Agenda: Scaale Group, Pavel Cherkashin, Sprayable, Dinner with mentors
A new and active week of our business tour started at the very heart of San Francisco, on the Market Street in one of the Scaale Group offices with hospitable and welcoming Kaushal Chokshi and Marta Emerson. Scaale Group is a venture resource group that helps startups and small businesses develop through investment, sales and talent attraction. The group consists of 7 companies that join 300 employees from 10 countries together. Today Scaale leads over 100 customers from Europe, USA and Latin America. A startup or a young company can get the knowledge, expertise, entering new markets strategy and assistance in its implementation, when contacting Scaale Group. Cross Border Angels is a particularly noteworthy organization within Scaale Group companies, which joins over 150 business angels and investors from USA, Asia and Europe. CBA specializes on cross-border deals, constantly developing its network and embracing new markets.
Kaushal Chokshi, Founder and President of Scaale Group has held the “Introduction to Venture Capital” lecture for our group, told us how Scaale Group work process is built, how venture business works in the US and other countries, pointed out the differences, how a startup can enter the global market, and what investor expects of a startup. “People, the product itself ant time are equally important when building a company”, said Kaushal.
Continuing the meeting Marta Emerson, Vice President of Scaale Group companies, held a presentation on building entrepreneurial ecosystem on the example of Spain. Questions were raised regarding the development of startup ecosystem of the country, the state's role in the development of startup ecosystem and the major factors affecting the development of startups. According to Marta, 10 main factors influencing the level of development of startup ecosystem are: education, investment, innovation, network professionals, the public sector, business culture, business specialization in the region, successful cases of exit, talent development, maturity of the local market and access to global markets.
A great start of the day, full of new information and food for thought. Moving on. Next stop – Sunnyvale in the Valley, where Pavel Cherkashyn, the general partner of a new fund Vestor.In Partners, a former executive at Adobe and Microsoft, co-founder of Actis, AdWatch, Sputnik Labs, later successfully sold to large companies, is waiting for us. Quite recently Paul was an active business angel, but now, with the emergence of Vestor.In Partners, he walked away from angel investing and moved to a new investment level. An incredibly interesting meeting where Paul spoke about the laws of building a business in Silicon Valley, about the experience of launching their own companies and their subsequent successful sale, as well as of the effective involvement and use of investments.
After several meetings with investors in a row - it's time to get motivated by a successful startup case. In search of inspiration, we come to meet to Deven Soni, co-founder of an unusual startup – Sprayable. Deven's and his startup's story is unusual from the very start. It's not uncommon for us to see serial entrepreneurs subsequently change their work to become investors. But for a venture capitalist to leave for a startup? Yes, this is exactly what happened to Deven Soni. Another curious thing is that he met a future co-founder during an expedition to the Antarctic. This is where the idea for a startup was born – to create an energy caffeine spray, which will act through the skin pores. Convenient, safe and completely devoid of disadvantages of coffee and all kinds of energetics putting the heart through too much stress. What's said is done. A year of hard work, parallel development and testing of a product on one hand, on the other hand there's work on the marketing strategy, with Deven and his partner already placing their product on Indiegogo, where instead of desired 20 thousand dollars they get 176. Today the company sells up to 15,000 bottles of Sprayable per month. Deven also shared their future plans – they will soon bring a product to the market, the effect of which is the opposite to Sprayable. The new spray will have a calming effect on the body, helping people who suffer from insomnia and jet legs.
A cozy atmosphere of Bocce Café in San Francisco and a dinner with our wonderful mentors and board advisers is a great ending for a busy startup day. There is nothing better than talking to mentors with no rush, with a glass of wine, asking all the vital questions you have for your startup and even enlist the mentoring support. However, not the whole evening was just about socializing. In order to diversify the evening we held a mentor pitch battle. 5 of our luckiest startups had a unique opportunity to ear their project’s pitch by our mentors. The idea is simple: each mentor pulls out a paper with a name of a startup present and each of them is given a couple of minutes to prepare the pitch. This is where the best part begins. Mentors with excitement and youthful enthusiasm start presenting someone else’s projects, while putting in so much strength and energy, as if it were a matter life or death. Startups get an opportunity to take a fresh look at their projects and some impressed ones even start rewriting their pitches. Fantastic and energetic battle!
Big thanks to our wonderful gurus and guests – Igor Shoifot, Vitaly Golomb, Jonathan Romley, Shawn Lopiccolo, Viktor Shaburov and Sergey Parilov for a productive and enjoyable evening and for your superb pitches!