Concordia University

Revealing the secrets of venture capital collaborations

JMSB Alumni Chapter panel discussion will examine all there is to know about venture capital financing
April 12, 2018
By Daniel Bartlett

What’s the best way to raise venture capital for a startup? How do venture capital transactions ensure the interests of all parties are considered? What does a venture capital firm look for in a company and an entrepreneur?

The John Molson School of Business (JMSB) Alumni Chapter, in collaboration with the Young Canadians in Finance Montreal, will host a panel discussion on April 19 titled Venture Capital: The 4 Ingredients of Success. The event, at Concordia’s John Molson Building, will bring together panellists active in the Montreal venture capital community to consider the criteria for a successful investment.

Aditya Pendyala, MBA 13 Aditya Pendyala recently raised $16.5 million in Series B venture capital for his Internet of Things data analytics company Mnubo.

Aditya Pendyala, MBA 13, is one of the speakers participating in the evening’s event. He is founder of Mnubo, an Internet of Things data analytics company. Pendyala recently raised $16.5 million in Series B venture capital for the startup. He previously secured $6 million in Series A funding.

“The process was actually quite exciting in a lot of ways because you’re able to share your passion, your vision and your strategy with other stakeholders — who are equally excited about the opportunity and potential,” Pendyala says. “The ability to align people with a clear vision requires all parties to perceive joint value.”

He decided to participate in the panel discussion at Concordia because he feels there aren’t enough forums or conversations that share the pains, struggles and successes of this matchless collaborative journey.

“To make a successful startup requires entrepreneurship, but it also requires investors, an ecosystem, employees, talent and universities,” Pendyala explains. “This is a good forum to arrange that sort of collaborative discussion.”

From Nortel to Mnubo

Pendyala began his career as an engineer at Nortel Networks Corporation, yet quickly realized he is much more effective working for a small team in a high-impact setting. This realization led him to leave Nortel and join two startups — iBwave Solutions and Blueslice Networks — during the early years in his career.

It was while at Blueslice that he discovered he enjoys the challenges that come with product management and building go-to-market strategies. Pendyala shifted roles and became a product manager. He was a key part of the product management team for one of the business lines when the company was acquired by Tekelec in 2010.

“I still hadn’t gotten over my startup fix, so I needed to get back,” Pendyala recalls. “I decided to sit in the garage with some of my current co-founders, who were my colleagues at Blueslice, and we came up with the concept around Mnubo.”

The idea to create Mnubo came about when Pendyala and his colleagues noticed they were working in a space where many machines were connected to the cloud. After developing management software for these machines, they realized they were generating a lot of data and no one was tapping into its true potential.

“The goal was to help harness the power of data from these smart machines,” Pendyala says. “Now we’re in this wonderful world of Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and big data analytics — and we are using these technologies to help companies extract business value from smart equipment data.”

‘Understand your customer’s needs’

Pendyala says pursuing his MBA at Concordia was one of the smartest decisions he’s made in his academic career. The school’s close ties to the business community and the practical nature of its MBA program most appealed to him.

“The syllabus was well adapted to real-world business problems,” Pendyala says. “I learned lots of concepts, notions and frameworks that helped me actually synthesize an initial business plan.”

While Pendyala thinks he still has much to accomplish before he can be considered a leader in the industry, he does have advice for students who want to develop a startup.

“Spend time to understand your customer — and really understand your customer’s needs,” Pendyala says. “Be humble enough to recognize that you may not have the solution to the problem. Just the fact that you’re able to understand, articulate and appreciate the problem better than others puts you in a better situation to address it.”

Venture Capital: The 4 Ingredients of Success takes place April 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. on the 9th floor of the John Molson Building (MB), 1450 Guy St., Montreal. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and tickets cost $15.


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