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Showing posts from October, 2006

Canaan Partners launched "Entrepreneurial Challenge"

Canaan Partners has launched "Entrepreneurial Challenge", a value-added Business Plan contest, in partnership with TiE.

"The objective is to identify entrepreneurs who have made a start and can now scale fast with a little bit of help," says Alok Mittal of Canaan. "It has been my experience that most business plan events end on the day the competition ends. By bringing the right partners in place, we will attempt to provide mentorship and capital support to businesses, and try and make the event finals a starting point rather than a culmination."

Click Here for more information.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder of Venture Intelligence, which tracks private equity and venture capital in India and Indian-founded companies worldwide. View sample issues of Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.

The 18 mistakes that kill start-ups - by Paul Graham

Paul Graham has an article on common mistakes that are often fatal to start-ups.

Guess what's No. 1 on the list?: Having a Single Founder (Ouch!)

What's wrong with having one founder? To start with, it's a vote of no confidence. It probably means the founder couldn't talk any of his friends into starting the company with him. That's pretty alarming, because his friends are the ones who know him best.

But even if the founder's friends were all wrong and the company is a good bet, he's still at a disadvantage. Starting a startup is too hard for one person. Even if you could do all the work yourself, you need colleagues to brainstorm with, to talk you out of stupid decisions, and to cheer you up when things go wrong.

The last one might be the most important. The low points in a startup are so low that few could bear them alone. When you have multiple founders, esprit de corps binds them together in a way that seems to violate conservation laws. Each thinks "I…

The Right CEO? - by Sanjay Anandaram

Extract from the Indipreneur column (No. 4) by Sanjay Anandaram in the Financial Express:
Most entrepreneurs (especially wannabees) believe that they should naturally be the CEO of their venture because “hey, its my idea and my company!” Really? are you indeed the right CEO to steer your entrepreneurial dreams to success?

...You have to decide, and early on at that, who ought to be the CEO. Usually, good friends get together and do a startup. The chemistry is great, there is shared vision and commitment and there is no real decision making process or hierarchy. This works well initially but there needs to be someone who is more equal than the others. This is not as easy as it sounds as equity holdings in the company are a direct function of responsibility. So, another set of questions to ask yourself and of the (potential) team members: Are you willing to be replaced by more professional management if need be to help the business grow? Will you move aside if proven to be less than able…

Is Entrepreneurship for You? - by Sanjay Anandaram

Here is the draft of the third installment of Sanjay's Indipreneur column for the Financial Express.

Is Entrepreneurship for You?

by Sanjay Anandaram

September 18th, 2006

Lets face it: all the talk about entrepreneurship and of being in charge of one’s own destiny can be heady stuff. There’s the hype, glamour, cool-factor, and even sex-appeal associated with announcing “I’m an entrepreneur and on my own” when everyone else around you is dishing out their corporate cards. But is a startup for everyone? Here are some pointers to help you decide if a startup is for you. Or, if you are better off wherever you currently are.

First, you don’t decide to “become an entrepreneur”, it happens; It’s not a job; It’s not a switch you can switch on and say, “I think I’ll become an entrepreneur; I have reached financial security”. The passion and desire to accomplish a goal are the key drivers. Lets look at some of the traits.

Passion: This is the key requirement. You must feel the burning need to be…

"Who Wants to be an Entrepreneur?" - by Sanjay Anandaram

Extract from the Indipreneur column that appeared in the Financial Express dated September 8, 2006:
With India in the throes of historic changes, there are opportunities all around for the entrepreneur willing to take the chances. With so much money waiting in the wings to be deployed into Indian entrepreneurs, the financial risk too is minimal.

In addition, the current and projected job market offers a safety net to those did-not-succeed-the-1st-time entrepreneurs who want to temporarily park their ambitions; Socio-cultural barriers to entrepreneurship too are definitely fading away as role models abound in various domains and entrepreneurship becomes the chosen path for many. The only remaining risk therefore is the one in the mind—of fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD).

