I had written this as an email to Batch 6 of The Morpheus. For those who don’t know, Morpheus is a startup accellerator which gives entrepreneurs some money and lots of mentoring to help them succeed.
I had applied for their 4 month program and made it in Batch 5. Since currently they are looking for the next set of startups, it seems a good time to share this list with others who are considering applying. It will hopefully give you some idea of what the program is like.
The Morpheus founders, portfolio entrepreneurs and limited partners are called the “gang”.
A warm welcome to the new gangsters. I thought it might be helpful for me to mention some of the things I did to make the most of the 4 months of The Morpheus (TM) program.
Other gangsters – do chip in with your thoughts.
1. The onus is on ME: Getting the most amount of value from TM is MY problem, not theirs. Don’t worry, they are very professional and involved, but I ALWAYS treated things like theonus lies on me to get the most out of these 4 months. That means I have more emails to Sameer/Nandini than to anyone else in my inbox in the last 6 months, that means I kept them updated on whatever I was doing, shared other stuff happening in my industry with them to bring them to the same page about my thinking. I won’t disclose how frequently I would call them.
2. Bad shit comes first – If anything went wrong, no point in hiding/postponing it – no shit is too big really, in retrospect.
3. Nothing is too trivial – Even if the matter is too small in my thinking, I would speak about it – and suddenly two good thoughts would change that as well and we would be on to something better. You can ask them for help on each and every thing. Copy them on emails – keep them on their toes – they should know where your business is whenever you talk to them. Over-communicate – even overload them – its their problem, not yours. :)<
4. I ignored the non-believers. Here is the thing: when I went out initially and told people I had given up x% for 5lakh + advice, people would politely call me stupid/dumb/foolish. It didn’t feel good to have to defend your stance – bootstrapping is bad, what value they bring? what contacts they have? what successful exits have they made etc? It would cause you to doubt stuff. Fuck that shit – honestly, if you do number 1 well, you’ll get more than the worth of your equity. So I stopped worrying and started focusing on my business.
5. Talk to other gangsters – the gang keeps getting bigger and bigger and has some really high quality entrepreneurs with long term thinking. Use them. Instead of Sameer and Nandini, I would sometimes call them directly for help and tips (great for recommendations for outsourcing various things, how they built their team, getting PR contacts etc.)
6. Use the gang mailing list – check out grexit shared infobase and if doesn’t have the required info, just email. I think overall I could have done this better – crowdsourced help from various gangsters.
7. Feel free to call Sameer/Nandini when you are down. Lows will come for everyone. I would try to get to speak to them – helped keep things in perspective.
8. Meet them in person whenever they are in town – these guys keep travelling – try not to miss catching up with them in person. Always helps. When a retreat is happening (the last one happened in Goa) do make sure that you attend.
9. Use their networks – I can’t count how many intros I got through them. I would simply pick up the LinkedIn profile of someone I wanted to connect to and ask Sameer/Nandini to do an intro for me. Sometimes Sameer would add unknown people and they would come round to talking to me. If you know someone a little bit or are meeting people outside, have a chat – useful to get their perspective on people in the industry. There are too many red-herrings in startup world – bad tech companies/ex employees, fake mentors/angels/VCs etc. – why make the mistake which they or someone else in the portfolio has made. But I take it all with a pinch of salt – I am the entrepreneur and ultimately it is my responsibility to make my business succeed.
10. Pivoting is fine – let go a little bit.
All these points become all the more important since you’ll be competing with 10 more startups for their attention. So, go ahead and eat their heads out.
BONUS point – Do try to reach out to Sameer, Nandini, other gangsters etc. and offer help, share knowledge, interesting articles, and your connections with them, participate in gangemails. If you’ve come this far, you’d know the strong network effect of 60+ entrepreneurs is one of the key strengths of TM. Do try to contribute as much as possible.
If I or any other gangsters can be of help to you, just shoot me/them a email.
As usual, we shared this mail on the gang mailing list and some additional points came out.
These points were made by Jay at @sutralite
*dont be afraid to disagree with them both, if you’re sure about your point. Try your luck, nothing wrong in it. Prove them wrong OR see their words come true and acknowledge it.
*take full advantage of the gang by using them as trial users of your product/service, esp during pre-launch phases.
*Whenever possible, do include a discount for gang members – as long as you can afford it. :)—————-
Hope this is useful. If you want to get more perspective, or discuss any aspect of the Morpheus program, leave a comment below.
Best of luck to all those who are applying.
You can follow me on Twitter – @singlaank
You can read other entrepreneurship related posts here.