For this week’s One Million by One Million roundtable, we started off by announcing a new deal through which the 1M/1M-Persistent Systems partnership has decided to back Indian company, OrangeScape.
So the first company I want to discuss is OrangeScape, before I move on to the presenters. OrangeScape positions itself as an Application Platform As A Service (APaaS) provider, and has some marquee customers in India including Unilever, Citibank, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Sterlite. They will now be leveraging the 1M/1M-Persistent channel to go to market in the United States.
What caught my attention as I started working with OrangeScape is their proven ability to plug a distinct gap in Google’s enterprise solution. As you know, the Google productivity apps portfolio is getting very good traction within enterprises, and through our Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing series, we’ve heard from various CIOs who are moving from Lotus Notes or Microsoft Exchange to Google’s Office suite. One of the primary drivers of the switch is cost. A second is collaboration.
Currently, when enterprises switch to Google’s productivity suite, they still need to make provisions to move the large portfolio of home grown long tail productivity apps that have been developed around the previous system – Lotus Notes or Microsoft Exchange. And in comes the Google App Engine as Google’s offering in this context.
Well, it turns out that to port long tail productivity apps to Google’s App Engine is a somewhat cumbersome job, and requires a lot of custom development. Building new apps is also not as simple.
The long tail apps can easily be ported to or developed on Google App Engine in a third of the time and cost using OrangeScape as an application platform. Voila, the entire productivity suite of an enterprise can become cloud-ready, quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively!
I have long been a champion of Indian product companies, urging the entrepreneurs to think beyond labor arbitrage and outsourcing. Today, I am thrilled to see that OrangeScape is emerging as a promising player in the Indian startup firmament, and reaching for global market penetration.
Next, Paul Croskrey with OBM Global pitched the Multi Angular Force Generator (MAFG), an alternative energy startup aiming to provide off-grid power. The MAFG claims to create huge amounts of horsepower and torque, enough to drive the largest generators made today. The MAFG Thermal Reactors utilize thermal storage tanks heated to high temperatures to produce steam allowing it to run a variety to operations ranging from waste purification to running steam turbines making electricity.
Paul says that he wants commercial operations to use this off-grid power supply, and help companies like Wal-Mart save costs. Wal-Mart, in fact, is interested in testing the module at one of their warehouses.
Paul’s bottleneck, however, is validation. He needs some knowledgeable and credible people to validate that the technology for which OBM already has issued patents, works, or at least has the potential to work. No investment is possible without that validation, whether it is government grants (and there is quite a bit of that available for clean energy projects) or angel or venture capital. It is not possible for financial investors to gauge the viability of this technology without some help from scientists and researchers.
I advised Paul to find a scientist with enough credibility in this field, and invite him/her as a cofounder / Chief Scientist. This is an essential step that will be necessary for Paul to take. It is squarely in his critical path, blocking all sorts of financing options, and unfortunately, he cannot really make progress with this venture without some external financing. It’s simply a capital-intensive business that needs money.
Finally, Marcos Menendez presented Momares, a nifty piece of technology to help small businesses market themselves through coupons delivered through opt-in SMS subscriptions. For his go-to-market strategy, Marcos has identified the Bowling Center market. He says that Bowling Centers are a booming sector, but they have a very specific problem: they lack traffic during weekdays. Well, Marcos, using his technology, believes he can increase weekday utilization by 200% – a very bold and robust ROI value proposition. I asked him to create a couple of success stories to validate the assumptions, and then do a very focused PR campaign in the Blowing Center industry.
Of course, the solution applies to a much broader set of small business customers, making this an attractive business opportunity. I recently did a story on 3CInteractive that has built a $40M business based on a similar value proposition, but catering to large enterprises.
Someone from the audience asked how Momares differs from Groupon. Well, to get the discount on Groupon, consumers have to do some work – recruit other consumers – whereas Momares offers a straightforward opt-in coupon to your favorite business, whether it is a spa, a restaurant, or a bowling center.
Bottom line, I like this business!
Sramana Mitra is the founder of the One Million by One Million (1M/1M) initiative, an educational, business development and incubation program that aims to help one million entrepreneurs globally to reach $1 million in revenue and beyond. She is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and strategy consultant, writes the blog Sramana Mitra On Strategy, is author of the Entrepreneur Journeys book series and Vision India 2020. She has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.