Entrepreneurs know that the FUD factor in their minds can be addressed through knowledge, teamwork, and a can-do attitude. As the tired cliché goes, in today’s India, the biggest risk is in not taking one.
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"The Indiapreneur" column by Sanjay Anandaram

Sanjay Anandaram, one of the earliest entrepreneur-turned-VCs in India, writes a regular column for The Financial Express. I will be linking Sanjay's columns on the FE web site (whenever I can find the links) here. Else, with the author's permission, I will post the entire draft.

- Arun

Here is the first installment of the column (First published August 25th, 2006 The Financial Express).

The Indiapreneur by Sanjay Anandaram

As India’s enters its 60th year as an independent nation, it faces perhaps one of its most interesting challenges. What should the vision and destiny of a 60 year old country be when half its population is less than 35 - the world’s largest population of young people? What should a country offer its young people as a role model in the year when, arguably, its most celebrated entrepreneur – not businessman! - chose to retire this year?

For the first time, India is emerging as a world scale market as well as a world class supplier to the world in a variety of …

Meet top Venture Capital investors at Mobile VAS Connect - Bangalore; Dec 12, 2006

The Mobile VAS sector has emerged as one of the favorite sectors among venture capitalists. However, there are several significant challenges facing the sector - including in the basic business models bring adopted, skewed relationships with operators, etc.

In this context, Venture Intelligence Mobile VAS Connect, scheduled for December 12 in Bangalore, presents an ideal platform for leading Venture Capital investors and top executives from Mobile VAS companies to network, discuss and share best practices.

Confirmed panelists include top executives from Sequoia Capital India, mportal, Nazara Technologies, Helion Ventures, Paymate, ACL Wireless, Phoneytunes, etc.

Who Should Attend?
• Venture Capital funds looking to invest in IT and Mobile Services companies
• IT and Mobile VAS companies planning to raise VC financing

For more information, click here

Arun Natarajan is the Founder of Venture Intelligence, which tracks private equity and venture capital in India and Indian-founded companies wo…

"Founding Member" versus Founder

Angel investor Ram Shriram is invariably referred to in the media as "Founding member of Google's Board". A search for "Founding Member Google" throws up even more strange ones like "A founding member of Google's UI team", "founding member of Google's product team", etc.

While I have great respect for Ram Shriram (he was among the few investors who stuck to the consumer internet thesis when everyone was trying to distance themselves from "dotbombs") - I dislike this "founding member" business.

Either you are a founder of a start-up or not. Please don't dilute the word with these attempts at proxies.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder of Venture Intelligence India, which tracks venture capital activity in India and Indian-founded companies worldwide. View sample issues of Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.

Looking to raise Venture Capital for your product?

Looking to raise Venture Capital for developing / marketing your technology product? Then, apply to demo your product at

Mobile VAS Connect
December 12, 2006

Apply to demo your product to an exclusive audience - consisting of leading Venture Capitalists, Investment Bankers and experienced entrepreneurs - as part of Mobile VAS Connect.

For more information, Click Here

Arun Natarajan is the Founder of Venture Intelligence, which tracks private equity and venture capital in India and Indian-founded companies worldwide. View sample issues of Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.

Do you really need an investment banker?

Fabruce Grinda strongly recommends that an entrepreneur - even if he/she is a "former investment banker or someone with significant M&A experience" - to use a banker when selling a business. (I think this applies when raising Private Equity/Venture Capital as well.)
(Avoiding conflicts with the buyer) is the single most important reason to use bankers. Negotiating a sale of a company is one point in time at which your interests are not aligned with those of the buyer. It is very easy for the negotiation to turn acrimonious.

The sale of the company is not the end game, but only one step in its development. You will have to work with the buyer for the foreseeable future and must thus maintain a good relationship with him.

Whether negotiating the price or the details of the stock purchase agreement (SPA - representation and warranties, etc.), I always let my lawyer and bankers take the lead in the discussions. This way I can blame everything on them – they are greedy and diff…