August 26, 2016

Making Indian Entrepreneurship More Desi

Writing in Founding Fuel, Baba Prasad, CEO of Vivekin Group who teaches entrepreneurship in B-Schools, bemoans the fact that a lot of the students would like to emulate the founders of companies like Facebook and Amazon and do not even bring up names like Narayana Murthy of Infosys or Azim Premji of Wipro, leave alone like Laxmanrao Kirloskar or Jamsetji Tata. "So, if business models for Indian entrepreneurs are fashioned in the West, and business heroes are not Indian, the question comes up: What is Indian about the Indian entrepreneur?," he asks.

According to the article, the crux of an Indian Entrepreneur is:
1. Balancing profit-making with the burdens it is imposing on society and the benefits it can deliver to society
2. The entrepreneur is solving problems, that are not uniquely Indian, but the scale is Indian. 
Contrasting the Western/Capitalist model and a not-too-practical Gandhian/Socialist model, the author provides Aravind Eye Hospital as a balanced template for the new Indian model:
Aravind Eye Hospital, established in 1976 in Tamil Nadu by the visionary Dr G. Venkataswamy (popularly called Dr V), is an excellent example of such blending. Over the last 40 years, it has performed millions of screening tests and hundreds of thousands of cataract surgeries. The unique business model draws on a for-fee model to fund its free services. The problem of eye care is not uniquely Indian, but the scale of the problem is definitely Indian. And Aravind Eye Hospital’s business model makes the solution for eye care a typically Indian blend of the Promethean and Gandhian models.

A characteristically Indian model would be one that alongside profit-making considers the burdens it is imposing on society and the benefits it can deliver to society. It is a tough ask, and it is individually negotiated with each entrepreneur finding his or her own balance through self-scrutiny is the one who will be truly free and capable of innovation.
Venture Intelligence is the leading provider of data and analysis on private company transactions, valuations and financials in India. 

Click Here to learn about Venture Intelligence products that help entrepreneurs Reach Out to Investors, Research Competition, Learn from Experienced Entrepreneurs and Interact with Peers. 

Includes the Free Deal Digest Weekly Newsletter: India's First & Most Exhaustive Transactions Newsletter.

August 11, 2016

Lessons from Yahoo & Jabong Exits: Suvir Sujan of Nexus Ventures

Extracts from Suvir's recent blog post on how entrepreneurs & investors should determine timing of a strategic sale.

1. People - There is fatigue or lack of passion at the founder or leadership level.  Or  it is hard to attract or retain key talent in the company. Or there is a strong disagreement amongst the various stakeholders on the way forward.

2. Approach - The approach to solving the problem is either not working or not scaling. Revenues cannot scale without scaling costs proportionately

3. Market - The market is either not large enough, or the competitive dynamics in the market puts pressure on current business model

Venture Intelligence is India's longest serving provider of data and analysis on Private Company Financials, Transactions (private equity, venture capital and M&A) & their Valuations in India.

May 06, 2016

8 Rules for building Great Products

In a Medium blog, Mitchel Harper shares his thoughts on what makes great products.

1. BFBC - Build For your Best Customers

They bring you most revenue and are willing to pay for upgrades and newer products. Give a higher weight age for their feedback.

2. Solve Tier I Problems

Tier I - One of top 3 problems of potential customers. If  you are solving a Tier I problem you will have the Customers' attention and budget spend. The rest are Vitamins - "nice to have fixed" problems.

3. Build 'simple to understand' products

Design is your most important feature. Every time the user experience is great, a startup's revenue grow like weed.

4. Make a cupcake

Most startups try to build the wedding cake (the big final product) on their first iteration instead of starting small with a cupcake, then turning it into a cake (based on customer feedback) and then finally into a wedding cake (again, based on customer feedback).

4. Prioritize Customer Feedback and make Themed releases

Instead of a sprinkle of small improvements, you will be making one big improvement which will be felt by more customers.

5. Outsource non-core activities

Startups have a better shot at winning when they are extremely focused on a single mission — and anything that gets in the way should be delegated. Necessary business processes that doesn’t differentiate you from your competition should be outsourced to an agency or third party provider. 

6. Manage costs & runway

When you build anything new, it’s tempting to just think about the initial cost to build, source or manufacture the product. What trips most founders up, though, is the ongoing cost to sustain that product once it’s live. Great products takes years of iteration based on customer feedback to generate that kind of revenue, which of course needs to be funded from somewhere — either profits or investors.

