We have tried to provide answers to the FAQs here. If you have additional questions, we will be happy to answer them by email.
A. 1M/1M does make introductions to angels and VCs, and the introduction carries weight. However, the primary value proposition for entrepreneurs is to use the resources of 1M/1M to ‘become fundable’. In that sense, it is an educational, incubation, business development, and acceleration resource, not a brokerage. Over 99% of entrepreneurs seeking funding get rejected
. 1M/1M is working to lower the infant entrepreneur mortality rate. Investors often send us deals that they are rejecting, so that we can help them plug the gaps
, or change funding strategy. Also, we encourage you to work with other funding marketplaces
, once you have created a fundable business, in addition to the resources we offer you at 1M/1M.
A. That depends on your readiness and Sramana’s assessment of your fundability. Over 99% of the deals that get introduced to investors get declined. In 1M/1M, Sramana works diligently with entrepreneurs to increase their chances of funding. She will introduce you when she feels you have a chance of successfully convincing an investor to invest in your project. Prior to that, if your deal is not ready for funding, she will work with you so that it becomes ready.
A. 1M/1M works with angel investors around the world. In addition, 1M/1M has a lot of alternative financing relationships and strategies which are deployed on behalf of entrepreneurs, regardless of where you are based.
A. Primarily by accessing channel and customer relationships, as well as strategy consulting. In addition, 1M/1M has a lot of alternative financing relationships which can stretch your current investment further, help you raise your valuation for the next round of funding without diluting yourself. These include inventory financing, revenue sharing, receivables financing, etc. – all mechanisms that are designed to be non-dilutive for the entrepreneurs. Finally, if you need to raise a follow-on round, we will help you with that as well.
A. Primarily access to channel and customer relationships, as well as strategy consulting. In addition, 1M/1M has a lot of alternative financing relationships which can stretch your current resources further, help you raise your valuation for the next round of funding or acquisition without diluting yourself. These include inventory financing, revenue sharing, receivables financing, etc. – all mechanisms that are designed to be non-dilutive for the entrepreneurs.
A. Sure. If you are rejected by YCombinator or any other investment oriented accelerator, we will work with you to help you fix whatever holes you might have in your business. You can then go back to your favorite accelerator, or go straight to investors, or decide not to raise money at all, and go for customers instead.
Better yet, why wait before you get rejected and waste six months? Sign up for 1M/1M today and start working on your business with the right methodology starting tonight, so you’ll be well ahead and ready for your favorite accelerator’s next application deadline, if that is your plan.
A. You need to first figure out why you got rejected, and what is the best financing strategy for your business. We can certainly help you with that, and if we ascertain that you might have a fundable business, then yes, we will guide you on what steps would help you get funded. Chances are, we are going to ask you to make certain changes in what you are doing currently, and you’d need to execute on those suggestions before we bring you back into the funding circuit again. Otherwise, you would be wasting your time.
In addition, we may suggest alternative means of building a sustainable and successful business that don’t use the traditional VC / Angel financing model. [More details on this here: Over 99% Of Startups Face Rejection By Investors]
A. Sramana’s contacts are not all loaded on LinkedIn. She maintains a number of her own mailing lists, through which she corresponds with her network on a regular basis.
A. Because there is no easy one-size-fits-all answer to the problem.
A. We want you to find that out as soon as possible. We want you to follow the 1M/1M methodology and figure out where the issues are. Perhaps, you have your positioning wrong and you get false negatives. Maybe, if you change your market segmentation you’ll be able to get traction with your idea. These are things we can help you with.
However, if after you go through the positioning due diligence and related validation, and your idea still gets negative responses, then you need to move on to a different idea. And all that is part of the formal methodology of 1M/1M.
We really don’t want you to beat your head against a stone wall. It is not a good way to spend precious years of your life. If you have an idea that is not working, you need to abandon that idea and get on a new idea and really follow good, solid methodology to validate that idea. That is all part of the 1M/1M program.
General, About 1M/1M
A. We would prefer that you join 1M/1M as early as possible. Why? Very often we find people doing the wrong things in the wrong order and by the time they come to us they are desperate and they panic.
Examples: The positioning may be wrong, in which case we’d need to have you redo that. With the wrong positioning, you’d either get a false positive or a false negative, and we’d rather you do not waste 3-6 months marching down that path.
In entrepreneurship, you have to do things in the right sequence. If you do things wrong or even the right things but in the wrong order, by the time you come to us, we would have to rewind that process and put it back right. We have no choice. And that would waste more time.
