Why should I apply? Can’t I start by myself?
Arguments that can used to become a CEO rather than start by yourself are:
-If your own venture fails, there is opportunity loss of the increased salary income and significant performance incentives that you could have otherwise earned.
– You lose money you have invested if your venture fails
-Amount of capital backing your initiative will be very significant, something you could have not put in by yourself.
-When you try to become an entrepreneur, you are not aware of the universe of opportunities that lies outside your area of awareness which can give better returns than your idea. When you review readymade business plans, you get an opportunity to become aware of opportunities outside your skill sets too.
– You do not earn on the capital you park in your personal assets which you could have invested and diversified by investing in others’ plans. This capital lays idle for long time because you can only gradually put money in your own plan if it succeeds.
-You get to diversify your risk by investing in multiple opportunities as you can always co-invest with other investors. If you start by yourself, you end up putting all eggs in one basket.
-If you have capability to conceptualise two businesses, then you can increase your income by carrying out one under Become a CEO initiative and carry out other using our support along with your job.
-You can also invest in your own business plan under Become A CEO by co-investing with others who are interested. You still enter at face value, are an entrepreneur and can get a salary hike as a CEO too.
What is the typical compensation and performance based compensation? Will I be negotiating my compensation with Proactibutors or with investors and when will the negotiation take place?
You will be negotiating your compensation with Proactibutors during application process as well as annually too, if funded, as Proactibutors manages the companies on behalf of investment funds. We have given some guidance regarding setting compensation in the draft business plan that gets created. You can discuss your expectation right at the outset when you start discussing your plan with the consultant. There should be a match between salary, capital, skill sets, quality of business plan and performance based compensation. Our Consultants also review CEOs salary every year. A CEO’s compensation and variable is usually very good if they do a good job in their role.
What if I submit the plan and the plan gets funded to someone else with a lower salary?
We greatly value the experience and vision of the person drafting the plan and believe it is not easy to replicate the same. If you are at a higher salary then we try to allocate a higher initial capital so that your skills and salary can be well justified to create an attractive opportunity for the investor. Moreover, you can delete anything you have drafted at any point of time in case you do not feel secure or wish to back out. Just inform your consultant if you wish to back out.
What if some investor reviews the plan and starts by himself?
We limit the number of investors who view the plan and it is shared only with number of investors which are required to fund the plan. The plans cannot be downloaded or copied due to the way we set it. Also, we inform the investors that copy-pasting and downloading it is not allowed and not legal. However, it can be argued that some investor may understand the plan and start by himself without copying it which is possible as no law can prevent that from happening unless your plan has some unique information. However, it is usually not easy for someone to start a business in an area in which they do not have expertise. They can any ways start and own the business using your and our services.
How much and how does Proactibutors earn in this process?
Proactibutors charges nothing to applicants as well as investors as part of fundraising. It earns by providing ongoing consulting to the initiated businesses and our compensation is decided by investors as a part of bidding process where we involve only a certain number of investors in bidding as we do not make the plan public. Each business gets access to our network of consultants who take help from each other, investors, bankers and a lifetime access to our not for profit shared services from Proactibutors LLP for non full time requirements and resources which are best shared (at a price very close to labor cost, which might cost 2x – 10x of the labor cost from an external provider). A no objection clause is signed as part of agreements between the aspiring CEO and Proactibutors when entities are formed to ensure applicant does not have any concern with respect to Proactibutors’ compensation.
If I wish to start by myself using my money then you do not allow to compete with current employer but if I wish to apply as a CEO then it is allowed?
Yes, it is unethical and usually illegal to start a business competing with your current employer while you are working at your employer. Hence, we do not support that. However, if you are submitting a business plan then you have not yet started a business. However, please do not take any action of trying to get more information from your current employer’s resources in any way for the purpose of preparing the plan. The information you submit should be such that could have known even if you had changed your job or you would have said in an interview on being asked how do you plan to carry out your role.
Does the applicant CEO have to put in his own money to start the business before he receives funding?
No, our strict requirement is the applicant does not put in any of his/her own money and is not expected to leave his/her job before the funding is received. All risk is taken by the investor.
What if the business plan is with respect to a product where instead of business planning, tinkering and developing a product is crucial?
That could be possible. But business plans are anyways required. So develop the plan as much as possible and we/or investors would pay you for tinkering with the product if your current employment circumstances allow or get it outsourced because your employment agreements may have written that any unique product or designs developed by you during your employment term are property of your employer. Also, we will give you guidance on how to deal with the situation and your employer in this case.
I am currently at a very senior position and at a high salary. Will the funding received justify my salary?
