(Pic – Proto.in session in Chennai, India)
Few days back I came across this particular group (in India) – Proto.in (www.proto.in) – which provides a platform for interaction between innovators and investors. Google takes them serious enough to be one of their major sponsors. What the group does is play a sort of match-maker between a small company and a prospective investor. Say if you are a startup which is short on monies but has a demonstrable ‘prototype’ capable of hitting pay dirt, then Proto.in is exactly what the doctor ordered.
In the words of Proto – Proto.in is about giving entrepreneurs a platform to express their visions and showcase their imagination, with a working prototype, for the world to see.
The concept works like an other fund raiser where the contenders gets to showcase its product or idea in something like six minutes and, watch out for this, the use of Power Point Presentation is actually discouraged. If you have a prototype, you better show that and not just some fancy diagrams.
The idea behind six minutes presentation is the famous elevator example where in junior would pitch the idea to his boss (at MkKinsey, so I heard) in an elevator and the boss would give his verdict when the elevator stopped. According to the management gurus, if you can’t sell the idea within this much time, then the idea is not worth it. Take that.
Proto.in is about a year old and has acquired some decent street cred since its inception. Transforming itself into a sort of rendezvous point between startups and VCs for not only funding purposes but potential acquisitions as well.
What I like about the whole idea, the game plan, is that it provides an ecosystem for small companies rich on ideas to exhibit their talent and get all kinds of assistance be it capital, or talent, or even strategic guidance from established players in the industry which otherwise would be quite hard to come by if not totally impossible to get.
My gut feeling is Proto.in engagements would become signature events in the years to come as more and more India companies gear up for fresh challenges and interesting innovations.