#PNCamp – No BS feedbacks and teardowns to build great products groundup

So, you got a startup. Great! You have a product ready and a few users/customers too, Awesome! I am sure you are super excited to take it to next level, right? But thats when the hurdles begin.

Users just do not understand it
Users don’t go beyond certain point
Our product is awesome, but Product lacks stickiness
I am not sure how to position our product
We have different kinds of users, how to deal with varied expectations of users
I don’t know where to find large number of userbase
I am a technical guy, I don’t know how to market it
User growth is very slow, we need some cool growth hacks

If some of these thoughts/challenges are lingering in your mind too, then you are not the only one. Trust me pretty much every startup goes through these hurdles in its early days. Sad reality is, vast majority fail to cross these initial hurdles and die early death.

“Almost every startup has a product, what they don’t have is users/customers”

If you are an early stage startup with a working product thats been used by a few users/customers and you are struggling through some of the above mentioned challenges, then look nowhere and block your Calendar for Oct 8th, 2016. iSPIRT is bringing PNCamp in Pune focused towards all the early stage startups.

whatsapp-image-2016-09-09-at-11-08-35-amPNCamp in pune is your grand opportunity to get candid feedback on your product and its marketing. If you are a startup with a prototype or product at an early stage with few users/customers but struggling to get further traction, then PNCamp is a great place where you could get an opportunity to showcase your product and seek feedback, inputs and suggestions on specific to your product. At PNCamp, experts will take product teardown sessions on following aspects.

  1. How to build a right product (great and useful product)
  2. How to market your product (product marketing, communication, KPIs)
  3. How to achieve 10X user growth (Use Analytics, customer feedback loop, sales tactics)

At PNCamp, India’s some of the most successful entrepreneurs are coming together to host one day focused camp and work with selected group of startups on their product, market and sales growth strategies. This one day focused action oriented efforts are equivalent to your one year of badly struggling to figure out things in dark.

Here is whats going to happen at PNCamp –

“You involve me and I learn maximum”. Keeping this in mind, PNCamp is structured in a way to maximize real action oriented learning. Its no Gyaan, No B.S. All real action, real stories, real candid feedback, real strategies, real action plan, real work toward real results. At PNCamp, successful entrepreneurs who are expert in their specific area of product, marketing, or sales growth will discuss their observations and learnings.

In case of B2B products, things such as the product quality, security, product learning curve, analytics, integrations, etc might be driving factors for initial success whereas in case of B2C products its visual appeal, user friendliness, pricing, discounts, customer loyalty, social appeal, etc could trigger the success. Hence each product need to be looked at it from various angles. At PNCamp, specific sessions are dedicated to deep dive in these areas. In B2B track, experts will discuss building a right product for B2B market, getting traction for your product, marketing strategies and sales funnel. In case of B2C track, the experts will delve into building products with focus on mobile an analytics, finding right KPI and organizing everything around it, product communication, and building a successful customer development strategy using feedback loop. After every session, a few select product startups will be given an opportunity to present their product, marketing strategy, or growth strategy. Experts and fellow participants will do a product teardown and give a deep dive feedback. In all 12 startups in B2C space and 12 startups in B2B space will get an opportunity to present and get detailed feedback.

Product teardown: In this section, select startups will provide a quick walkthrough of their product website/app. As each startup will get limited time to present, key is to stay focused on most critical or concerning area of your product. Experts and fellow participants will provide feedback on core functionality, usefulness, right fit of the product, visual and experiential aspect of the product. In the past, such product tear down has help entrepreneurs get amazing inputs in matter of minutes. Moreover it has opened up doors for more insightful beta users from the cohart. Product teardown session focuses on product flow, functionality, identifying specific KPIs and using analytics to derive insights, and immediate critical aspect that might be hindering product traction or stickiness. Founders will get actionable inputs that can be applied next day and see improvements.

Marketing/Communication teardown: Great number of startups have good products but fails on its marketing. Product marketing is all about positioning. It is all about clear messaging and creating a “hook” in user’s mind. Unique compelling product positioning is always a challenge, especially when your product has potentially multiple target segments. If your product positioning is correct, then it helps in driving marketing and create a growth strategy. In this section, select startups will get teardown about their marketing and communication strategy, how to build initial traction, building a customer feedback loop, how to think specific KPIs and organize things around it, how to use analytics to tweak marketing funnel, etc. Is the message clear and compelling enough to click with your audience, can it be improved further, etc. In the past, founders used the session feedback to improve their product message, website communication, emails, etc for which the group continued giving feedback.

