After hosting three live roundtables and being on stage for six to seven hours a day last month during

my trip to Pune

, I almost lost my voice. At the final roundtable, we worked with just two entrepreneurs and then spent the rest of the time on Q&A, which in itself was interesting.

First up, Satya Choppadhandi from Bangalore, India, presented Evolutech Networks, a company that manufactures wireless energy monitoring devices for the smart home. Satya is evaluating various go-to-market models such as franchising, and I advised him to focus on direct selling to major builders and working with industry value-added resellers (VARs) that already operate in the smart home segment in India. These resellers buy devices from the U.S. and Singapore at significantly higher prices and presumably would be open to sourcing lower-cost parts.

The smart home business is still in the very early stages in India, and it will take some time before Evolutech ramps up. Meanwhile, financing the company will be quite challenging, and I advised Satya to manufacture parts based only on signed contracts and advances against orders, to avoid getting into an inventory-rich, working capital-poor situation.


Next, Douglas Villalobos from Costa Rica pitched GeoInvenio, a mobile application development platform. Douglas has identified about 50 software companies in Costa Rica that may be willing to develop apps on top of the GeoInvenio platform. I advised him to get into deeper conversations with these 50 companies and get a better feel for what applications they would build and how they want to pay for the platform: license, subscription, or transaction fee. In addition, I asked him to do a competitive analysis on the pricing models of the various mobile app platforms and come back to me with both sets of market data, namely, customer research and competitive analysis. We can derive GeoInvenio’s business model and pricing model based on that.

You can select the business you like best through a poll on the 1M/1M Facebook page.

In the Q&A, Bill Gordon introduced himself as one of the principals of the Stamford Innovation Center, an incubator being formed in Connecticut. Bill has been following the 1M/1M project and would like to connect his partners to our team. This is an interesting trend we’re seeing as we connect with incubators around the world. We are successfully establishing partnerships with various incubators whereby 1M/1M is being viewed as a supplementary resource to the efforts of these organizations. As you know, we have already announced two partnerships with MAD Incubator in Malaysia and the IAN Incubator in India, and have several other such relationships in the pilot stage.

There are 7,000 incubators in the world, and our vision is to work with as many of these incubators as possible in a supplemental mode, whereby we plug in our Silicon Valley-based methodology and network, curriculum (video lectures and case studies), business development services, and investor connections to enhance significantly the portfolio of offerings from local and regional incubators in various countries. Clearly, efforts to establish technology business incubators are in high gear around the world, and our 100% virtual offering can be a great complement to the brick-and-mortar incubators that are providing on-the-ground support for entrepreneurship development.

The recording of this roundtable can be found here. Recordings of previous online roundtables are all available here. You can register for upcoming roundtables here.

Sramana Mitra is the founder of the One Million by One Million (1M/1M) initiative, an educational, business development and incubation program that aims to help one million entrepreneurs globally to reach $1 million in revenue and beyond. She is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and strategy consultant, she writes the blog Sramana Mitra On Strategy, and is author of the Entrepreneur Journeys book series and Vision India 2020. From 2008 to 2010, Mitra was a columnist for Forbes. As an entrepreneur CEO, she ran three companies: DAIS, Intarka, and Uuma. She has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.