It was a stark contrast sitting in CIIE for the second workshop of the Last Mile Accelerator. I remember a month and a half back; the whole team and the 12 cohort companies were sitting at CIBA, in Goa, overlooking a deserted school campus amidst palm trees and the azure ocean kissing the evening sun in the distance.
But this was World Cup month, so there was some solace and light at the end of a rather sultry Ahmedabad tunnel. Admittedly, the colour, pomp and football festivities leading up to the workshop were at times arduous for maintaining one’s sleep cycle.
Between the July 11 and 14, entrepreneurs were walked through multifarious sessions spanning financial modelling, pitching and hypothesis testing. Alongside this, one-on-one sessions with industry experts and speaker presentations completed the core components of the four-day programme.
As a precursor, Shashank Rastogi (Director of Operations, CIIE) held an optional late-night session on ‘Financial Basics’ for CIIE staff, along with a handful of entrepreneurs who had made it to Ahmedabad that evening.
Ross Baird (Executive Director, Village Capital) officially kicked off the workshop on the afternoon of the 11th, with conversations primarily focused on progress to-date along with financial model deep-dives with CIIE senior staff.
On Day Two, Bryan Cayce (Vice President, Grey Ghost Ventures) led a simulated Venture Capitalist meeting, where entrepreneurs presented their business and financial models to him and the rest of the cohort for an expeditious 10 minutes. Later on, Balaji Chakravarthi (founder, ScoVelo) helped entrepreneurs refine their pitches prior to the evening’s stakeholder forum, where approximately 40 stakeholders from diverse sectors were present to engage with the companies. This provided a platform for entrepreneurs to interact with prospective customers and additionally broaden their own networks.
World-Cup Final Sunday was nothing short of exciting, individuals from the Shell Foundation, Unitus Seed Fund, ScoVelo, Khosla Venture Fund and Sattva were present to help entrepreneurs concentrate on pitching, financial modelling and overcoming funding challenges. Later in the day, Srikrishna Murthy (CEO of Sattva) shared his journey as an entrepreneur and discoursed at some length on probable solutions for HR and recruitment related challenges faced by entrepreneurs.
A peer assessment closed the workshop on the fourth day, with a floor plan being drawn for the third and final workshop. Things are slowly shaping up and we are all thoroughly looking forward to the third week of August for the final leg of the last mile.
—Harshad Sambamurthy, Relationship Manager, CIIE