Growth hack / Sales teardown: This is a piece everybody wants and wish for but is very difficult to achieve. Experts will ask select startups to present their current growth strategy and provide working session on building a growth strategy. B2B sales strategies, setting up sales engine, inside sales strategies, etc will be discussed along with tools and techniques. Useful tools, techniques and trends in B2C market, use of inbound growth hack techniques, from customer acquisition to conversion, retention and achieving viral growth will be discussed in detailed. This is a hands on session where startups will be asked to create a plan of action.

Get naked – At PNcamp, everything is transparent. So, one may think, “How can I disclose my trade secrets with entire group?”. Indeed its a valid concern, but its upto an individual founder whether and how much information they want to share with fellow participants. Our experience is that, getting naked has helped entrepreneurs more than shielding or hiding behind curtains. Plus, one unsaid rule of the camp is, “Whats said in the camp remains within the group”. Product nation is building a community of trustworthy entrepreneurs who are passionate about helping each others. Hence, its expected that you bring a transparency and will maintain confidentiality.

So, enough said about the camp and its structure. PNCamp, with this full action oriented day is looking forward to bring ton of insights to you through direct feedback and critical inputs to help you take your startup next level. This is a MUST attend camp for any early stage product startup. Do not miss this unique opportunity to catch the brains of experts and fellow participants through product feedbacks and interactions. So, if you are an early stage startup looking to take your startup to next orbit, then register yourself right away at www.pncamp.in Lets build great product nation, one prodct at a time! See you at PNCamp.

Guest Post by Abhijit Mhetre, founder at Canvazify. He is passionate about startup innovations and is a volunteer at iSPIRT


6 challenges faced by early-stage startups that some effective tools can help you combat

Harbouring an idea in your head is one thing. Taking the leap of faith to execute, nurture and grow the idea is an entirely different ball game.

It calls for a tribe of people that we call Entrepreneurs.

Fortunately, this breed is on the rise. They make this game look deceptively simple.

Apart from the fact that you have to face a fair amount of social ire and family grumpiness, launching your own business and getting it off the ground comes with its unique set of challenges, the foremost of which is the problem of “scarce resources”. Your money tree will take months, sometimes several years to sprout.

One of the most valuable lessons we can learn is that there are several tools and apps for various functions that have grown all over the internet to help us overcome this “limited resource syndrome” that startups acutely suffer from.

We faced this challenge of limited resources in our early days too. In our experience, here are some of the biggest challenges faced by an early-stage startup that the appropriate tools can help you combat.

Bringing order to your sales pipeline

Sales requires a combination of people skills and product know-how. It also demands that we make sense of what the customer wants, and quickly dive into seeing what they need.

While getting those first few paying customers is about networking and selling within your circle, there comes a time when you have to start casting your net wider.

It is important at this point to have a process and tackle sales in a methodical manner.

While you can make do with Excel sheets for the first few months, they will add to the chaos as your customer base grows. Investing in a CRM tool becomes mandatory at that point.

This simple tool will allow your sales team to focus on selling and not waste time on decoding the sales pipeline and customer information that would be scattered all over the place without a CRM.

Working together as a team

Needless to say, one of the biggest assets for a startup is its people. For an early-stage startup, the people are the company’s only assets.

A startup environment requires people to fill multiple shoes and wear multiple hats. Not to mention that people now consider remote-working a norm – thanks to technology.

Team collaboration tools can help a great deal with keeping the team together and assist the project manager in assigning tasks in a more meaningful manner. It’s easier to keep track of projects and the status of tasks, and come up with contingency plans better.

Plus, it helps keep the sense of purpose alive in the team.

Without a tool to keep track of what the entire team is working on, it is easy to lose sight of the priorities of things that need to get done.

Creating a brand following

In the bygone era, marketing used to mean plonking billboards on the highway or buying TV spots for blaring commercials. Today, marketing means mastering the nuances of social media. It means building an email following. It means adding value through useful content and leveraging SEO.

Typical tools like social media scheduling tools to manage multiple social media accounts, email marketing tools, content management tools and analytics tools that integrate with your website are must-haves to keep your visitors and customers engaged.

This is also a way for the team to measure, analyse and learn from their experiments. Building on what works and scrapping the things that don’t is an important step forward in the growth of the company.


Design is not just about aesthetics anymore. It has become an absolute necessity.

According to research, coloured visuals can increase your audience’s engagement with your offering by 80 percent.

Whether you need a website designed, a blog image or simply an image to go with a social media post, there are several tools to make your life easier – even if you have never been anywhere near a design school in your life.

