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The screening room: Startups pitch to Pune CIOs

CIO Angel Network’s first roundtable in Pune was the testing ground for some interesting ideas.

A mix of 12 startups providing a wide range of services—from cloud security to last mile services to streamlining fraud investigations—were given a chance to impress Pune-based CIOs with their vision at CIO Angel Network’s (CAN) roundtable at the Westin in Pune yesterday. Each startup was given 10 minutes to present their idea and make a pitch that would hopefully get them shortlisted for the next, more intensive round.

The session started with an introductory note by Sanjay Mehta, investor at CAN, who asked the assembled CIOs to keep three key questions in mind while shortlisting. One: how big is the market opportunity for this idea? Two: do they have a strong team that will execute this idea? And three: how profitable is this idea? He also reminded the CIOs that they were screening the ideas for investment purposes and not to buy for practical application.

The roundtable that lasted three hours saw pitches from startups that had already established a profitable revenue stream as well as those that were just starting out with only their vision to guide them. The CIOs eagerly looked forward to each pitch and were keen to understand what differentiated these startups from the many out there. The CIOs who attended included Atul Kirane, VP – Systems, ISMT Ltd, Sanjeev Jagtap, Senior VP and CIO, Mastek, Rajeev Mittal, CIO, Endurance Technologies Pvt Ltd, and Deena Dayalan K, Director – I&TG, Sears IT & Management Services India Pvt Ltd.

Rajeev Mittal said it was interesting to see how people were using different aspects of technology in their entrepreneurship. “I liked two-three startups that presented today. At a pitch I’m looking to judge the vision behind the product and the business. And you also need to see if the entrepreneur is a short-term player or is in it for the long haul. You’re judging the quality of the owner/promoter as much as the product.”

“We saw pitches from a wide variety of startups, and you don’t often get to see that,” said Atul Kirane. “Many were unsure about the CAN funding model, so there needs to be awareness created about that. They were given just 10 minutes to pitch and that really tested them as it isn’t a lot of time to present your idea.”

Sanjeev Jagtap said that his motivation to come was to learn how CIOs could provide support to this startup culture. “I came for the roundtable in a personal capacity,” he explained. “I wanted to find out more about the startup world, see if there were ways that CIOs could support and guide them. As CIOs we have a perspective on what products or services are required, what their practical application could be, and if the ones being proposed would actually bring some value to enterprises. We also have a wealth of knowledge that could be used to help these startups in a scaling up, leveraging cloud for production, improving security, etc. And I find this quite interesting.”

The startups shortlisted from this Pune session will now go on to present for a much larger duration (one hour) at the next roundtable being held in Mumbai. We wish them all the best! 

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