Henry Amalaraj

Henry Amalaraj

Founder and Director
Bizzserver, Bangalore

About Me

BizzServer Financial Services helps businesses across the industry verticals in Venture and Angel Funding, Private Equity and Strategic Investment, Debt Funding, Trade Finance, Mergers & Acquisitions, Corporate Restructurings, Financial Advisory and Strategic Alliances / Partnerships. We can understand Technologies and the Global Business Environments. Our industry experience helps us in Financial Re-engineering and hence are successful in evolving a workable business model suitable for both the industry and the investor community. We also help companies to evolve a scalable model in bringing in the right Strategic Partner and also help in mergers, diversification, divestment, NPA Companies, consolidation and acquisitions. BizzServer Financial Services was started in July 2009. We have helped some of the Start-ups in raising the seed and angel capital. To name a few: a) A Retail Chain in Bangalore in the Poultry Industry where they had their own hatcheries, processing plants, water treatment and ice plants, as well as feed mills. We had helped this Retail Chain in preparing a business model and put in the business plan, we had helped them to raise the initial seed / angel capital. b) A Software Product Ideation and Incubation Company. We had helped them in the initial stages to put the revenue model in place and were successful in getting the Angel Investors. c) A IT Product and Solutions Company. We had helped them in the initial processes and created a organization structure wherein we were able to successfully raise funds from Angel Investors. Our experience with most of the Start-ups are: The entrepreneurs who are the founders of Start-ups do not have the management and marketing experience, they do have a very good product idea but are not connected to businesses. Because of this, the prospective investors do not see value in the product idea, where as the founders feel that their product is the best. Most of the Start-ups require lot of handholding in the areas of finance, statutory compliance and arriving at the business & revenue model. These Start-ups once they receive the angel funds, they again require support in managing the funds as they are not in a position to priorities the spending and end up in investing in non-productive assets.

3 Piece Advice

a) Raise more money than you need, as the extra money would be required for the inevitable problems and hiccups that you didn't expect or plan for.
b) Identify and work on three main 'must have features' than working on 'too many' or 'too fancy' features.
c) Investors may suggest a course of action but ultimately you need to make your own informed decisions.  Do not be afraid to say 'No' to investors.

Common Challenges Startups Face
The challenges most of the Start-ups face are:
a) Attracting the right manpower as most of the resources would like to join an established company.
b) Managing with limited resources.
c) Lack of knowledge of statutory compliance.
d) Difficult to handle the Accounts & Finance.
e) Lack of awareness of  IP laws as to how to protect their product idea.
f) Fail to understand the Market.
g) Most of them are technocrats and do not have the management and marketing skills.

The biggest hurdle that entrepreneurs face to get access to capital are:
a) Lack of understanding of how to position their product idea.
b) They are not able to zero in on the target market, but would be focusing on a very big market.
c) Pricing of the product and the revenue model also place a key role in positioning the company.
d) The composition of Board of Directors and Advisors.
e) The Core Team and what are the retention policies.
f) The product road map.

My Advice If You are Starting Out
With respect to business plan, most of the entrepreneurs should focus on:
a) What are their own strengths and how they are going to increase the value of their product offerings.
b) They have to focus on the right sales strategies which would help them to reach out to the target market.
c) Their business plan should speak of the scalable model and what new strategies are adapted to increase the value to the customers.
d) The payback period should excite the investors.

We usually help the Start-ups in:
a) Creating a Story Board based on the SWOT analysis of the company and the product, services and solution offerings.
b) Understand the pricing policies and prepare the revenue model.
c) Connecting to the right strategic partner where both of them can leverage on each others strengths.
d) Build the core team which can help the company grow.
e) Understand the use of funds and evaluate the other alternatives available to maximize the return.

Our advise to entrepreneurs in writing their first business plan would be:
a) Good revenue model.
b) What are the sales & marketing strategies?
c) The Board of Directors, Advisors and the Core Team matters.
d) Product Idea and the product road map.
e) The VC should be convinced about the use of funds whether the funds are utilized efficiently and effectively.