Managing the monies

Amidst all the high-energy events in a typical startup workday, finance can be the one thing that will be happily relegated as the last priority – only for it to get back at us with a vengeance during those closing days. Not to mention that most startups don’t exactly consider hiring a dedicated accountant at this stage.

Here again, somebody has mercifully created tools for the non-accountants to look up and still smile after “crunching numbers.”

If you have the resources to invest in just one tool, let this be it. Trust us, you’ll thank us for it.

Connecting with your customer

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”- Bill Gates

Understandably, most entrepreneurs seek to meet a critical need in society that can be fulfilled by offering a product or service.  However, the most well-planned startup can fail in the blink of an eye if they lose sync with the customers who use their products and services.

Customers are a huge part of the startup ecosystem and being accessible to them at every turn can define the success of the product or service.

It becomes imperative that we establish, open and maintain channels for valuable dialogue with our customers while making sure we are listening to them. Again, some amazing tools make this a breeze, while also acknowledging that a startup does not have deep pockets.

To sum up, it’s an excellent time to be an entrepreneur. Countless opportunities exist, and more and more free resources are available to entrepreneurs than ever before.

Tapping into these resources and advice effectively can be the thin line between the success and failure of a startup.

For a detailed list of the tools that helped us grow during our early days and our experience with them, download our ebook here. (There’s a lot of tips and some ideas for jugaad as well).

Guest Post by Shivakumar Ganesa(Shivku), Co-Founder and CEO of Exotel, a leading cloud telephony company

Access to the most vital funds for early stage startups

Angel funds are the most vital funds for any startup. It does not only help in validating the idea and prevents the early startup death, but also brings in the valuable mentoring to the table. Having the first right angel investor to back you in your startup journey sets the tone for more investments to come for the startup’s growth. At the high-risk stage (early stage), angel investors on board help sail through the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial journey.

2014 was a defining year for Indian startup ecosystem. The year saw the highest-ever inflow of angel and seed funds in India. According to VCCEdge (a platform which provides information about the Indian deals landscape), $115 million was raised by entrepreneurs through angels and seed funds across 285 deals, compared to $69 million in 2013 across 262 deals. In the last two years, LetsVenture ( an online platform for angel funding) closed 23 deals on the platform with $6.5 million being raised. The very interesting trend to note across these deals was that out of the 170 angels who invested online, 40% of them were first-time angel investors. It’s so encouraging to see senior professionals and successful entrepreneurs joining the startup investment bandwagon.

India, as a country, to grow economically needs many successful startups. And to reduce the high mortality rate among startups at early stage, we need thousands of angel investors in our startup ecosystem. Though Indian startups raised nearly $ 5 billion from venture funds and angel investors last year, a large number of young startups still find it difficult to access capital and mentors. Also, we have seen entrepreneurs falling into the traps by raising funds from investors who don’t have any idea of the startup ecosystem. These startups are forced to give a high equity for a small capital and subsequently face trouble in the future fund rounds. Also, there is a major Series A crunch in the ecosystem. Hence, there is a dire need of mentors and advisors who can help startups to be Series A -ready.

LetsIgniteKeeping in mind the absence of an opportunity to network with reputed angels,VCs and mentors for early stage startups, LetsVenture is coming up with the biggest Angel Summit for smart entrepreneurs, investors and mentors – LetsIgnite on April 21-22, 2015. There is a ‘Startup Competition’ to choose 100 best startups for the opportunity to meet the best Angels, VCs and mentors from India and abroad on a single platform. The competition is open for startups who are actively fundraising, looking for fundraising in near future and those who are looking for right mentors and advisors. More information about this competition can be found here. Last date for receiving applications is 20 March, 2015.

Post Contributed by Niti Shree, LetsVenture

Why should you attend the inaugural #PNCamp?

I mean, why should you. Haven’t you seen all this already?

If that’s your question, well, no. You haven’t.

The #PNCamp is the first Indian product event that brings together product professionals in a bootcamp format, designed to make you take away a wealth of information and actionable insight.

Based on the highly successful iSPIRT Product Round Tables, it is also a highly curated, limited access  event which ensures that participation and engagement among people actually trying to solve the same set of problems.

We’re almost full now, but if you are interested in the last remaining seats up for grabs & still have doubts, this infographic should clear it up for you.

Well, I have to go now. The team is working hard to put together what we believe is soon to become one of the premier events in the Indian software product landscape.

Mission – To transform India into a Product Nation.

See you in Pune!