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Money Models, Passions and More: My Takeaways From Raaj Chatterjee

Hello everyone! My name I Naveena and I am currently a grade 11 student at Lester B. Pearson CI. On Thursday July 15, 2021, I had the pleasure to meet Raaj Chatterjee and attend his Illuminate Universe lecture. Raaj took a different route with his lecture. Instead of taking highway metaphorical or sentimental. He took the technical way. Raaj taught us about the numbers behind a business. But before we get into that I would like to go over the content he covered in the beginning of his presentation.

Before Raaj got into the mathematics of a business he spoke of his accomplishments and experiences.

Accomplishments and experiences

He told us about his time working in apple and dropped a “I did that” bomb. Raaj told us that he worked on the iPad and iPhone, the recycling robot and more. He told us that when he was working in apple, he got interested in computer science, and started to learn python; his boss came up to him and said that they are looking for someone to help with a specific project and noticed that he was into programming. Raaj said that he did not know much but he took the opportunity anyways, to challenge himself and grow in his career. Aside from working at Apple, Raaj worked at many other companies, until he founded and became CEO of Meaningful work. Raaj won a pitch competition, along with the victory he won a sum of money which allowed him to hire people for his company. He said that his company has a large team and is larger than most startups.

Similarly, to other speakers, Raaj talked about post-secondary and career choice. In this portion of his presentation, Raaj broadcasted the word “passion”.


Raaj said when choosing to do something, be it career choice, field of study, etc., think of your passions, likes and dislikes. If you are not passionate about an aspect of the field, you are going into then you are not going to like it. Raaj assured us those passions, likes and dislikes change, so if in the future we are no longer passionate about our current stance in the field we chose, we could always change it. The reason Raaj told us to choose our field based off our passion is because of his experience. All the experience that he accumulated throughout his years were because he was passionate about something and followed through with it. Raaj said that the more we can go out and create our own projects that relate to our passion, the more experience we are getting.

Money Model

Now here is where it gets technical/mathematical. A money model is not something that you can finish in one day. Is a strategic plan that starts out rough and become more detailed as you continue. Ideally you would want to start out rough and play around with your money model to discover any and all possibilities for your business. So everyday day or so, you will return to your money model and fill it with new or more detailed information to make it a bit clearer from where you left off. The cocktail napkin narrative is what Raaj provided us with to make our own money model:


  1. UNIT ECONOMICS Deconstruct a Single Transaction. (Revenue. Direct Costs. Gross Margin.): What’s your ability to make a profit in a single transaction and | or over a “Lifetime?”

  2. REPEATABLE OPPORTUNITY (BEACHHEAD MARKET?): Can these transactions be made “Repeatable?” “Recurring?” And “Replicable” in other Markets? Which one is your “Beachhead Market?”

  3. POSITIVE EARNINGS | POSITIVE CASH-FLOW (vs. TAM, SAM, SOM?): What are the revenue targets, sales volumes, and timing to register Positive Earnings, and Positive Cash-Flow? (These can be different milestones.) Are they achievable in the “Beachhead” market? What percentage of TAM, SAM, SOM does in require?

  4. GROWTH MULTIPLIERS | SCALING MECHANISMS: What are your internal “Units of Growth?” How can you multiply them? What are the strategic mechanisms to rapid, scalable growth in your market? How do you leverage?

  5. CAPACITY CONSIDERATIONS: Where do you face Capacity Constraints? How do you achieve Economies of Scale?

  6. CASH-FUNDING REQUIREMENTS: How much do you need? For how long? What for? What will it achieve - Your “Milestone Objective” at this time in your growth trajectory?

  7. TERMS, TIMEFRAME, TARGET RETURN: What’s in it for the investor? Potential return, over what timeframe, and under what terms?

  8. IMPACT: Define your purpose (why), your mission (how), and vision (what). What is the social/environmental impact you can create through your business? What is important to measure? How can you tell your story?


Challenge To be added later... I would like to thank Illuminate one again for giving me the opportunity to listen to Raaj’s lecture, and I would like to than Raaj for taking time out of his day to answer our questions and teach us about money modeling, and the Cocktail Napkin technique.

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