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Showing posts from March, 2007

Start-up cliches - By Sanjay Anandaram

Clichés involving the game of cricket are been repeated ad nauseum by commentators and given that the world cup is on, several clichés are being re-cycled over and over again (“glorious uncertainties”, “game is never over till its over” and so on…)

Inspired by the situation, I thought it would be instructive for all, more so for entrepreneurs, to keep a few non-cricketing ones in mind.

a) Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration: Initially described by Edison, the quintessential entrepreneur, this statement is still very applicable to all entrepreneurs. Many an entrepreneur will tell you that he has a terrific idea, an idea that will change the world and that VCs just don’t seem to want to invest. What the entrepreneur doesn’t realise is that investors don’t fund ideas, they fund businesses that have a real value proposition and are executed by a team that’s willing to invest not just 99% but 100+% of perspiration in making that idea deliver. The execution has to be relentless and co…

What other start-ups can learn from YouTube

Deepak Thomas and Vineet Buch have published a case study on YouTube.
YouTube essentially took a problem with a few pre-existing, albeit clumsy solutions, added some engineering ingenuity and lots of creativity to come up with the best working solution. Content suppliers, i.e. those uploading videos could now upload video effortlessly. They could tag uploaded videos with keywords. On the consumption side, by adopting a Macromedia Flash-based video player embedded on a web-page, which played the video almost instantaneously, YouTube eliminated the need for downloads and local media players. Users could now search for videos by keywords, share them by mailing links to the videos, and also rate and comment on these videos. Consequently, popular videos bubbled up to the top in an organic fashion. Notice how, besides the player, other features were essentially attributes of sites sharing pictures, Flicker for example. YouTube was able to adopt what worked in the world of picture-sharing to …

The Temp Option

Economic Times has an article on how start-ups too can benefit by hiring temp workers instead of full-time employees.
Besides lowering costs, temping also helps entrepreneurs avoid being struck with a wrong hire. Mr Sabharwal points out that hiring decisions are critical for startups and says, "Recruiting the wrong people can be truly fatal for a start up unlike in an established company." For many startups the smarter alternative is to hire temps and if they then find people who they think can contribute in the long run to the organisation make those temps permanent. Like in the other companies where the temping staff is absorbed in the organisation, in startups too this is happening. Amit Jain of Cinesprite.com, an online DVD rental firm, says that this has worked well for them with the firm absorbing 20% of the temp staff that it has as full time employees depending on the need and the potential.

...There are some who believe that timing is critical when it comes to the te…

Entrepreneurs: Why Younger is Better - By Sanjay Anandaram

It seems like now is the best time to be an entrepreneur in India. It would seem only credible since India appears to be shining for wanna-be entrepreneurs. Capital is available by the double scoop. Yet the refrain from VCs seems to be that there aren’t enough experienced (translation: someone at least in the mid-30s if not more) entrepreneurs. Some commentators opine that VCs should actually encourage and coax experienced corporate executives into becoming entrepreneurs while providing them the supporting environment.

My own view is different. Let me explain.

Indians are extremely conscious not just of power but recognize that it needs to be demonstrated, as Pavan Varma in “Being Indian” so eloquently describes. Power for an Indian flows from caste, class, wealth, favour dispensing, social standing, and as some dual members of the political-mafia club demonstrate from time to time, also from the barrel of a gun. Thus the feudal behaviour that one witnesses all around. From the “sa…

New incubation program: dreamZhunt

Chennai-based IT services company SGS Technologie has launched a "business idea contest" called dreamZhunt.

"The contest is focussed at IT professionals who are looking to kick-start their first business," informs Manoj Kumar.G, one of the event's organizers and Business Manager with SGS Technologie. The event sponsors will provide seed-funding of up to $100,000 per selected company, he says.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the Private Equity and Venture Capital ecosystem in India. View sample issues of Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.

"Change the world and create your fortune"

Knowledge@Wharton has an article based on the ever colorful Tim Draper's speech at the recent Wharton Private Equity and Venture Capital Conference.
Timothy Draper, founder and managing director of the venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson...urged entrepreneurs to "change the world. That's what it's all about. If you see something wrong, or a little unusual, or something that makes you mad, go change it. Then change it for everybody else. You'll become very wealthy and very successful."

Draper pointed to some of the problems that entrepreneurs should take on: Energy, security, health care, traffic, pollution, war, poverty, education, roads, prisons and airport development. He said politicians, at best, help bring these problems to light; at worst, they create problems.

"Who solves problems?" he asked. "It's business."

Business, he suggested, is better equipped to develop lasting solutions for society's problems than government …

Speaker list for Internet & Mobile Connect - Mumbai, March 15

Over 15 leading VC investors and top executives from Online Services and Mobile VAS companies will be speaking at the event. The speaker list includes:
Murugavel Janakiraman, Bharatmatrimony.com
Alok Mittal, Canaan Partners
Alok Kejriwal, Contests2win.com
Ashish Gupta, Helion VC
Manik Arora, IDG Ventures India
Anurag Dod, Guruji.com
Avnish Bajaj, Matrix Partners
Sanjay Swamy, mChek
Nitish Mittersain, Nazara Tech
Sandeep Singhal, Nexus India Capital
Arvind Rao, OnMobile
Probir Roy, Paymate
Rajesh Sawhney, Reliance Entertainment
Ravi Adusumalli, SAIF Partners
Mahesh Murthy, Seed Fund
Sandeep Murthy, Sherpalo Ventures
Ashwin Damera, Travelguru
For more information about the event, please visit http://ventureintelligence.in/ev150307.htm

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the private equity and venture capital ecosystem in India. View free samples of…

Should VCs buy out angels?

Interesting discussion at VentureWoods between Deepak Shenoy and Roshan D'Silva on this "perennial topic". Here are their first posts (in the comments section):


Deepak Shenoy said,

Alok, true - there is reason to think about why one wants to exit. As a stock market investor, I have made decisions to sell companies at (say) 400% profits, when the company went on towards 1000% of what I bought - yet, I wasn’t sulking in a corner. Because a) 400% is pretty nice and b) I’d reached that comfort level of profits.

Angels may not want to stay the distance, which could be much longer than their cash needs, and if the current valuation is attractive enough for them to exit. As individuals I would imagine that angel investors are the kinds that put in Rs. 10 lakhs to Rs. 50 lakhs in a business - and honestly, there are a number of such people who have this kind of cash lying idle in bank accounts (idle = they don’t need it right now). Such people can be angels, but they won’t be beca…