On August 20th and 21st, 32 future management consultants from top Business Schools in India participated in a ZENeSYS Boot Camp. The objective of the boot camp was to learn ZENeSYS Competitive Landscape Methodology and write the best analysis for CoolChip Technologies.
Winner of MIT clean energy award and recipient of a DARPA grant, CoolChip Technologies has perfected its patented technology for rapid heat removal from high performance computer chips. They are now ready for its next level of growth.
The participants in the Boot Camp were tasked with using the ZENeSYS Competitive Landscape Analysis (CLA) methodology to provide an unbiased assessment of CoolChip’s product features as compared to its competitors. Three teams from Boot Camp submitted their analysis in the final round which prompted the following response from William Sanchez CEO of CoolChip Technologies.
“We had the opportunity to benefit from their novel methodology for competitive landscaping. The ZENeSYS analysis will be very useful for CoolChip’s next stage of growth as we seek our next round of financing. In-depth understanding of the competitive landscape is curial for positioning our company. The ZENeSYS systematic framework provides a clear, concise mulch-dimensional presentation of the competitive landscape. The tool is a priceless piece of machinery for processing unwieldy amounts of information. The rapid report generation and high standard of quality make the market intelligence very valuable and a resource CoolChip will continue to use as we explore new market verticals and require comprehensive analysis on incumbents and new entrants.”
About ZENeSYS Competitive Landscape Analysis (CLA): A methodology that has been perfected over two years to get the most up-to-date snapshot of market conditions as it relates to a client’s specific product or service. The methodology uses a framework based on competitor goals and customer’s preferences to synthesize news, blogs, forums, white papers, patents, press releases, testimonials, product literature, industry reports, books, and journals to identify best practices and opportunity areas. Startups develop insights for growth and investors get an unbiased assessment of investment risk.
In a first of its series, ZENeSYS is launching a management consulting training boot camp and a competition to go along with it. CoolChip Technologies, the MIT startup and winner of MIT Clean Energy award is the client sponsor.
The training is directed at young aspiring management consulting professionals in India who are already at business schools or are looking to make the transition. In a week long run up to the first day at the boot camp, participants will learn consulting tools and methodologies available to them online at our website.
On day one of the boot camp, the participants will hit the ground running with a reference market entry case and guidance from instructors at ZENeSYS. On day two, they will develop a market strategy for CoolChip Technologies using our Competitive Landscape Analysis methodology, a powerful and proven technique for quick analysis of opportunities and threats for new products.
The CEO of CoolChip Technologies, Mr. William Sanchez will be present in the Boot Camp to interact with the six teams over Skype Video to answer questions and judge the winning team. The boot camp will be held in New Delhi on August 20th and 21st. Participants from leading Business Schools such as Delhi University, FMS, IIT-DMS, SJMSOM and IIM-R are registered to participate.
“I am truly exited about this boot camp and am looking forward to the creative ideas that will emerge from the entries” said William Sanchez last week at MIT when I met him.
If your firm has an interesting product or service for the emerging markets and would like to be considered for the next Boot Camp, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are in need of custom market research, competitive analysis, or data analytics, here are your options:
- ZENeSYS – A virtual, scalable network of certified management consulting resources
- Guru/Elance – A host of other portals for engaging freelance consultants
- Big Firms – The big name firms like Gartner, IDC, Yankee, Forrester, & Big 4
- Client – You could do it yourself
So how do we stack up?
While we are relatively unknown, our unique model of using a network of our own certified consultants has two powerful advantages:
- Virtual Consultants meaning lower cost, faster engagements, diverse expertise
- Assurance of quality from ZENeSYS core team
Our consulting certification process is a result of developing unique course ware and assessment methodology for over three years. The result – all our past clients are willing to act as our references.
I love to speculate what the future will bring when this long recession is finally over. I do subscribe to the popular belief that there will be a new normal. Small business will rule. At the same time the big guys will go on an acquisition spree to play catch-up. Here are seven tips for startups planning to get acquired as their exit planning.
- Qualified and Passionate: The founders and leadership team should have a background that indicates not just capability but the ability to sustain ups and down.The casual and the un-passionate will not be able to face the “startup demons”.
- Be aware of the competition: Earth calling. Are we the only intelligent life on this universe? Others may be light years ahead. Either change course or do something to leap frog.
- Prove the model: Get paying customers and show that the business model works and is sustainable. This seems to be a standard litmus test for any potential investor or acquirer.
- Build Credibility: Have referencible customers and link up with well recognized partners. This is one part of assessing barrier to new entrants.
- Get Noticed: Build a good online presence through a well laid out website and a social media marketing plan. When acquires come window shopping, they need to see an audit trail.
- Hit the milestones: Show a steady progress on your accomplishments. This is the second factor for building a barrier to new entrants. New entrants need to play catch up.
- Prove your uniqueness: Patents may not fully protect the IP but it gives instant credibility and gives investors a sense of assurance that a startup in on to something unique. The third barrier to entry factor.
Buyout PE funds are at an all time high since year 2005. Despite this, the amount of “dry powder” or unallocated committed capital in the buyout funds is above 50% for the last three years according to AARMCORP who track and benchmark PE funds . Too much money chasing not-so-plenty a deals.
Furthermore, a peer set comparison of buyout funds shows that funds under 500M in assets who are investing in Technology and Communications buyouts have reported less than 10% IRR in the last three years. Despite these two negative indicators, there is unabated interest in technology buyout funds due to the promise of high returns in a relatively short term.
