This blog post is a short summary of Jinal Jahaveri's episode. Jinal is an engineer turned entrepreneur and also an investor. He is founder and chairman of the company «SchoolMint» (https://www.schoolmint.com) , as well as a venture partner at Runa Capital (global venture capital firm: https://runacap.com).
We will talk about SchoolMint and its history as a company, Jinal’s current work at Runa Capital and also discuss some pieces of advice for founders.
SchoolMint is a company that helps schools manage the process of student recruitment, enrollment and retention. SchoolMint has been used by 16,000 schools and more than 9 million students.
The idea of SchoolMint stemmed from Jinal’s observation that the process of student admission and selection was extremely cumbersome and inconvenient. Since there were no solutions to this problem, he built one himself.
Jinal and his wife founded the company in 2013 raising capital from multiple VC firms, including Runa Capital. Moreover, they were also part of the Imagine K12 Incubator, which is now a part of Y Combinator (Y Combinator provides seed funding for startups. You can reed more on: https://www.ycombinator.com). Via this incubator they had the opportunity to pitch the product to several Bay Area schools and get their first customers and also receive a 100k dollar investment.
Jinal successfully ran SchoolMint from 2013-2014. During this time the company was growing by 100% year after year. Attempting to raise a series B round of funding Jinal received an acquisition offer he could not refuse. The offer was
accepted and SchoolMint was acquired by Hero K12 (cloud-based student behaviour management software for schools. Website: https://www.herok12.com).
You can reed more about the history of SchoolMint on their personal website, they have a very nice Infographics there.
Work at Runa Capital:
After selling SchoolMint, Jinal went to work at Runa Capital, where he still is today. Coincidentally, Runa Capital was SchoolMint's leading investor.
Now Jinal helps Runa’s portfolio companies with raising money, expanding sales and marketing, adding executives, brainstorming different ideas, m&a strategies, technical issues, and connecting them with other entrepreneurs.
Along with his other partners Jinal also scout and examine startups in order to see which ones are worth investing in. Since his background is in B2B, SAS, and education companies and Runa also mostly focuses in named sectors, special attention is paid to those types of startups, during the scouting process.
In addition to being a venture partner at Runa Capital, Jinal also does some angel investing on the side.
Advice for founders:
In the episode Jinal also disseminates invaluable pieces of information that founders should know.
1. For instance, Jinal suggests that aiming for an exit from day one is quite a bad idea. Instead he argues that in the early stages companies should only focus on making their customers happy, because happy customers will help startups attract more clients and capture the market. He also states that it is a bad idea because it distracts founders from finding product market fit and from
improving the product.
Jinal also recommends that the best way for an entrepreneur to contact him, if they want an angel investment would be through his network or if the entrepreneur knows someone in his network.
The second best way to contact him regarding an angel investment, would be to message him on LinkedIn with a quick rundown of what the company is about and how much you are trying to raise.
Three most important points a founder should include in his pitch deck:
a simple explanation of what your company is solving;
a projection of how big the company can become;
a justification of why you are the right team to solve this problem.
4. Presentation red flags:
Jinal contends that some of the biggest red flags during a pitch deck presentation is when founders lack the ability to articulate the problem they are solving, the market for such problem, and how they are going to get customers.
Another red flag Jinal points out is founders that lack passion for their product or are too arrogant to take any feedback. He believes that startups should get their first customers as soon as possible in order to get feedback.
5. Furthermore, Jinal advocates that in order to get their first investment founders should try to introduce themselves to investors before raising money, build relationships, get investors excited with what they are building and continually update them on progress made and only then ask for an investment.
This blog post was written by : Luis Bravo.