June 23, 2003

Raman Roy on the evolution of India's BPO industry--and his baby, Spectramind

In this 2-part interview to Knowledge@Wharton, Ramon Roy, Founder & CEO of pioneering third-party BPO firm Spectramind, talks about the evolution of India's BPO industry. Especially interesting are his thoughts on why third-party BPO firms can succeed in the face of the trend among MNCs to set up captive centers.

Here's just one extract from this fascinating interview:

K@W: What was the principal objective with which you started Spectramind, and to what extent has this been satisfied?

Roy: We had very clear objectives in setting up Spectramind. We wanted to demonstrate what could be done out of India. We were all big believers in the capability of the Indian workforce. I wanted to be able to tell my grandchildren, “Your grandfather played a role in creating this company.” I’m not trying to say we weren’t trying to make money—that was a driver as well. But that was not the main driver. It was the idea of creating something new in India, and the ability to say that we contributed to its creation. That is why partnering with Wipro was a movement in the right direction. There were some things we could do as a start-up – but this business requires deep pockets. It requires something more than business acumen, and Wipro has played a big role in bringing that to the table.

Click Here to read Part I of the interview.

Click Here to read Part II of the interview.

What VCs look for during "due diligence"

According to David Hornik, a partner at August Capital, if a VC is engaged in due diligence on a company, it means that the VC finds something sufficiently compelling about the business proposition that he or she views it as "worthy of further investigation". While the specific business being investigated will dictate where a VC puts emphasis in the diligence process, the information reviewed is generally the same stuff across businesses and among investors, he says in his posting at VentureBlog and goes on describe the typical categories that VCs investigate.

Click Here to read the full posting.

June 03, 2003

Guy Kawasaki's Q&A column in Forbes

Guy Kawasaki, the irrepressible founder of technology investment bank Garage.com, now answers start-up related questions in his Forbes column.

Couple of Q&A extracts from his latest column:

Which comes first, product or market? Should I find a product and then devise a way of selling it. Or should I look for an unexploited market and then find a product to fill it?

Call me old fashioned, but you should create the product first. It could be because you want one yourself. Or because the bozo company you work for won't do it. Or because, simply, you can build it, so what the hell (sometimes if you build it, they really will come).

My belief is that to be successful, you have to love what you do. I don't care how big and untapped a market is, if you don't love it, forget it. Life is too short to do something you hate. Go with your heart. The money will follow. Even if you fail, at least you failed doing something you love.

I'm interested in starting my own business, but as an eighteen-year-old, how do I get investors to take me seriously?

Ageist as this may seem, you pretty much can't if you are referring to professional investors. You should stick with the 3Fs: Friends, Fools, and Family. If you insist on trying professional investors (and I do hope you prove me wrong), then surround yourself with adult supervision.

Load up your board of directors and board of advisors with people with gray hair, no hair, and stents instead of nose earrings. And hire an adult who's old enough to shave to run the place.

(Extract ends)

Click Here to read the full column at Forbes.com

Taking the bulldog spirit to the next level

A recent Mercury News article provided inspiring profiles of two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who fought personal adversity to keep their start-ups going.

Here's a short description+extract from one of the profiles:

In February 2002, when San Francisco-based enterprise software firm Determine Software, was in the process of raising its next round of venture funding, its CEO, Scott Martin, was diagnosed with leukemia. Doctors gave him a 14 percent chance to survive.


But Martin stayed focused. He worked his laptop and phones from his hospital bed as he received treatment... In October, Buck French of JP Morgan Partners went to visit Martin, who was then undergoing chemotherapy to prepare for a bone-marrow transplant. With Martin's immune system compromised, French was forced to put on a mask, a gown and gloves before he could negotiate terms with the sick patient....

French says Martin's passion impressed him....... Sure, health was a big concern, but on the flip side, said French: "If this guy survives, he's a winner," he remembered thinking at the time. "This is the type of person you want to invest in."

(Extracts end)

Result: JP Morgan joined existing Mohr Davidow and New Enterprise Associates to invest $12.25 million in Determine's new round of funding.

Click Here to read the full Mercury News article.