August 26, 2013

Key Question: Are You Equipped to Execute Your Idea?

Bruce Kasanoff has a great post and slide show on LinkedIn

If you are an entrepreneur - or intrapreneur - your first question needs to be: am I the right person to bring this idea to life? 
  • If you are a marketing professional who doesn't understand code, you are not the one to "leapfrog Google" and launch the next generation search engine. 
  • If you always take a three-week vacation in August, and two weeks at Christmas, you are not the one to "take down Oracle." (They are fierce warriors compared to you.) 
  • If you are a genius at coding, but you can't work with an interface designer or pick a font to save your life, you are unlikely to create a top ten consumer app.

 

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of data and analysis on private company transactions, valuations and financials in India. Click Here to learn about Venture Intelligence products that help entrepreneurs Reach Out to Investors, Research Competition, Learn from Experienced Entrepreneurs and Interact with Peers. Includes the Free Deal Digest Weekly Newsletter: India's First & Most Exhaustive Transactions Newsletter.

August 19, 2013

Entrevista with Ratish Nair, Founding-CEO of Interactive Avenues

Cross posted from the Entrevista blog at http://www.entrevista.in

Interview with Ratish Nair, Founding-CEO of Interactive Avenues (IA), the Mumbai-headquartered, Sequoia Capital India-backed digital marketing agency which was acquired in March 2013 by US- and Europe-based ad agency Interpublic. Interview focuses on the company's founding (5 co-founders who earlier worked at another digital agency Mediaturf); Angel Funding (from Anupam Mittal of Shaadi.com); VC Funding and relationship with Sequoia Capital; and, of course, the Exit (how IA ran the process, the role of the VC, the role of the intermediary, internal dynamics, etc.).

The interviewer is fellow entrepreneur Chandu Nair. (Chandu earlier founded, successfully raised venture capital for and exited from Scope eKnowledge, one of the earliest KPO firms in India.)




The Audio (podcast) version can be downloaded from here 


Other Highlights


Synergistic Co-founding team

How, having worked together in the past (at Mediaturf which they left as a group to found IA), the co-founding team knew each other' strengths and weaknesses and were able to hence work in a synergistic manner.

Leveraging the Brand & Network of VC Investor

How IA tapped Sequoia Capital for not just the money, but also to add to the startup venture's credibility (when pitching for clients) and also for generating business from the investor's other portfolio companies.

Advertising as a way out of small town

Interesting vignettes about a small "mining town" upbringing and how advertising was seen as an escape to the exciting world of the "big city".

Also how the lectures by Prof. Subroto Sengupta at IIM-Calcutta served as an inspiration to join the world of advertising

Advise to other Entrepreneurs

"Never raise more money than what you need - else, you might relax and 'miss the bus'."

August 16, 2013

Whe is an Employee Ripe for a Promotion

From an article by Avery Augustine in The Daily Muse:
1. They Have the Numbers to Back Them Up

...I’ve found it helpful to have some sort of tracking measure in place to stay aware of employees’ performance, like a spreadsheet to keep track of project closures and client feedback. This will allow you to see patterns emerge (e.g., “Jennifer always manages to exceed her sales goal during the last week of the month”), so you’ll be able to immediately pinpoint the employees who should be on track for promotions.

2. They Don’t Clock Out at 5 PM

...Pay attention to the employees who are willing to jump in wherever (and whenever) they’re needed. This doesn’t mean they always need to stay late—but it’s nice to know that in a pinch (and when given more responsibility), they won’t leave you or their clients in the lurch.

3. They Voice Solutions Instead of Complaints

...In doing this, your employee is proving that he or she is ready to step up and take responsibility for what goes on with the team and help everyone succeed—instead of complacently accepting whatever happens by chance and not doing anything to change it.

..4. They Seek Out Opportunities to Share Knowledge

..5. They Further Their Own Knowledge

..6. They Ask for Feedback—and Take it Well

 Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of data and analysis on private company transactions, valuations and financials in India. Click Here to learn about Venture Intelligence products that help entrepreneurs Reach Out to Investors, Research Competition, Learn from Experienced Entrepreneurs and Interact with Peers. Includes the Free Deal Digest Weekly Newsletter: India's First & Most Exhaustive Transactions Newsletter.

August 13, 2013

Why Are Indian Entrepreneurs Satisfied with Small Outcomes?

From a post by Mukund Mohan of Microsoft Ventures:
Given that the effort over several years to create a $10 Million outcome at your startup is the same as one that has a $1 Billion outcome, why dont we focus on the large opportunities?
  • Is it fear of failure?
  • Is it that we are “happy” and content with even the small things?
  • Is it that $2 million is such a large change in our lives that the $1 Billion does not seem worth it?
  • Is it that we really don’t aim big? Notice I did not say think big, I said aim big? Nuance, but a big difference
  • Is it lack of exposure to large markets?
  • Is it that we are not hungry enough?
  • Or is it something else?
Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of data and analysis on private company transactions, valuations and financials in India. Click Here to learn about Venture Intelligence products that help entrepreneurs Reach Out to Investors, Research Competition, Learn from Experienced Entrepreneurs and Interact with Peers. Includes the Free Deal Digest Weekly Newsletter: India's First & Most Exhaustive Transactions Newsletter.

August 03, 2013

Generating Four Cups of Tea for Your Employer - The CRISIL Employee Credo

The "work ethic/culture" of initial employees at a startup is often a crucial determinant of the success of the
venture. I have also often wondered how much of work ethic/culture of an employee is determined by "nature" (i.e., individual specific) versus "nurture" (organizational level stuff like vision & mission, work culture, etc.). Personally, at my first (and so far last) job, I used to break down my salary to a "per working day" number - to be used to ask "Have I done justice to that number?" at day end. And, if the answer was No, to try harder.

I therefore found it quite interesting to read about the employee credo at ratings & research firm Crisil in the book "Doing what is right: The CRISIL Story".

Extract from Page 92-93 (describing a pre placement talk at an MBA school by early employees of the firm):

    "What is the work culture at CRISIL? What is your management philosophy?" It was a bespectaled youngster in the second row who was taking down some notes.

    "Our philosophy is that if the employer gives you one cup of tea, you should generate four cups of tea for the employer." It was Rao now, in his inimitable style.

    As the nonplussed youngster looked on, Rao continued.

    "One cup is paid as tax. The second cup of tea is given to the promoters and stakeholders as dividend. The third cup of tea is reserves. The fourth cup is again given back to you as reward."

    A quiet buzz went around the packed auditorium as Rao soldiered on, enjoying the effect he was generating.

    "If you generate five cups of tea, you will get the fifth cup as an extra reward. As long as you can produce four cups of tea for your employer you will  never find it difficult to maintain your job. That's CRISIL. That's our philosophy." 
Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of data and analysis on private company transactions, valuations and financials in India. Click Here to learn about Venture Intelligence products that help entrepreneurs Reach Out to Investors, Research Competition, Learn from Experienced Entrepreneurs and Interact with Peers. Includes the Free Deal Digest Weekly Newsletter: India's First & Most Exhaustive Transactions Newsletter.