I run a startup, but I'm not sure why I should attend Proto?
The audience at the event will consist of a mix of entrepreneurs, investors, media, technology professionals, industry associations, bloggers etc. Some startups may want to reach out to investors (VCs, angels), while some may be there for publicity; some might be scouting around for prospective partners or collaborators, while for others, this may just be a networking opportunity. At the end of the day, we do realize that capturing a sizeable mindshare is important for any startup - either funding, or simply attracting your first base of users, Proto would be a platform to leverage.
I am not a company, but would like to attend the event. How can I register?
Registrations for delegates and attendees on June 15th. Right now, the participating startups can file their nominations.
I have a really great idea and I'm sure it will succeed. I'd like to present it to the VCs.
We expect a sizable presence from investors (VCs, angels, fund managers) at Proto, so this could be your opportunity. While proto.in is not a business plan competition, you should present your case to investors in a manner that is convincing. What you present will depend on what your objectives are. You should prepare a pitch that best serves your objective, in the best convincing form.
What is the selection criteria for selecting the startups?
The startups will be evaluated by a team that understands technology and is a proven trend spotter. They are likely to look for things like the originality or innovation in your product, the executional excellence that your product delivers, your go-to-market strategy, the drive and motivation of the team, the competitive scenario in your respective space etc, before they make a decision. And remember, in case you are not short listed, this does not mean you didn't deserve it. Its possible that there were others who had a more compelling case than yours.
When will I get to know which are the companies that has made the final cut of 30 companies?
The startups that are short listed will be informed in advance but that information will not be made public. This is to maintain continued interest and ensure that nobody gets to steal the thunder from the startups, when they are demo their stuff on the D-day.
What about accommodation and travel arrangements for outstation participants?
Outstation participants have to make their own arrangements for accommodation and travel. In case you need help in knowing about good hotels, please write to us; we will help you to the best of what we can.
Do the participating startups have to pay any registration fees?
You do not have to pay anything at the time of filing your nomination; in case you are selected amongst the final 30, you shall have to pay a non-refundable fee of Rs 10,000/- Please check the registration page for more details.
I want to attend Proto as a attendee. Is there an entry fee? When will the registrations open?
Yes. There is an entry fee of Rs. 1000. The Registrations will open on June 15th.
We are a company that presented during last Proto. How can I get involved with Proto?
Well, Proto is very much a forum for entrepreneurs. We would very much like to encourage our past Proto-ians (those who presented in the previous edition) to actively participate and interact with the companies that would be presenting this year and also with the other players in the ecosystem. If you presented in Proto, you are always welcome back, and the entry fee will be waived. Get in touch with us, and let us know in advance.
FAQs for Selected Startups
I nominated last year, but was not short listed. Can I nominate again?
As long as you were not one of the companies that presented amongst the final 30 at the first edition of Proto (held in Jan '07), you can nominate. You can also nominate if you did present in the last event, but you have a different product this time. This is subject to the judgment of the selection committee, whether to allow or not.
Is it true that the selected companies must necessarily demo the product and not just show a PowerPoint presentation?
We suggest that you make a pitch which maximizes mindshare and gets interest to follow-up. If you think demoing your product will make the best impact, go right ahead and do it. If you feel that 6 minutes is too short for a demo, maybe you could make a compelling presentation using a recorded video of the product as an accompaniment while you explain the product vision and functionality. In the end, its your call. Also, you are free to distribute any material to the audience, to explain your product better.
Our startup is in a very tight startup mode. Can you please waive the registration charge?
Unfortunately we can't. We are not professional event organizers. We are a non-profit organization and there is no financial benefit for any of us. The registration fees will pay for the cost of running the show. We are doing this because we want to give startups a pedestal to stand on, in an environment that is not geared towards creating innovative products. At Proto, you are likely to get counted amongst India's most promising tech startups. You will be exposed to investors, technologists, professionals et al, besides getting coverage from mainstream/online media. That's more than a reasonable 'bang for your buck'.
6 minutes is way too short. I need more time to demo my exhaustive product.
Not really; remember the story behind the elevator pitch? If you have something compelling, 6 minutes is enough to get your message across. We wished we could give more time per slot but unfortunately that's the best we can allocate. Off course, you would have to rehearse beforehand and make sure that you can tell your story in the given time.
Can I have a copy of my initial submission/ nomination. It was a direct form on the web and I did not keep a copy.
Contact the organizers; you will be forwarded a soft copy of your nomination form.
Can you help us with our presentation for Proto.in?
We will have a dry-run for all the selected startups one day before the main event, where some experts will sit through your rehearsal and give you feedback about your pitch, your delivery style etc. But you'll have to do the preliminary work yourself.
The companies that will be presenting before the audience will be contacted much earlier before the event and we will work together, along with our supporting organizations to help make your pitch and delivery.
I've been selected to present - what facilities will be available to me? Do I need to bring a laptop? Can I access the internet?
We will provide you a LCD projector, access to the internet and 6 minutes to show to the world what you have. You are free to bring along anything else you may need to make a compelling case.
My presentation requires specialized hardware - how do I present a demo?
You are free to bring along anything you require for your demo as long as it doesn't break the stage or crack the building. You should check with the organizers beforehand.
Am I allowed to bring along material (brochures/CDs/demo copies) that I can distribute to the attendees before the event?
You are free to do that, no worries.
What about the Q&A following the presentation? Is that included in our presentation time or some extra minutes are allocated for that?
Given the feedback from our previous event, and based on the executive-category of audience that is showing interest in attending proto, we are considering of opening up for one or two questions at the end of presentations to help mount the interest in the companies and to take the conversation further.
We are working out the logistics in terms of time and will finalize this as the event draws closer.
In case some participating startup gets funded by investors post proto.in, would the organizers get involved in that process?
No; if that happens, we would be happy for you, but we shall have no official role to play nor promise in any ensuing developments. That said, we will do our best to network you with the right people.
What about IPR implications of showing of my product at proto.in? Will you guarantee that my intellectual property rights will not get violated?
We do not take any responsibility for maintaining your product's IPR. That's your responsibility. Please take your own precautions and ensure that what you show/share at the Proto is meant for public consumption only. We do ask for companies with a product or prototype to come for Proto with the understanding that if you have the product already built, you are already at the verge of releasing the service for public consumption, in return opening up for competition. That said, please do not disclose any confidential information, trade secrets or patentable algorithms withou the necessary legal safety measures.
Are there any awards or prizes to be won at proto.in for the best product/technology or for the most compelling demonstration etc?
No, there are no winners or losers at proto.in; this is just a platform to showcase exciting technologies and products.
FAQs for Investors
What is the usual profile of companies that are staged at Proto.in?
Proto is very much focused with the mandate and agenda to leverage startup companies and to provide them with visibility and in creating the mindshare among consumers and the audience. Most of these companies are looking at early stage funding, or in some cases for partners and for their first clients.
I represent a VC Firm. How can I get involved with Proto?
Drop us an email through the contact form and we'll get in touch with you and touch base.
I am an Angel Investor/HNI looking at early-stage startups. How do I participate?
Do get in touch with us through the contact form. We would very much welcome you to Proto.in