additional US$650,000 in venture-capital investment last August, and the following month his company started shipping its product.
Gramovox is no longer a ;edgling startup, but there are project management
strategies to be gleaned from the way Mr. Bapu developed his product despite a
de;cit of cash. ;ese ;ve strategies are relevant to startups and not-for-pro;ts—
and any other resource-strapped organization looking to execute high-stakes
projects with a small team and budget.
1) Leverage passion for the project.
What Mr. Bapu lacked in funding at the outset of his project, he made up for
by cultivating passionate stakeholders. He generated end-user interest in the
project by producing a teaser website showing o; the initial prototype. ;e site
was promoted by popular technology news websites, and soon Mr. Bapu had
collected thousands of email addresses of interested prospective customers.
;at list helped give him leverage with prospective vendors and contractors.
Some agreed to work for reduced or delayed pay. Mr. Bapu estimates that by
the time he received money from the crowdfunding campaign, his partners had
kicked in more than US$200,000 of unpaid labor. ;is included both donated
time and delayed pay.
Not every prospective partner o;ered discounts or ;exible terms, but Mr.
Bapu kept calling until he found those who would—including acousticians
who tested the horns in anechoic chambers, prototyping shops that produced
the horns, and manufacturers who would produce components for the ;n-ished product.
“I found people who really believed in the product, and who also believed in
what it could do for them down the road,” Mr. Bapu says. “When you’re starting out in the prototyping process, it’s very easy to drain all your money very
2014, Mr. Bapu
product at the
and won high-
“When you’re starting out in the
prototyping process, it’s very easy
to drain all your money very quickly.
Leverage what you have: your
passions and your determination.”