Building your startup with CIMA Launch Pad

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Last week we told you about the ideas that were pitched for CIMA Launch Pad 2016. Over 20 teams made their initial pitches and now, it will be the final 10 teams competing for the grand prize. On Saturday, these teams underwent their first workshop session. Here’s what we saw at this workshop when we sneaked in.

It’s not just about the idea

Rizni Faisal and Nadeesha Wijekoon from PwC kicking off the proceedings (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)
Rizni Faisal and Nadeesha Wijekoon from PwC kicking off the proceedings (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)

Kicking off the day’s proceedings, Rizni Faisal and Nadeesha Wijekoon from PwC shared their perspective on the financial side of things, along with certain key investor aspects to look at when it comes to startups. Rizni and Nadeesha briefed the teams on why it’s important to focus on your target market and other areas such as the Return On Investment and your startup’s cost structure. Afterward, their session went on to talk about other factors that teams would need to pay attention to.  For example, an investor not only invests in money, but also in people as well. This is why picking the right team for your startup is just as important as the idea itself.

Legal pointers from Dr. Arritha Wickramanayake

Dr. Arritha Wickramaratne speaking at the first CIMA Launch Pad 2016 workshop (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)
Dr. Arritha Wickramanayake speaking at the first CIMA Launch Pad 2016 workshop (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)

Moving on, Dr. Arritha Wickramanayake took stage to talk about the legal aspects when it comes to startups and how to go about things. After covering the basics, Dr. Wickramanayake touched on the different options one could pursue on starting a business. Whether it’s a partnership or a company, incorporating your business to a legal framework has much to offer for your startup. According to Dr. Wickramanayake, a few of these advantages from a company structure include:

  • Limited liability
  • Facilitation of widespread ownership
  • Liquidity
  • Confidence to lenders

Dr. Wickramanayake also talked about the importance of structuring the shareholding in your company and why it’s vital that your interests are always protected through the shareholder agreement. Before concluding his session for CIMA Launch Pad 2016, Dr. Arritha Wickramanayake left the teams with the following few pointers,

  • Always maintain proper accounts
  • The shareholder agreement protects the investor as well as you
  • Have an exit strategy. Remember that getting investors on board is not a marriage.

Misconceptions about startups and valuations, a local perspective

Nishantha Dabare speaking at the first CIMA Launch Pad 2016 (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)
Nishantha Dabare speaking at the first CIMA Launch Pad 2016 (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)

Following up on Dr. Wickramaratne’s session, Nishantha Dabare offered his insights on local startups and valuations from a Lankan outlook. Nishantha’s talk emphasized on the fact that a founder’s perception on the company’s worth may not always be a match with that of an investor’s. Furthermore, Nishantha went on to address more technical aspects with regards to valuations.

It’s all about Branding

Whats the big deal about branding? This is the question Darren Edirisinghe and Chanu Demal from Response Marketing aimed to answer at CIMA Launch Pad. Sliding through a few shadow images of popular brands such as Coke, Nike and Embark, the duo emphasized on the importance of a strong brand. They were all just icons until they were given life through branding. Hence, why identifying one’s target market is vital. According to Darren and Chanu, it all comes down to the value you provide, the nature of competition and your competitive positioning. This was explained perfectly with the famous Rolls-Royce advertisement headline.

CIMA launch pad
The famous Rolls Royce ad (Image credits: Switch Video Productions Inc)

Branding is about a promise; it tells the story of a company. We couldn’t agree more.

“People are not going to follower a follower. They will follow a leader. So be a leader.” – Darren Edirisinghe

What about seed funding?

Finally, we saw Lahiru Pathmalal share his experience on seed funding and why it shouldn’t be just about the money when looking for funds. Ideally, you would want to have investors that share a similar vision and passion. Specially in times of crises, your investors would need to back you up. Lahiru went on to explain how one ought to go about in approaching investors for funds, how even little things matter when you’re trying to make a pitch.

“Every opportunity should be about networking.” – Lahiru Pathmalal

 

End of CIMA Launch Pad 2016 – Workshop #1

The teams throwing questions at the first CIMA Launch Pad Workshop (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)
The teams throwing questions at the first CIMA Launch Pad Workshop (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)

There you have it, the first workshop conducted for Launch Pad 2016. So what happens next? By now the teams have already submitted a detailed proposal about their startup idea and will be undergoing a 2nd workshop before moving forward. As always, team ReadMe will be there to bring you the latest from CIMA Launch Pad 2016. Stay tuned!

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