We would prefer that you don’t waste six month of your precious time and follow the 1M/1M methodology right from the get go. If particular, join before you write a single line of code. That way, you won’t waste $15k-$50k on building the wrong product, something else we often encounter.
The earlier the better. Join 1M/1M now.
A. Absolutely. She is very good with sorting through ideas, and applies a systematic methodology in doing this. You will learn the methodology yourself, as well as get her input.
A. Yes, but we don’t recommend you spend money on business plan preparers before going through the 1M/1M curriculum. Chances are, you would waste your money, and miss important elements.
A. It’s great that you have a good pay check. Use it to bootstrap your company. Join 1M/1M premium and spend 50 hours over the next 2-3 months to fully understand the methodology. Then, come up with an idea, put it through the validation methodology, and see if it has legs. If not, test another. Keep going, until you find an idea that passes the 1M/1M litmus test. This could take 6-12 months, but you can do it while keeping your job, during evenings and weekends. Once you have a validated idea, quit your job and jump in fully. 1M/1M is a perfect springboard for people with jobs AND entrepreneurial aspirations.
A. 1M/1M is perfect for young people with the entrepreneurial bug who want to get a practical, crash course in entrepreneurship. Rather than going to business school for several years and loading up on a large debt burden, a 50-hour investment in going through the 1M/1M curriculum will get them in gear right away for $1000. And they can get the methodology of how to test an idea, bring it to market, and start using the 1M/1M resources to get the business off the ground within a few months.
A. That’s fine. Except, you may build the wrong product unless you do appropriate validation and positioning. We prefer that you do the validation first, following the 1M/1M methodology, before building any technology. You may want to consider going through 1M/1M first – spend 30-50 hours digesting the curriculum – and then going for technology development. Otherwise, the 6-8 month investment may go to waste. We don’t want you to build a product that no one wants to buy.
A. Which industry are you talking about? Sramana has connections all through the technology industry – Internet, Mobile, Software, Hardware, Chips, Outsourcing, as well as a lot of the technology buyers in Fortune 500, Global 2000, SMEs, etc. She also has strong connections in Cleantech and some in Biosciences / Healthcare, although not as extensive. Of course, she doesn’t have connections in Mining, for instance. If you tell us what industry you are looking to go into, we can give you more specific information.
A. There is no one-on-one private session with Sramana as part of 1M/1M. You can participate in as many private roundtables as you like, and pitch to her, depending on availability. In addition, entrepreneurs constantly ask her questions in the discussion forum, by email, etc. within the premium lounge, so you will have ample access to her as part of the program. At $1000 a year price-point, this is the best we can offer. If you need private sessions, you can request that from Sramana for $750/hour.
A. 1M/1M doesn’t reject anybody. If you want to use the program to learn entrepreneurship, you can. YCombinator and almost ALL other accelerators are extremely selective and investment oriented. They only work on companies that are investment worthy in their assessment. And they invest in and take equity in a small group of companies. 1M/1M doesn’t invest in companies. We help companies become investment-worthy, or even develop strategies such that they can build sustainable businesses without any need for external investment, by connecting them to customers and channel partners. Overall, we believe customer financing – meaning, revenues – is better than equity or debt. Our focus is to delay your financing, help you build value and valuation, rather than have you give up large chunks of equity upfront. Also, YCombinator requires that you move to Silicon Valley to be on location. We are a 100% virtual program.
A. No. For $1000 a year, group sessions is the best we can do. Nothing else is scalable. If we take startups on for revenue sharing business development deals, then they get 1-on-1 sessions, but that would require them to be ready and get selected for such investment. That entails hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting, and it is an investment. Meanwhile, if you need private sessions, you can request that from Sramana for $750/hour.
A. We charge $1000 annual fee from all premium members. In addition, where Sramana gets involved in negotiating business development deals actively, she does revenue sharing arrangements.
A. We will scale the way most businesses scale – with technology and people. Like you, we’re an early stage startup. As we build ourselves up, we will invest in building out more of our technology product roadmap, and also hire more people.
A. The best way to work with Sramana is to come pitch at one of the free roundtables, and also go through the 1M/1M site, which explains very clearly and abundantly what we do, and how. You can also listen to prior roundtable recordings. If you decide to join the program, Sramana would be very happy to work with you. We are a 100% virtual program, and don’t do in-person meetings. We use video conferencing extensively.
