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159th Roundtable Recap: January 31 – Return On Investment

Posted on Thursday, Jan 31st 2013

Today’s roundtable, as usual, had a wonderful international flavor, with entrepreneurs from all corners of the globe represented. In particular, we had presenters and attendees from Italy, Chile, Brazil, India, Canada, and various parts of the US. I am particularly pleased to see the rise of Latin America in recent roundtables. I am also encouraged to see entrepreneurs from parts of Europe that are in deep recession.
First up, Shiju Radhakrishnan from Cochin, India, pitched, a destination-specific online portal for managing travel planning and reservations for all travel related needs for a particular journey. For instance, if you traveling to Kerala, you may want to not only book hotels, but houseboats, taxi or private car to travel between various destinations, tour guides, etc. This service does all of those.

The company does $80k a year in sales right now, but operates on a precariously thin margin because of a business model that has a very low gross margin. Today, we discussed how to address both the gross and operating margin issues to make this a viable business long term.
Then, Ron Robinson from New York pitched, currently an online beauty site that offers content, advertising, special offers, sale notices, etc. Ron pitched almost three years back, and I had advised him to bootstrap his business, since all his concepts were unvalidated at the time. Today, he has a $200k a year, profitable business, primarily monetized through advertising.

Next, he wants to move to the mobile platform, introduce e-commerce as a monetization model, and take his business to the next level. We discussed the gaps in his investment pitch.

Next, Mario Bucolo from Catania, Italy, pitched PhotoSpotLand, a mobile app for photographers that offers information about good locations to photograph a certain site from. For example, if you are in the Colosseum, Rome, you could find suggestions of good photographic angles from other photographers. You could also find other photographers and go check out the spot together.

It’s an interesting value proposition. The business model isn’t clear right now – Mario presented a Chinese (or Italian?) menu of possibilities, but none of them are validated quite yet. Mario says he already has investors interested. I prefer to validate the basic assumptions of a business before raising money. But that’s my personal choice, and my general advice to entrepreneurs. (You must have read Bootstrap First, Raise Money Later!)

Mario, of course, will do precisely what he wishes to.

KW Energy
Last up, Parag Patil from West Orange, New Jersey, pitched KW Energy, a data-based model for energy trading. Parag has a lobbyist beta customer already in the pipeline, who is willing to pay him $1500 a month to use the service. He believes that other segments like Fertilizers, Petrochemicals, Hedge Funds, etc., would be willing to pay those same amounts to subscribe to the service. Makes sense to me.

We had a fairly long Q&A session today, and it was great getting to know so many of the entrepreneurs in the room.

There are two articles that were repeatedly mentioned during the Q&A, in response to audience questions about 1M/1M, both point to the issue of return on investment from the 1M/1M program. Here they are: The Million Dollar Club and Quantifying the 1M/1M Value Equation. Just like we always steer you towards ROI, we ourselves make it a point to also articulate ROI from our value proposition. In out case, we offer $375k of value at $1000 a year.


You can listen to the recording of today’s roundtable here.

As always, I would very much like to hear about your business, so let me invite you to come and pitch at one of our free 1M/1M public roundtables. We will be holding future roundtables at 8 a.m. PST on:

-Thursday, February 7, 160th 1M/1M Roundtable, Register Here.

Thursday, February 14, 161st 1M/1M Roundtable, Register Here.

Thursday, February 21, 162nd 1M/1M Roundtable, Register Here.

Thursday, February 28, 163rd 1M/1M Roundtable, Register Here.

If you want a deeper relationship with me, you are very welcome to join the 1M/1M premium program. If you have any questions about the program, please, first study the website, especially What to expect from the 1M/1M premium program and the FAQs. If you have additional questions, please email me, and I would be very happy to respond. Please note that I work exclusively with 1M/1M entrepreneurs.

I also invite you to join the 1M/1M mailing list for the ease and convenience of getting updates. This way we can stay in touch, and it will help you to decide if 1M/1M is a program for you.


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