One of our goals is to ensure the experience, skills and current salary of the applicant are justified by the funding received for the business he/she will lead and the overall opportunity of the business. Hence, we welcome senior leaders to apply too. We are looking for talent, skills, ability to lead and a business plan which can generate the highest return on equity for investors. So, you will be given a higher initial capital to justify your skills and salary.
I am in my late teens/ early 20’s. Are you sure I have a real chance at becoming a CEO?
Yes, why not? All applications are accepted on the merit of the business plan and leadership qualities.
What happens if the business is not successful? Isn’t the applicant putting his career at risk?
The significant capital usually ensures that the business continues functioning and hence the CEO’s salary is paid off. In case the business starts running out of cash, we approach private equity firms for capital infusion. We may also do an equity fundraise at BSE or BSE SME as loss making companies are allowed to do a fund raise. However, in the rare case that it is decided to stop the business or the business runs out of money, we provide full support to the employees to get placed within our ecosystem. With a CEO’s experience on the resume it is easy to get a job outside our network too.
If an applicant is rejected at any of the stage, can he submit a new proposal again in future?
Yes, applicants can submit their proposals any number of times. Just start discussing your proposal to consultant over Whatsapp.
Can an applicant submit more than one plan simultaneously?
You can discuss any number of initial proposals over WhatsApp with the consultant but it is not advisable to work on more than approved proposal at a time.
Are copied startup ideas allowed?
Yes, but the plan should be able to create a vision of what will make the business successful.
Are there any specific business areas you are looking for?
No. Our goal is to generate the highest return on capital and the same can come from any business area. If you observe companies listed on BSE/NSE, you will observe even traditional businesses get funding to scale. Hence we are open to all kinds of applications: traditional businesses as well as innovative ideas. Small, traditional businesses can generate good returns too. Hence, we are open to literally any proposals across any industry, requiring either small or large amounts of capital with the only criteria that it should be able to create a vision of decent return on investment for investors.
Can an applicant submit a plan in an area in which he does not have experience?
Yes as far as the plan creates a vision of success.
What is the minimum and maximum age of applicants?
The minimum is 18 years and there is no maximum age eligibility criteria.
Are there any educational qualification requirements?
I am still in college/doing post graduation. Can I still submit a proposal?
Yes. You can register and discuss your initial proposal with consultant over WhatsApp even if you are in your first year of college provided you are ready to leave college midway if your proposal gets accepted.
Can a funded CEO change jobs a few years down the line?
Yes, as far as the notice period is served, the CEO can leave. However, the applicant might lose unvested variable benefits he may have accrued as a CEO. Since the CEOs are already in a very favourable designation, they receive very good compensation increases annually provided the performance is good and hence many do not prefer to leave.
Is there a maximum time limit to submitting the business plan once the initial proposal is created/accepted?
No, there is no time limit but it is advisable to keep working on the same.
When does the applicant actually leave his current job?
The applicant is requested to leave his/her job only after an agreement is signed with the investors in which they agree to fund your salary for 2 years in case they back out within 6 months after asking you to leave your job. It is not necessary that the company would have been formed, a bank account opened and funding received. The legal contract effectively serves as a guarantee. We try to form the company and start company bank account as soon as we can but these are time consuming and long processes.
What business skills are required from applicants?
We understand applicants will not have business skills and knowledge in all required areas and that is why our presence is required. We give significant inputs on the sales, marketing, strategy and finance fronts and get paid external experts involved to improve industry and plan specific technical areas of business plan too. However, you need to gain as much knowledge as possible across all areas using our “Gain Business Skills” section and internet and display it in your plan and not be reliable on us even though we will be giving inputs on those fronts. In short, you have to give the best you can.
What leadership qualities are you looking for in applicants?
We look for qualities such as thorough and deep understanding of implications of work, resilience, courage, willingness to work hard, capability to lead, willingness and curiosity to learn, adaptability to change, helpfulness, gratefulness, humility, honesty, eagerness to absorb feedback and problem solving capabilities.
Is it guaranteed that the funding will be received once the business plan is finalised?
It usually does but this can never be guaranteed in case some plan specific market conditions change or there maybe some rare scenario where no investor likes your plan after repeated attempts at fundraising. In most cases it is just a matter of delay and does not mean that things will not work out.
How much time does it take to receive funding once a business plan is finalised?
You will be constantly informed about how things are working out with respect to this process but a finalised plan definitely stays on our list of opportunities available for investors till it gets funded.
Can I meet investors before funding?
Yes, investors will meet and interview you and there maybe a webinar where people submit questions before they bid on project and aspiring CEO and the Consultant together are required to answer questions to the audience of the webinar.
Do you fund running businesses?
No. We arrange for funding only at a business plan level for those businesses which we will consult. Investors are entrepreneurs in our world.