A. You can meet with Sramana almost every week except for Holidays at the online roundtables for members. The schedule is posted on the member site.
A. The format of the meetings is similar to the public roundtable, except these are only for premium members. Ideally, you should study the curriculum before pitching at a private roundtable, to make better use of the time.
About the $1000 Fee
A. Because we are a business, and we provide value to businesses. We’re not a non-profit and have no other means of supporting our operations other than revenues generated by working with customers like you. Also, at the basis of capitalism is a fundamental equation that value gets compensated. We believe in that basic philosophy.
A. No. We are not set up to take installment payments. However, we are set up to take credit card payments. You can pay your credit card bill in installments.
A. No, we work with very early stage companies, and selling equity at that stage is very expensive for entrepreneurs. We do not believe that entrepreneurs should be selling equity too cheap and too soon.
A. With all due respect to ALL marketing consultants, early stage companies can’t afford world class consultants.
As an early stage company, you would not be able to afford Sramana’s private time either. She did a decade of consulting with some of the largest companies in the business, such as BestBuy, SAP, WebEx. Her rate is $5,000 a day – not something an early stage company could afford. World class consultants are inherently expensive.
However, 1M/1M was created to give small, early-stage entrepreneurs with limited resources access to world class consulting at a rock-bottom price.
A:You’ll start with the 1M/1M curriculum
. The curriculum is based on Sramana’s working with over 500 entrepreneurs at public and private roundtables. She was getting the same questions over and over at those sessions and she built the 1M/1M curriculum based on those questions. There are 50-100 hours of consulting embedded in the curriculum, that you can access on a self-service mode, listening to lectures, and reading case studies.
Once you cover the basics with the 1M/1M curriculum, it’s much less time consuming to coach you through the stages of your business development.
A. Many entrepreneurs attend our FREE 1M/1M Public Roundtables
. Some of them think. “Why join the 1M/1M Premium Program
? I can get Sramana’s advice at a free public roundtable any time!”
They’re not the same thing. Let me show you the difference. Sramana’s quick advice at the 1M/1M public roundtables is not what the 1M/1M Premium program is about.
In a public roundtable, Sramana has very little time to work with you. She listens to your business pitch. She gives you her quick observations. There is no time for a deep consulting-style engagement here. And most entrepreneurs are not ready for deep engagement just yet.That is what the 1M/1M Premium program offers.
As soon as you join 1M/1M Premium, we ask you to self-assess by using the 1M/1M self-assessment tool and review the curriculum modules attached to the self-assessment. That covers at least 50 to 60 hours of the first round of consulting on a self-service mode with video lectures and case studies.
Once you do that, you’ll be equipped to think about your business in a much more sophisticated way, ask higher-level questions instead of the very basic ones, and think strategically like any Silicon Valley founder who is working with an experienced mentor.
Sramana is eager to help you to develop a Silicon Valley–style success framework. It doesn’t matter that you may have never been to Silicon Valley.
And she is keen to take you to a higher-order style of thinking when you are equipped with the right methodology and the right principles of business building.
This kind of in-depth guidance is possible only by using the 1M/1M premium curriculum and the private roundtables in tandem. The free public roundtables simply do not offer the flexibility or the time to get into the meatier issues.
A. Sorry, we do not offer such a service (“raising money for a fee”).
That said, entrepreneurs in the 1M/1M Premium Program do raise money successfully, if that is what they set out to achieve, and if their business is fundable.
This happens as a natural process of building their businesses. It happens at a stage when multiple investors would be interested in investing in their businesses because it makes sense. And it makes us very proud to make those introductions. It makes us proud for the entrepreneurs and proud for adding value to the eco-system as a whole.
We do not charge any additional fees for those introductions, beyond the standard fee for the Premium Program itself ($1,000 a year).
This $1000 fee has nothing to do with the fundraising specifically. It covers the whole complex ensemble of services that are part of the Premium Program anyway.
If entrepreneurs join the program specifically with fundraising in mind, we work with them and help them to get to that stage when the fundraising becomes logical, natural, organic, not imagined, forced or desperate.
What is the process of getting to that natural, organic stage? At the minimum, it is achieving absolute clarity on these critical questions.
So, to recap: We do not offer “fundraising for a fee.”
We do offer fundraising help, for which we do not charge any additional fee. It is all included in the services we offer within the 1M/M Premium Program.
Note: If you are considering becoming a 1M/1M premium member and would like to join our mailing list to receive ongoing information, please sign up here: