The panel included:Probir Roy, founder of Paymate
Sachin Kelkar, Head of Intel Software Partner Program
Shailesh Lakhani, from Sequoia Capital
Kris Nair, Partner, Opdrage Venture Partners
VSS Mani, Founder of JustDial
There where various questions and answers – I’ve tried to capture some of the more interesting quotes:
(Shailesh) It should not be easy to raise money. Lots of people who ask for money don’t deserve it. At early stages, people invest based on the people and not on the idea, because the idea isn’t really worth anything. And that’s the job of angel investors. Angels are slowly increasing in India.
(Mani) Focus on doing the best with you already have. Focus on existing customers and keep them happy. Don’t focus on what you could do if you had money. Forget the fancy stuff. Align the interests of your early employees with the interests of the company. So they should see that if the company does well, they do well.
(Mani) Don’t wait for a miracle to happen. Don’t wait for an angel to appear. Just focus on ensuring that your tomorrow is better than today. Focus on a small, core set of customers, and keep them happy. They will become your evangelists, they’ll get you more customers, and they’ll help you get investors.
(Shailesh) In deciding whether to invest in a company, we look at the size of the potential market, and a good (strong, intelligent, thoughtful) team.
(Probir) Entrepreneurs look for new business models. MBAs help administrate existing business models. Know the difference!
(Probir) Chances of you getting VC funding in India are low. So keep looking for alternative funding models.
(Mani) Timing is very important. We had a brilliant idea (JustDial) in 1989, and even had money. But it failed because it was way before its time. Analyze carefully whether your idea is before its time.Brilliant question from audience. An entrepreneur (from SpotMyGadget) just got up and asked this question (without waiting for permission of the moderator): “How shameless should an entrepreneur be when approaching clients/etc?” Answer, from Mani was – as shameless as possible. But remember to deliver a good/relevant product in the end.
It was power packed session, indeed. To attend the next two TechSparks Round Tables in Hyderabad and Chennai, click here.
Updated by TechSparks, Pune Outreach Partner, Navin Kabra, Pune Tech