7. Be ruthless in tracking metrics

Running a startup is like flying a plane. If you can’t read the instruments, even for a few minutes, the plane probably won’t be flying for much longer.

Venture Intelligence is the leading provider of data and analysis on private company transactions, valuations and financials in India. 

Click Here to learn about Venture Intelligence products that help entrepreneurs reach out to Investors, Research Competition, Learn from Experienced Entrepreneurs and Interact with Peers. Includes the Free Deal Digest Weekly Newsletter: India's First & Most Exhaustive Transactions Newsletter.

May 05, 2016

What is Great Design? - Illustrated in 3 Doodles

In a Medium Blog, Julie Zhou, VP - Product Design at Facebook shares (pun intended) a few doodles on what is Great Design. She calls it as the congruence of high "Positive Utility" and lotsa "Customer/User Love"



The Ambition Hierarchy of Designers


Catch the 3rd Doodle here

We've been getting our hands dirty at trying to get well designed infographics on Venture Capital & Private Equity. You can catch the stories here

Venture Intelligence is the leading provider of data and analysis on private company transactions, valuations and financials in India. 

Click Here to learn about Venture Intelligence products that help entrepreneurs Reach Out to Investors, Research Competition, Learn from Experienced Entrepreneurs and Interact with Peers. Includes the Free Deal Digest Weekly Newsletter: India's First & Most Exhaustive Transactions Newsletter.

April 05, 2016

Stop Whining & Start Executing

Gary Vaynerchuk's advise to Whiner-preneurs: "Bullshit entrepreneurs cry about the way they want it to be instead of reacting to the way it actually is." & "Nobody gives a f*ck about your feelings and you need to stop crying and adjust"

Click Here for the video

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of data and analysis on private company transactions, valuations and financials in India. Click Here to learn about Venture Intelligence products that help entrepreneurs Reach Out to Investors, Research Competition, Learn from Experienced Entrepreneurs and Interact with Peers. Includes the Free Deal Digest Weekly Newsletter: India's First & Most Exhaustive Transactions Newsletter.

March 21, 2016

How to identify Rock Star employees?

Sara Tavel compares "Good" employees with "Rock Star" employees (whom she calls as the Mitochondria of the company)

1. Both are good at their jobs

2. The difference being in the scale of adding value. For good employees, it is is linear (more pay or higher the hierarchy = more value), while rockstar employees - "they add value to the company beyond their job description and responsibilities. They ask and do what is best for the company"

The "founder’s job (is) to attract and retain mitochondria through all stages of a company. At the early stages, this rare group of individuals is the core of the company. As your startup scales, they are your leaders."


How do you spot them? - Do Value Interviews


"Don't just hire for competence, interview for values"
Typically the founding team should check if the candidate is going to be a match with the core values of the company. If you had a chart for that you'd want someone on the top right corner.

A quick 2x2 interpretation of Sara's post: 


Sara has more ideas on what characteristics such employees have, how to notice them while hiring, compensation, etc. You can read it here.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of data and analysis on private company transactions, valuations and financials in India. Click Here to learn about Venture Intelligence products that help entrepreneurs Reach Out to Investors, Research Competition, Learn from Experienced Entrepreneurs and Interact with Peers. Includes the Free Deal Digest Weekly Newsletter: India's First & Most Exhaustive Transactions Newsletter.

March 17, 2016

How to spec your tech project and hire a programmer

Derek Sivers has a great step-by-step guide:
Go to the following sites to open an account at each: upwork.com, guru.com, freelancer.com
...You'll get many offers, but if they don't have your magic phrase at the top (“I AM REAL” or whatever), delete them. This is very hard to do, since you'll feel thrilled that so many people are offering to help, saying things like, “We have looked at your project and would be glad to complete it immediately,” but trust me and delete those. If they didn't read something marked as VERY IMPORTANT already, you don't want to work with them.
...Here's the real reason why you're stopping at a simple milestone: you're going to hire at least two different people to do this first step, expecting that one will go bad, one will be so-so, and one will be great. Yes it means you're paying multiple times for this first milestone, but it's worth it to find a good one.
Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of data and analysis on private company transactions, valuations and financials in India. Click Here to learn about Venture Intelligence products that help entrepreneurs Reach Out to Investors, Research Competition, Learn from Experienced Entrepreneurs and Interact with Peers. Includes the Free Deal Digest Weekly Newsletter: India's First & Most Exhaustive Transactions Newsletter.