Meetup – Thursday 16th October 2014
Any entrepreneur who grows a business from a standing start to a successful exit has taken a considerable journey. Their accumulated insight and experience is worth paying attention to. So is what they do next. Sanjay Parekh has taken such a journey and is here to talk about his experiences and exactly what he is doing next.
Our demo slot will be filled by another fascinating Yorkshire business, firmly focused on international markets and international resources. Simon Holland from Barefoot Lightning Ltd will lift the lid on the global opportunity that exists within the growing mobile space.
Sanjay Parekh: From SaaS to Hardware – Lean Lessons Learned
Sanjay will take us through his entrepreneurial journey highlighting the lessons learned through his 14 year career in the technology industry. He’ll cover the highs and lows of starting, running and selling a SaaS business and will bring us up to speed on how he and the team at Cocoon are crowdfunding their first production run and how they are applying the lean startup principles to their hardware startup.
Sanjay is an experienced entrepreneur. Having started his career as a chartered management accountant in the oil and gas industry, he quickly moved into the City to support trading in equities and derivatives in investment banking. In 2000, Sanjay left the City to start, with two others, a SaaS business in the financial software sector. After a difficult start, Sanjay and the team grew the business consistently over many years. This resulted in many brand name clients and a staff of 25. Sanjay successfully exited the business in 2013 after selling in 2012. During his final year, Sanjay left the business with annual revenue growth hitting 40%.
Since March 2014, Sanjay has teamed up with fellow Yorkshire entrepreneur, Dan Conlon, to bring Cocoon to market, a disruptive hardware startup in the home security market.
Simon Holland: Barefoot Lightning Ltd – Empowering small-holder farmers to make smart decisions
Our main product is a mobile based decision support system for farmers’ in developing and emerging economies. We also have associated products for extension (field) workers, inputs retailers and agribusinesses.
We have a new hardware product which is pre-patent but we may be able to give a quick viewing if we can get permission from our University development partner.
Simon has had a distinguished career in strategy consulting before he jumped ship to leverage his knowledge to problems in developing and emerging economies. His first foray into this World was working on the ground with a number of NGOs in Latin America and Asia, to supply organic produce to Europe.
This experience helped him to realise that there was a massive disconnect for knowledge and information flowing in both directions from farmers to NGOs and Agribusinesses and vice versa. Over ten years ago he set out to change this, initially via PCs in kiosks in remote locations before coming to leverage the power of mobiles.
Since then he has been co-opted as a committee member for IT in Agriculture for the prestigious Planning Commission of India and designed and built a National Pest & Disease Surveillance System as part of a UN FAO project for the government of India amongst other projects.
He now focusses on empowering farmers with the knowledge to take their own effective decisions in their fields through powerful decision support systems on mobile phone platforms.