FAQs

We have tried to provide answers to the FAQs here. If you have additional questions, we will be happy to answer them by email.

Funding

Q. Is 1M/1M a funding broker?

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.

Q. I need introductions to Investors. If I join 1M/1M, how soon can Sramana introduce me to Angel Investors and VCs?

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.

Q. I am approached by Investors, if I join 1M/1M, could Sramana help me to negotiate the terms?

A. Absolutely.

Q. I am not in Silicon Valley and I am not planning to move there. I need introductions to my local Angel investors, how would 1M/1M be able to help me?

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.

Q. My company is already funded by Angel Investors. How would I possibly benefit from joining 1M/1M?

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.

Q. I am self-funded. I am not looking for investors. What could 1M/1M possibly offer me?

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.

Q. I am going to try my luck with YCombinator or TechStars and if I am rejected there, can I then apply at 1M/1M?

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.

Q. I just got rejected by a set of VCs / Angels. Can you help me get funded?

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]

Q. I need introductions to potential customers. Can Sramana connect me to decision makers who could potentially purchase our solution?

A. Yes. This is one of the most important focus areas of 1M/1M. You can read up some of Sramana’s writings on the topic: Alternative Financing For Startups Using A Sales Channel Partner. She introduces 1M/1M entrepreneurs to both customers and channel partners.

Q. I looked though Sramana’s contacts in LinkedIn and I don’t see anyone who would be a clear fit for appropriate introductions for my kind of business? Does it mean 1M/1M is not the right program for me?

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.

Q. Why can’t Sramana just offer an easy template on how to monetize a website?

A. Because there is no easy one-size-fits-all answer to the problem.

Q. What if an idea doesn’t work or a product doesn’t sell?

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

Q. When is the right time to join 1M/1M? I think I should validate my business before I join. Am I right?

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.

Q. I have been working on a few ideas. If I join, can Sramana help me to sort though them and pick the best one?

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.

Q. I am working on my business plan right now (and that is expensive, I am paying someone to help me). It will take me a few weeks to finish, I will consider joining 1M/1M after that. Is that OK?

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.

Q. I have a good job with a secure pay check. I want to be an entrepreneur, but it is hard to give up the pay check. How can 1M/1M help me?

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.

Q. My kid is getting the entrepreneurial bug. How can 1M/1M help her get going?

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.

Q. I am building my website (software platform). It will take me 6-8 months. Then I will look into 1M/1M. OK?

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.

Q. If Sramana doesn’t have specific experience and connections in my industry how could she possibly help me?

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.

Q. How many personal one-on-one private sessions I can get with Sramana throughout the year as a 1M/1M Premium member?

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.

Q. What are the key differences between 1M/1M Premium Program and YCombinator or any similar startup accelerator out there?

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.

Q. Group session in the premium membership still exposes IP and confidentiality. Do startups get 1-on-1 sessions?

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.

Q. What is the 1M/1M business model? How do you guys make money?

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.

Q. How will 1M/1M scale? When you have thousands of members, how does the model scale without losing quality?

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.

Q. Can I have coffee with Sramana to discuss the services of 1M/1M?

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.

About the $1000 Fee

Q. Why is a $1000 annual fee necessary?

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.

Q. Can I pay $1000 fee in installments monthly or quarterly?

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.

Q. Does 1M/1M take equity in the companies it works with?

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.

Q. I am working with a private marketing consultant. How does 1M/1M compare?

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.

Q. How do we do that?

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.

Q. Help me to understand the difference between public roundtables vs 1M/1M premium program?

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.

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:




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