Manoj Govindan of Levvel IO

Manoj Govindan

VP – Corporate Development at Levvel IO

Manoj Govindan, VP for Corporate Development at Levvel International, a IT consulting company. He helped 100s of young VC-backed tech startups navigate and scale enterprise at two of the largest banks.


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I’m an engineer, by background, so at the core I’m inspired by helping people build new things. Even though I now work primarily with large bankers I still haven’t given up my engineering mindset.

Expert session

Tactic that has had the biggest impact on Manoj’s success

Using an advisory board for startups

Result if you follow the steps in Manoj’s session

Insight into the business practices of enterprises and how to position yourself to join their system as a startup company

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Expert session snapshot


Something that comes that dilutes that a little bit, so one is we should identify ways for these young companies to make sure that they are, they can recognize iteratively that they are on the right track towards the enterprise and a couple of ways to do that one.

As I mentioned, if you are venture backed, make sure that your board member from the venture capital firm that is investing in you has the relationships and can bring you in front of the relationships with the enterprises that they have relationships, because we buildrelationships, right?

Enterprises do, so we enterprises build relationships with VC firms, because they are a diligence and a filter to get in front of some of these young companies. They can go after every young company that’s popping up. So they have to find a way to filter it, VCs are one filter.

So that’s one thing that they can do is, if your VC backed you should try and identify the board member who can give you access to enough enterprise kind of leadership if you look technology leadership.

The second way to do it, if you are not VC backed or even if you are, additionally is to identify people in the technology network. Who are qualified to be board members, advisory board member to you early in your product lifecycle or service lifecycle?

So, advisory board members, being if you are focusing on one particular industry healthcare as an example, you want to make sure that there are enough folks who can be on your advisory board, who can give you insight into that industry. What are the regulatory hurdles that you have to jump through? What are typically the business questions that are asked of young companies before they enter? You know, stuff like that.

So all of that is answerable by these folks who, typically there’s an appetite, there are people within leadership positions in these enterprises who want to be on advisory boards of young companies. So there’s a whole matchmaking happening, where he’s saying how do we get you as a startup or a young company to get the advisory board members to advise you on how to navigate some of their industry.

So that, yeah, that would be a good, that would be kind of a good thing. Next step in terms of seeing how we kind of get in front of the right people, that’s how we make sure we’re not wasting time.

One of the things I warn, I typically warn young companies not to do, is very early on, they tend to want to get into a sales cycle, right? They want to mimic the large enterprises. And what typically happens is they’ll go out, you know, spend hundreds of thousands maybe millions of dollars of their heart in a raised money from these VCs or otherwise, and then invest that in the Salesforce from large vendors, IBM or Cisco, or VMware or whatever.

The challenge there is, those sales folks have zero idea on how to sell a small companies platform to a large enterprise. They are very good at being a big vendor salesperson. So they are right out of the gate. That is a wrong step.

You are essentially shooting yourself in the foot by having the sales folks so early in your product cycle. You know, messing up your, everything from your cash flow to your way, opportunity to market yourself right, the opportunity to discover the right business cases. All of that is lost out the door.

So I prefer that you prioritize getting the right VC board member, investing investor board member to advise you or build a customer advisory board to be able to help you kind of get in front of the right folks.

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