We’ve been running the PALF – VilCap Edupreneurs Accelerator now for a month. The first workshop was in Hyderabad and it feels like no time at all, but I already find myself in Delhi for the second workshop, so I wanted to reflect a bit on first impressions of the Village Capital Peer-Review Model.
How did it play out so far?
The short answer: wonderfully.
All the entrepreneurs were so excited to provide peer feedback that we had to cut most conversations short to stay on schedule. The curriculum challenged the cohort to think critically about their business models and the peer review sessions helped them come up with solutions. By the end of our first four day workshop, people were happy to share their contacts and networks and went home with plenty to think about and work with before the Delhi session.
We’ve challenged our entrepreneurs to create milestones documents and we are holding them accountable to those goals they’ve set for themselves. Much of the real value of this curriculum comes during the interim time when everyone is back home and can re-work the exercises we put them through, test new hypotheses, iterate their product and take more time to think critically about building their business.
On Day 1 in Delhi, each team gave updates and all of them had found peer feedback to be helpful in re-working or re-communicating their business model. Other investors have come to me asking for first impressions to see who to keep an eye on, but after seeing how much can change in a month of our accelerator, it’s anyone’s guess who will be the most investable companies in another month. With the final rank coming up fast, the lower ranked companies have significant incentive to improve and communicate the improvement.
In Delhi we’ve done more nitty-gritty financial work and gone deeper into education-specific issues like pedagogy and measuring learning outcomes. Since this city is much bigger than Hyderabad, we were able to pull in many more helpful experts and mentors. Delhi’s schedule has been packed and feedback swift. Now that everyone understands the peer review framework, suggestions are targeted. I think we’ve managed to hit the right cohort culture with a general understanding of true vs. useful feedback, and what makes an investable company. If I had a start-up, I would be thrilled to have this much technical help and expert feedback in one room at one time.
The November 23rd Demo Day in Bangalore will showcase all of our companies at their best. Get in touch if you’d like to attend.