a live/work balance…these are all really hard, xxxx. In contrast, respecting institutions, having manners, demonstrating a level of humility…these are all (relatively) easy. Get the easy stuff right xxxx. In and of themselves they will not make you successful. However, not possessing them will hold you back and you will not achieve your potential which, by virtue of you being admitted to Stern, you must have in spades. It’s not too late xxxx…

Again, thanks for the feedback.

Professor Galloway

So, anyways I am looking forward to this joint effort on Mobile Revolution by Silicon Alley Insider and NYU Stern. But more than anything, I want to see the participants and their investment pitches in this business plan competition. I hope the weather turns warmer by then, for God’s sake its May!

MBA Media and Entertainment Conference


Feb 26th, the scheduled date for MBA MEC 2010, happened to be another snow storm day for NYC. But because it was NYC and the panelists could just take a cab or subway, the conference was not canceled – big kudos. The MEC is one of the most prestigious events for Media fraternity and attracts elite industry names and MBA students from around. I found students from New York, Boston, Philly, Duke and even Arizona. Such conferences are a good way of sampling the industry’s best and relevant topics. Some of the things that lingered on in my memory-

  1. I happened to attend back to back entrepreneurs and VC panels. It’s a delicious contrast as to how entrepreneurs are all about energy and creativity – marketing for them is just a gimmick to convince investors. VCs, on other hand, boast about recognizing the potential diamonds blah blah. It is a fun ecosystem where they supplement each other. Another awesome thing about these – they are fun, energetic young people. I commented, “what is it about this industry that people look younger than they are.” Someone said, “because they left Investment Banking behind.”
  2. Dan Rosensweig (Guitar Hero & Chegg) commented, “I come from a time when music was paid and water was free”.
  3. Most impressive was Amish Jani (FirstMark Capital). He said students come to me and say I am passionate about VC and want to join your company. I ask them how Google generates its revenue and they blank out. Is that passion?
  4. Emil Rensing (Epix) was one of those kicksmart witty panelist. But he slipped out a comment, “I don’t have children, I don’t like children”. The lady moderator from McKinsey glanced at him coldly. Emil tried to make amends “I guess that was a bad joke”. Sorry, too late. Lesson: be smart but not an a**.
  5. A current student told me most of the students here are over-achievers and it can work against them more often than you think. So, do what you want and dont ask who did what. Best and most frank opinion I could expect.