The good news is that it can still happen. Provided, there is a capable management team with the right connections, a smart deal identification mechanism, a creative makeover process, and secured exit planning. Enter Michael Connolly and David Silver of Atlas Digital Media Opportunity Fund who have what it takes to take on the challenge in delivering the heady 40% IRR limited partners expect.
Their highly successful deals EldercareLink, BuyerZone, Big City Doctors, Med Trak Alert and Atehena East, has given them a rich ecosystem of deal selection expertise. They have already identified two Internet properties with interested buyers as suitable target firms. Zane Tarrence, an adviser to the Fund, maintains a large database of potential buyers and together with the Managing Partners who have relationships with both strategic and financial buyers; for example, QuinStreet, Internet Brands, The Health Central Network, and BankRate among many others. In all cases their criteria is to seek out fragmented private companies at a discount to their multiple much higher than what other private or financial buyers would pay.
Unlike other funds, Atlas Digital will examine potential investments with an emphasis on who the potential buyers of the portfolio company will likely be prior to the Fund acquiring a controlling interest so there is no delays in cashing out in a timely manner. The partners management consulting backgrounds has been instrumental in creating valuable “reusable know-how” from re-restructuring Internet property deals such as ElderCare Link and Big City Doctors.
Applying tried and tested methodologies to fix Internet properties gives them an edge over others who are failing to derive efficiencies in their asset management operations. This is a significant edge for Atlas over other funds of similar size. Not only are they able to make more deals but they can also manage them with a lower operating cost.
There are hundreds of Internet businesses with a value just below the transaction size threshold of what strategic buyers are looking to buy, leaving an opportunity for Atlas Digital to identify, acquire, restructure and exit by leveraging their connections, methodologies and pre-appointed exit deals. Email email@example.com for more information.
Both, Atlas Digital Partners and AARMCORP are past clients of ZENeSYS.
Since the 1990′s has created an image of “Outsourcing Nation” in the eyes of the West. This notion has blinkered the opportunity India presents itself as a consumer. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) rose from $10B in 2005 to $40B to 2009. In year 2008 export from USA to India jumped 85% in just one year alone according to US Commerce Department.
Recent High Growth Sectors in India:
- Infrastructure: Real Estate, Automotive, Transportation, Nuclear and Alternative Energy
- Technology: IT product development, Business Process Outsourcing and Software Development
- Healthcare: Hospitals, Medical Insurance, and Biotechnology
- Education: Vocational Training, Schools, Universities, and Business Schools
- Retail: Organized Retail
- Food & Beverage: Packaged food and Alcohol
Some investment vehicles to consider are joint ventures or direct investment (several sectors are open for 100% ownership by foreign corporations. Franchising is taking on like wildfire with coffee chains, retail stores, hospitals, schools, white goods, eye wear, fashion accessories, garments, and fast food.
Entrepreneurship in the technology sector has proved to be a lucrative hunting ground for Private Equity investors. Several PE funds have been setup in the last three years looking for venture and buyout investments in technology, healthcare and biotechnology startups .
CARMa a social enterprise in India who are creating opportunities for the needy in rural India has entered a race to raise $8,000 to win an accelerator program at The Unreasonable Marketplace. CARMa has made it into a shortlist of 45 who are in a race to convince that the crowds they have it in them to do what it takes to realize their vision. If the entrepreneurs can raise the target amount, Unreasonable Marketplace will put them in touch with well known venture firms such as The Acumen Fund and put them in contact with other sponsors for high growth potential. Supporters will need to put their money where their mouse is. Another great example of tapping the power of crowds and this time, for funding, credibility and an expression of our sentiment.
Here is a Startup conundrum. “If startups knew today what they will find out five years later, they would reach profitability sooner”. If we plot a curve for two key indicators – operational cost factor (OCF) and clarity of vision (COV), it would look like this.
At inception, the operational cost factor is high. Startups could be spending money on wrong things as the clarity of vision is poor. As clarity of vision improves slowly – mostly by trial and error, they become more efficient and cost of operations start to go down.
What can be done to improve this? The answer is simple. Study the market, take an objective view and make the necessary changes. This rarely happens because founders have a hard time justifying the money for market researchers and strategic advisers.
Are there are any recent founders out there listening, let us know what we need to do to convince you!
Do you have a market research question that you need answered?
Sponsor a consulting skills contest on our network of 600+ eager consulting fans from leading B-Schools and young professionals. The competition objective is to test the ability to use the tools and methods that is being taught at ZENeSYS. Expect around 20 to 25 contestants enter the competition. We will shortlist the 3 best entries and send it to the sponsor.
You the sponsor, decide the winner and enjoy the insights!
How to sponsor the competition
- In one sentence tell us what you are trying to accomplish.
- It needs to be a well defined goal or objective e.g. you are a manufacturing firm looking to setup a new unit in a different country.
- Name 3 to 5 competitors in your industry
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or see our website to see who we are
What to expect in the report
- A 25 to 30 page powerpoint report
- A set of best practice ideas for accomplishing the goal
- A set of opportunities and risks involved
How the Competition is Administered
- The assignment will be thrown open to more than 600 eager and motivated candidates.
- Approximately 20 to 30 candidates take up the challenge and work on the assignment.
- Out of the submissions, ZENeSYS will shortlist the three best submissions and send it to the sponsor
- Declare the winner (the best amongst the three)
- Sponsors keep all three reports
Cost of Sponsoring
- $ 500
Time to complete competition
- 4 weeks
- Sponsoring organizations can choose to remain anonymous