Earlier this month we concluded the TiE-Canaan Entrepreneurial Challenge 2008 at the Indian Habitat Centre in New Delhi. This year we were able to build on our learnings of the challenge held last in 2006 and make it more exciting and interactive for the participants, mentors, jury members and our partners.
We received a total of 140 business plans this year, which in itself is an example of the growing entrepreneurial climate in the country. The quality of plans we received this year were very good and we had to make some difficult decisions to narrow this list down to the eight finalists. The finalists then worked closely with mentors from the TiE-Entrepreneurship Nurturing Program (ENP) to refine their business plans.
On Saturday, July 5th participants made their final presentations to an eminent jury who included Pramod Bhasin (CEO & President, Genpact), Raman Roy (Chairman, Quatrro BPO Solutions), Saurabh Srivastava (Chairman, Emeritus, TiE Delhi), Sanjeev Bikhchandani (CEO Info Edge) and Mahesh Murthy (Founder & CEO, Pinstorm, Partner, Seedfund).
The winners of the TiE Canaan Entrepreneurial Challenge 2008, selected based on the potential scale of their business, the strength of the team and sustainable differentiation in their business model, were:
§ Equitas Micro Finance India Pvt. Ltd. – A microfinance company, which started 6 months back with great management team. They have been able to innovate around processes to scale very fast in this business.
§ Druvaa India – A backup company focusing at laptops and handhelds.
§ iKen Solutions Pvt. Ltd. – A company with core IP in analytics and is applying that to storefronts (web and mobile) to present the ‘right catalog’ to each customer.
It was encouraging to see that there were many software products businesses that participated. We also saw a healthy mix across sectors including education & training, financial services and mobile. Most plans had relatively low IP barriers and a high dependence on quality of execution – we are coming across this frequently and it places an emphasis on the quality of teams.
Many of the business plans that participated had a common challenge – their go to market strategies. This is an area I believe needs support from within teams, as well as from advisors and mentors.
We are thankful to our partners - including Microsoft, ISB, NASSCOM, Business Today and CNBC, who came forth to make this challenge a success. We would also like to once again thank our online partners, namely PLUGGD.IN, proto.in, Venture Intelligence, Webyantra, HeadStart, techTribe, VentureWoods and Kamla Bhatt who helped ensure that a large section of entrepreneurs came to know about the Challenge.
The challenge has been covered extensively by Business Today and will be aired on CNBC over the next few weeks and viewers can get an insight on the challenge and the high quality teams that participated.
Alok Mittal, Managing Director
iYogi a remote technical support provider from India - raised $ 9.5 million in Series B financing from Canaan Partners amongst others. iYogi will use the funds to fuel its expansion into 12 new regions, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, and to increase its delivery of new services including PC recovery, anti-virus/spyware, data back-up and PC optimization.
UnitedLex the global leader in legal consulting, analytics and outsourcing solutions recently secured Series B funding worth US$ 6 million. The round was led by Canaan Partners. The funding will help UnitedLex’s expansion plans. The company is strengthening its global Delivery Network with the opening of a second delivery center in Gurgaon (India) later this quarter.
Paragon Lake a web based supplier of customized fine jewelry recently secured $5.8 million in Series A financing. The round was co-led by Canaan Partners. The funding will allow Paragon Lake to expand its operations and ramp its service offering to meet rapidly growing customer demands. In conjunction with the investment, Dan Ciporin of Canaan Partners has also joined on the company’s board of directors.
ON24 Inc. a leader in webcasting and virtual events solutions has secured $8 million in equity and expansion capital financing. Canaan Partners the equity round while the expansion capital financing was separately led. The round brought ON24’s total raised capital to more than $46 million. The funds will be used to accelerate ON24’s global expansion of the sales, marketing and client services organizations; and product development initiatives, including ON24 Virtual Show and the company’s flagship webcasting platform.
The NASSCOM Product Conclave & Expo 2008, the only annual conference for the Indian software product industry, will be held on August 11 & 12 at Bangalore. Participants will gain deep-dive insight into the opportunities for the product industry, learn best practices on product management, licencing and contracts, network with the VCs and angel investors and, above all, build partnerships for growth. Industry CEOs, CIOs of user industries, product startups, technology seers, venture capitalists, seed and angel investors, and marketing experts will congregate at Bangalore for a two-day action packed agenda of technology updates, sharing of new initiatives, business models, and showcase of successful Indian products.
Canaan Partners invests in entrepreneurs and works alongside them to turn visionary ideas into valuable companies. Since 1987, the firm has catalyzed the growth of disruptive technology startups and healthcare companies revolutionizing the practice of medicine. With $3.4 billion under management and more than 95 acquisitions and 55 IPOs to date, Canaan has funded companies such as Acme Packet, Associated Content (acquired by Yahoo), CommerceOne, DoubleClick (acquired by Google), ID Analytics (acquired by LifeLock), Match.com (acquired by IAC), SandForce (acquired by LSI), SuccessFactors (acquired by SAP) and Virsto Software (acquired by VMware), as well as notable healthcare companies such as Advanced BioHealing (acquired by Shire), BiPar Sciences (acquired by Sanofi), Chimerix (NASDAQ: CMRX) and Elevation Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Sunovion). Current technology investments include Blurb, Kabam, Lending Club, Performance Marketing Brands, SOASTA, Tremor Video (TRMR), and Zoosk in the U.S.; BharatMatrimony, Loylty Rewardz and UnitedLex in India; and PrimeSense and LiveU in Israel. The Canaan healthcare portfolio includes emerging leaders such as Liquidia Technologies, Civitas Therapeutics and DICOM Grid. Canaan maintains a presence in the global innovation hubs of Silicon Valley, New York City, India and Israel. For more information visit www.canaan.com or www.facebook.com/canaanpartners. Follow us on Twitter @canaanpartners.
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