Investor Talks: “Take suggestions and advice positively and keep modifying your pitch deck”, Dr. Vivek Mendonsa

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In the startup ecosystem, investing is more than just putting some skin in the game. Investing in a startup means devoting time and effort for the startup to grow. Investors and mentors play a very vital role in the growth of a startup and similar are the views of Dr. Vivek Mendonsa, Group Marketing Director at LYNX -Lawrence & Mayo.

Dr. Vivek Mendonsa has been a part of Lawrence and Mayo for more than two decades and is also referred to as a marketing wizard. Apart from his exceptional marketing skills, Dr. Vivek Mendonsa has a keen interest in motivating, mentoring, and guiding startups.

In Sociobits’ Investor Series, Dr. Vivek Mendonsa shares what it is like to be an investor and a few guidelines that every startup should consider before they look for funding.

  • What do you think is the future of the startup culture globally?

As there are problems in the world and in the dynamic world of the 21st Century, new problems will also emerge. But there are also many entrepreneurs so, these problems will always be attempted to be solved. Hence inventors, innovations, and startups will always grow and flourish.

  • Do you think that we should give a boost to the startup ecosystem?
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It’s true, that ecosystem must support startups, inventors, and innovators by financing, mentoring, and giving time to listen to their big idea.

  • How important is the role of mentors when it comes to guiding budding entrepreneurs?

If I have achieved anything in life, it is due to my 17 mentors, both in my personal life and my professional career. We have to go several times a month and take guidance, and advice from our mentors. We must have several mentors who are Subject Matter Experts or Technical Experts.

Chartered Accountants, Company Secretaries, MBA Finance, and Legal luminaries belong to the category of ‘must have’ Mentors and Professional advisors.

Have a variety of mentors. The best example to take is a sportsperson; Many people don’t know that a sportsperson has up to 5 coaches:

a) For their game – video recording, playing back

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b) To wake them up consistently and get them on the field for practice.

c) Dietician and Nutritionist that will work out detailed food consumption and timing plan

d) Physical workouts

e) Mental game on how to beat your opponent and make your mind strong.

  • If you would like to give one piece of advice to all the budding entrepreneurs who are looking to raise funds, what would that be?

Startups should first share their idea with family and friends and get bootstrapping funds, create a proof of concept, then move to an angel network, there are several networks available across the country.

Networking and knowing what is happening in the ‘raising of capital ecosystem’ is another important part that startups shouldn’t miss out on. Don’t get disheartened, you and the founding team may need to present your pitch deck up to 600 times.

I have been a part of the Lead Angels Board for one year and have seen many startups present their ideas, the venue used to be NSE Board Room / Conference Room.

Networking and knowing what is happening in the ‘raising of capital ecosystem’ is another important part that startups shouldn’t miss out on. Don’t get disheartened, you and the founding team may need to present your pitch deck up to 600 times.

Take suggestions and advice positively, never personal, and keep modifying and editing the pitch deck.

  • What have you learnt in your journey as an investor?

I have invested in a few friends and mainly shared my contact sphere and business sense. Once you start investing, remember that you must be a pillar of support and strength and You cannot withdraw. You need to be brutally honest and sometimes if the entrepreneur is obsessed with his/her idea, it can have a negative impact.

Many entrepreneurs are in love with ideas, products, services, and events and don’t want to take a ‘rational approach’.

Try the acid test of success first. In the acid test of success, if 10 people who are NOT  known (to you), not friends and family buy your product, you will be successful.

  • How did you get into the investing or funding space?

It is because of the curiosity to bet on a new idea and support the entrepreneurship ecosystem. Due to my corporate career and paucity of time, I would like to see someone else’s dreams come true with my support.

  • What is it like to be an investor?

Being brutally honest, candid, practical, and knowing if this is a local idea whether the idea is national or international.

  • What is the common mistake that businesses make while pitching to investors?

Most entrepreneurs are in a tearing hurry, they think there is a paucity of time always. In fact, always ask how much time is allocated and then start presenting.

I got into the investing Spacing because of the curiosity to bet on a new idea and support the entrepreneurship ecosystem.

-Dr. Vivek Mendonsa

Your presentation could be an Elevator pitch, which is between 30 – 45 seconds up to 3 minutes. It could be a 10-minute presentation or a 30-minute presentation or a 2 hours presentation, including financials and take home.

  • How do you spot a good founder?

I look for three specific qualities in a good founder. Sincerity, passion, and being a long-distance runner who won’t jump off the horse.

  • What are some of the red flags that you have faced in your investing journey?

Look out for entrepreneurs who are confused and have no clarity of what they are solving. Also, keep a close eye on whether they give their presentation enough time and effort. Another red flag in investors would be if they are too short term in thinking.

  • What are some of the investments that you have made?

Some of my investments include:

  1. Women making Maharashtrian sweets at home
  2. Two women who make edge and corner guards to help prevent toddlers from injury.
  3. Masala Mar Key – A startup by a chef in ready-to-make food that only needs stir frying or warming up.

With the wise words of investors like Dr. Vivek Mendonsa, startups can help achieve the success that they have always dreamed about. It is very important for startups to follow the guidelines of investors like him to move in the right direction.

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