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Showing posts from August, 2012

Team & Culture Building @ Gozoop

Rohan Bhansali, Founder of digital marketing firm Gozoop, shares interesting HR practices at his company in an interview/profile at

Culture wise: These are the things we do. All may not be unique but they make our culture unique.

1. Every Saturday the team comes together (no matter how busy they are) and we do crazy things – Idli eating competitions, back to school drawing competitions, ragging new recruits, dancing to 90’s Bollywood tunes, Dumb charades, etc. Last week we played passing the parcel.

2. Gozooper of the Week – Every Thursday, an email is sent to the entire team mentioning one odd (or weird) fact of a team member. The team then has to guess who the person is. Great way to get to know each other.

3. Every year we write a hand written letter to the parents of our most dedicated and earnest team mates highlighting their achievements. There is no prouder moment for parents than hearing about their child’s success.

4. We have weekly Foosball mash ups where we br…

Saying No to Expensive Startup Awards

The inimitable Alok 'Rodinhood' Kejriwal has an interesting account of an invitation from an international publication to nominate his company for an "hot startup" award.

- The call was pleasant and kinda, "How is the weather" type of talk (read - "Entrepreneurs are this and that", etc) - I participated and humored the caller.

- In the end I was told, "We like to see the entrepreneurs. We want them to come to Hong Kong and present in front of a jury. On that day in September, something will happen at 4pm, then something at 5pm and winners will be announced at 8pm. So please come."

I said NO.

This is the point I made:

- Entrepreneurs don't have time to pitch for awards and mentions. They have time to do business.

- As an award, you have done lots of research on all the companies concerned.

This is the age of the INTERNET!
Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of data and analysis on private equ…

How to Foster the Desired Culture

From an article by Rajeev Peshawaria in The Mint.
I define culture as what your people do when no one is looking.

...The first step is to articulate the desired culture in terms of the specific behaviour expected from all employees. Use full sentences that tell people exactly what to do and what not to do. “Excellence”, “passion” and “collaboration” are large, abstract words which mean different things to different people—a clearer way of articulating the cultural principle or value of excellence is to say, “Find better ways of doing things.” Similarly, instead of just saying “collaboration”, a better bet might be to say, “Proactively help others to succeed”. Most companies have prescribed corporate values, but they usually stay on the hallway posters they’re relegated to—because nothing is done to socialize or reinforce them.

The next step, therefore, is to socialize the desired culture. Repeatedly communicate it at every possible opportunity. This sounds easy but there are two common p…

"E-Commerce Reality Check" - Article by Sanjay Anandaram

A July 2002 Business Week article had this to say about Amazon: “after seven years and more than US $1 billion in losses, Amazon is still a work in progress.” The company posted $5m in profits, it’s first ever, in the last quarter of 2001 on sales of $1.12 billion. Amazon is the poster boy of e-commerce around the world, the incredible survivor of the 2001 dotcom meltdown - when naysayers said that Amazon with over $2 billion in debt (largely used to fund warehouses) would become insolvent - and naturally enough inspires Indian entrepreneurs as well.

There are a great many lessons to be learnt from amazing Amazon. Founded in 1994 as Cadabra, went online in 1995 raising about $300K from friends and family. In June 1996, KPCB invested $8m and it went public in May 1997. It had sales of $15.7m in 1996, did $16m in the quarter ending March 1997 before the IPO, raised $54m in the IPO at a market capitalization of $438m on the first day. The company had gone international, had a w…

Cheat Sheet for Fund Raising on Angel List

Rick Perreault of Unbounce has a nice guest post at OnStartups on the topic.

Tip #1 Use video to tell your story

In hindsight, probably the most effective thing I did was include a link on our profile and in all my email correspondence to a video of me giving our pitch I had the opportunity to pitch at the last GROW Conference here in Vancouver and lucky for us, they recorded it. I included it on our Angel List profile and almost everyone that contacted me commented that they watched it and especially liked the Q&A. Here is the link to the video:

You don’t need to spend any money doing this either. Record yourself giving your pitch and providing answers to all the typical questions that you get from outsiders and post it on YouTube. Your passion, conviction and knowledge of the problem you are solving will come across in ways that a deck can never achieve and by presenting your own Q&A, you’ll skip all the typical questions and have a mu…

Have an Unfair Advantage and go for White Spaces

Extract from an article by serial entrepreneur K. Ganesh in The Economic Times.
Startup infant mortality rate is over 95%. You don't want to be among the casualties. And for that, you need all the aces or high-value cards. So be it the right co-founders, adequate capital, unfair access to supply chain or disproportionate advantage over others make sure you have the secret sauce. This will ensure you are part of the 5% that make it alive.

...Almost all entrepreneurs out there are passionate, hardworking and intelligent. At best, you can incrementally and marginally improve operational efficiency. But then you will make other mistakes. So, it's better go for new, uncontested spaces or disruptive business models. You would then have a better chance of success.
Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of data and analysis on private equity, venture capital and M&A deals in India. Click Here to learn about Venture Intelligence products …

"Balance Ambition & Risk"

Manish Sabharwal of Teamlease provides this great contrast in an article for Economic Times.
We are frugal with capital because we know that entrepreneurship is the art of staying alive long enough to get lucky.

But we also understand that entrepreneurship is a leap into the unknown so if you are going to jump from the 10th floor you might as well jump from the 50th floor! What is happening in India today is not once in a decade or once in a millennium but once in the lifetime of a country. This offers unique entrepreneurial opportunities.
Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of data and analysis on private equity, venture capital and M&A deals in India. Click Here to learn about Venture Intelligence products that help entrepreneurs reach out effectively to the investing community.