07 Aug 2013

John Mullins

Mukesh Bansal was about to make a presentation he had spent ten years preparing for. This pitch would determine whether Bansal would receive the required investment to grow his entrepreneurial company by putting his business plan under scrutiny.

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Mukesh Bansal took a deep breath. He’d spent more than ten years preparing for the presentation he was about to give, and he hoped his preparation would serve him well. Intent on starting and successfully growing an entrepreneurial company, Bansal, following his graduation from the Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur, had left his native India for the entrepreneurial hotbed of Silicon Valley in California.

In 2006, Bansal had returned to Bangalore, India’s own entrepreneurial hotbed. There, he reconnected with some former schoolmates who brought complementary skills and started Myntra Designs, a company which, like VC-backed companies Zazzle and CafePress in California, would offer personalised goods – T-shirts, coffee mugs, and much more – to India’s growing cadre of internet-savvy consumers.

Bootstrapping the business with funds he had saved in California, Bansal incorporated Myntra in November 2006, launched a beta website in May 2007, and, on the strength of promising initial results, successfully raised additional funds from some business angels in September 2007. In January 2008, the fledgling business took in RS 2 lacs in revenue, about $4,000, and Bansal believed he’d shown enough traction to support a real market launch and to raise serious money. By April, $400,000 had been committed of what Bansal hoped would be a $4 million round from one or more major venture capital firms, whose coffers were overflowing with investable money from western sources. A few days earlier, he had secured a meeting with Indo US Ventures, a relatively new venture capital firm, whose founder, Vani Kola, had also built her entrepreneurial career in Silicon Valley, having started and successfully sold two ventures there.

In just under an hour, Bansal and his team were due in Kola’s office to pitch for the rest of the money they needed at this point. “Was Myntra a backable business,” Bansal wondered? “Did the business plan he had prepared effectively articulate what he saw as significant upside potential? Was there anything therein that was confusing, inconsistent or unclear?” He would know more about the answers to these questions very soon.

To read the case study in full, email innovation@london.edu

About John Mullins

John Mullins is an Associate Professor of Management Practice in Marketing and Entrepreneurship at London Business School.

He teaches on the following programmes: