Three Reasons Why 2014 is Going to Be Awesome :)

Happy-New-YearThink 2013 was a fun and exciting year in technology? Wait till you hear why 2014 will be even more awesome for the technology and startup community. From larger and thinner mobile devices to gesture based navigation to new reforms in funding regulations, the new year will be by far the best ever.

Mobile and Touch Devices

“This will be the year of mobile” has been a headline of major publications for the past few years. What mobile means to our industry has not only changed from time to time but most people interpret it differently depending on their industry. Does it mean devices that can function without wires and are therefore mobile? Or does it mean devices that are small enough to put in our pockets? Or, since the first iPad, does mobile mean any device that doesn’t have a physical keyboard? Think about it, the last few questions pretty much summarized the past 6 years or so of mobile innovation. In that time, entire companies shifted markets while others perished due to their lack of innovation and adoption by consumers. Think Blackberry and Nokia. Think Windows mobile from Microsoft and iOS from Apple. Which one did better and set the standard for consumer expectation?

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2014 will definitely be an important year for mobile but with an emphasis on touch technology. Larger screens that can handle touch capabilities at a cheaper cost will become the norm. They will also be thinner and lighter. We are already seeing televisions at lower price points making them more affordable than ever before. At one point, “all-in-one” desktops were only known as being space savers with large displays. Then computer manufacturers introduced touch screens and most recently, began to include built in batteries making the all-in-one desktop yet another mobile device. Does a 23″ tablet sound crazy? Get used to it in the new year.

Gesture Based Navigation

Early in 2013 I was extremely excited to see a video from Leap Motion that promoted gesture based navigation for computers. It was as if I was using a miniature version of Microsoft XBOX Kinnect but for my computer and not games. I immediately pre-ordered a few to test. Soon thereafter, I saw Thalmic Labs’ video which showcased their latest innovation called, MYO. Unlike the Leap, MYO is an armband that helps you navigate in mid air. Now, that was truly amazing to imagine one being able to use their arms to control computers, drones and so much more. Could we call 2014 the year of wearable technology as well?

As we head into 2014, the gesture based navigation industry is going to be ever more competitive with more companies joining the effort. Naturally, price points will come down and new improvements will be made to the early technology. For some people, it will be akin to just a few decades before when the mouse was introduced for navigating computers and improvements made to the keyboard for input. 2014 may just eliminate the mouse as well as the physical keyboard. Now that would be truly awesome!

Crowdfunding and Startups

Jobs Act ObamaI personally have raised funding for my startup, Canvs+, from angel investors in 2013 but knew of other ways of fund raising as well. Most notably, crowdfunding made popular by such platforms as Indiegogo and Kickstarter. With the JOBS Act, more and more people will be able to not only fund projects but also invest in early stage companies. Before, only a few select people who met the requirements to be considered “accredited” had the ability to invest. As we head into 2014, new means of fund raising for startups may allow more entrepreneurs to build companies at a faster pace. Companies such as Return on Change, a platform for crowdfunding startups, will help in facilitating such investments. Go entrepreneurs!

2014 and my startup, Canvs+

I am very excited to be entering the new year with so much to expect within the field of technology. Canvs+ is looking forward to participating and leading the innovation in the field of enterprise software, mobile technology and gesture based navigation with a firm focus on design and visualization of data. Who knows, we may also take advantage of the reforms to raise crowdfunding. :)

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year full of exciting new innovations and amazing new breakthroughs. Let’s make it the best year ever! :)

 
Best,

Arjun Rai

founder + ceo, Canvs+

@arjunraime | @canvsco

31. December 2013 by Arjun Rai
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What I Have Learned Building My Startup, CANVS+ :)

What I Have Learned Building My Startup, CANVS+ :)The journey of building a startup to many seems daunting and unachievable. For me, it was very much the opposite. Over the past few months, since creating the first prototype and concept to the actual public release of our beta app, it’s been quite a journey to say the least. Pitching to over 100 people within the time span, only a few truly believed enough in the idea and even fewer decided to invest with their own capital during our first round of funding at Canvs+.

In this post, I wanted to share a few tips or pieces of advice I learned first hand by interacting with so many people from all walks of life. Many of whom I can call friends, mentors, investors, etc.

#1 Have a Conversation

For many people, a pitch session is a rehearsed performance that is to be repeated over and over again until someone finally likes the idea and wants to learn more. What I found, is that people are just people who want to have a genuine conversation about yourself, your idea, your background and most importantly, what makes you so passionate about your startup.

Some people during pitch meetings would even say, “hold off on the presentation deck and just tell me how are you doing?” That to me was shocking at first to hear that someone else wants to know more about me and my day. But thinking back, that’s the best way to analyze an investment opportunity or entrepreneur by learning more about their personality and background than merely the idea or startup itself.

So, over time, I became better at slowing down and having a “conversation” with that angel investor, venture capitalist etc.

#2 Ask for Recommendation and Harsh/Honest Feedback

It’s hard enough to schedule a meeting with a very high profile individual so why not make the most of that opportunity? This doesn’t mean asking for investment or a job/internship  in the first meeting even before you have gotten to know them. This goes back to point #1 about having a conversation.

If you are pitching a startup, ask for how well you did with your elevator pitch or presentation overall. Genuine feedback will always help you refine not only your product but yourself as an entrepreneur. I can personally attest to this as I have improved upon my pitching skills and making my presentations more concise. So what if that feedback was harsh? Don’t take it personally rather make a mental note of that and see if it truly had merit.

Towards the end of your meeting, ask for a recommendation to someone or a few people you should speak with for more feedback or advice. Use that opportunity to connect with others at the office you are meeting. If you are meeting someone at a coffee shop, then simply offer to come in at another time into the office to meet others.

#3 Connect with Humble and Down to Earth People. Period.

Over the past few years, I have gotten to know a lot of people from various industries and backgrounds and here is what I have found. People who show compassion, are down to Earth, humble and genuinely interested in helping others make the best mentors, investors, friends etc. Trust me on this one.

It’s important to surround yourself with people who care and don’t let their success get to their head. They care about their family and friends before making money. They choose to spend time with helping the next generation get ahead by giving advice and telling stories of how they succeeded themselves. They are approachable and genuinely interested in learning about you before telling you about themselves. Find such people within your lives because they are absolutely there.

What’s Next for Canvs+?

As I am writing this blog post, I know we have a lot of work to do in order to achieve the vision I have set for Canvs+. It’s a long term commitment for sure (just as any true loving relationship). I also know a few select beta members, ranging from students to startups to large corporations, have believed in the idea so much and are providing continuous feedback to help us iterate the app further. That means the world to me as I see what was once a simple drawing in Adobe Illustrator turn into an interactive Visual Project Management App that people are actually using. It’s like watching a baby grow up…

Hope you found the three tips useful. As a fortune cookie once said, “winners make their own luck.” Remember to always think positive, be humble and believe in yourself before asking others to believe in you and your idea. #Awesome :)

 

Best,

Arjun Rai

founder + ceo, Canvs+

@arjunraime | @canvsco

 

29. November 2013 by Arjun Rai
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Virtual Money. Digital Financial Transactions. Who’s Getting Left Behind?

Future of Money and DonationsCommerce and trade existed in some form or another since the earliest days of mankind. From bartering of goods for other goods to the exchange of paper money and coins, man has come a long way in creating a stable form of system to allow such exchanges to occur. But what is next? Who is getting left behind? I still carry a few dollar notes and coins today (nothing more than $20 or so) because several places around New York won’t take credit or debit cards when your total is below $10 (or $8 in some places).

But merchants aren’t the only people who can’t take payment or money via cards. How do you give money to a homeless person on the street? I still carry coins and bills for this. Wouldn’t it be incredible if donations in the future were also made entirely electronically? I think so…In the event someone did decide to donate to a homeless person electronically, security would be one of the most important elements. If we tackle that issue, how do we handle the issue of technology in that case? Do we give away free square devices with wireless connectivity so that people walking by could swipe their credit cards and choose exactly how much to donate? Interesting thought, right? Wouldn’t that be a step forward in modernizing the way people ask and receive donations from others.

For almost everything else, my handy-dandy plastic visa card is the way to go for now but do think about how we are evolving as a society. Who is getting left behind? How do we help everyone “modernize” with the times? :)

31. July 2013 by Arjun Rai
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