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Showing posts from June, 2007

Why it's strongly advisable to have advisors - by Sanjay Anandaram

Over the past several weeks, I’ve met several entrepreneurs. Some young and others experienced. Some have boot-strapped their ventures, others have secured some financing from friends and angel investors. All of them have a dream and the desire to succeed but only very few will. Usually, those that don’t succeed realise that they’ve been chasing the wrong opportunity with the wrong business model and wrong team much much later in the game, if at all. What if they had been made aware of the pitfalls and dangers early on and been prepared to deal with them? What if they had had the benefit of experienced counsel from mentors and advisors? While having mentors and advisors is in itself no guarantee of success, having the right mentors can often times reduce the agony of late unhappy realizations of the state of the business.

What was interesting to me about the entrepreneurial teams I met was the absence of any advisors/mentors who were either directly or indirectly involved. If one looks…

Network with Top IT Services & BPO Entrepreneurs, Investors @ IB Connect - July 12, Bangalore

IT Services and BPO companies have traditionally been a favorite among investors in India. However, with the rapid maturing and consolidation in these sectors, start-ups and mid-tier firms alike are facing significant challenges. In this context, leading investors and top executives from IT Services and BPO companies will come together at Venture Intelligence IT Services & BPO Connect to network, discuss and share best practices.

Speakers at IB Connect include:
Sashi Reddi, AppLabs

Deepak Kamra and Alok Mittal, Canaan Partners

Sunil Wadhwani, iGate Corporation

Ravi Pandit, KPIT Cummins

Pradip Kar, Microland

N.Krishnakumar, MindTree

Venkatesh Roddam, Nipuna Services

Siraj Dhanani, PharmARC

Rajiv Mody, Sasken

Chandu Nair, Scope eKnowledge

K. Ganesh,

Hiren Kulkarni, Zensar

Raman Roy, Quatrro*

Dr. Anand Deshpande, Persistent Systems*

Rohit Kapoor, EXL Service*
* To be confirmed

The panels at IB Connect feature discussions between entrepreneurs, operating executives and investors on the f…

Marc Andreessen on hiring and firing

Netscape founder Marc Andreessen has a great post on his new blog on hiring and firing at start-ups. Here are his three top ("DCE") criteria for hiring:
I think you can see drive in a candidate's eyes, and in a candidate's background. For the background part, I like to see what someone has done. Not been involved in, or been part of, or watched happen, or was hanging around when it happened. I look for something you've done, either in a job or (often better yet) outside of a job. The business you started and ran in high school. The nonprofit you started and ran in college. If you're a programmer: the open source project to which you've made major contributions. Something. I also like specifically looking for someone who comes from some kind of challenging background -- a difficult family situation, say, or someone who had to work his/her way through school -- who is nevertheless on par with his/her more fortunate peers in skills and knowledge.


Book on entrepreneurs: How Innovators Connect

I recently received a book titled How Innovators Connect by techTribe Founder & CEO Rohit Agarwal and journalist Patricia Brown, which is based on interviews with 40 successful entrepreneurs and top hi-tech industry executives.

The best chapter in the book, I felt, was the one on how entrepreneurs can learn from their failures. The advise in this chapter from Desh Deshpande (Sycamore) and Umang Gupta (Keynote) was really inspiring and useful.

Other sections that I liked were the ones featuring Phaneesh Murthy of Quintant/iGate (on how he innovated to differentiate the company's service offerings), Emmet Keefee of iRise (on networking and nurturing relationships), Jerry Kennelly of Riverbed Technology (on the advantages of starting a company during a downcycle) and Joe Kraus of Jotspot (on being a trend-spotter than a trendsetter or how "being too early is the same as being wrong").

Given the huge number of books featuring US-based entrepreneurs (including those of Indi…

Timing the Fund Raising - by Sanjay Anandaram

Timing is everything. In a startup situation, it is sometimes the only thing! Given that all else is equal (ceteris paribus as the economists like to say in Latin), timing is what makes the big difference. There are two aspects to this. One has to do with “speed of execution” while the other has to do with “executing to schedule”.

Raising money from venture capitalists can take anywhere from 2 to 6 months. It is therefore important to have timing down to a pat. A lot of things can go wrong and they usually will! A few things to keep in mind:

• Don’t raise money when you are down to your last paisa. Start the fund raising process when you have 6 months money in the back and when you don’t really need it
• Plan the fund-raising process and have an answer to the question “when are you closing the round?” VCs will want to know when you plan on closing the fund raising. This is an important question and tells VCs whether you have thought through the process. And if the closing date slips, it …