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In Conversation with E-Commerce Veterans Pearl Uppal & Gaurav Kachru; “We want to fuel the Indian Startup Ecosystem”

Raghu Mohan
1st Oct 2012
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Pearl Uppal and Gaurav Kachru’s recently launched Super Fuel Fund under the 5 ideas banner is one in the list of exciting funds for startups which aims at injecting significant capital into the Indian startup ecosystem. Apart from offering capital, the Super Fuel Fund also has an accelerator like offering, which Pearl Uppal and Gaurav Kachru explained in an exclusive interview with YourStory.in.

The Details

Talking about the aim of 5ideas, Pearl Uppal who previously was the CEO of FashionAndYou said, “It’s pure and simple. As the name suggests

we want to fuel and accelerate the growth of the Indian startup ecosystem.”“The first idea is the Super Fuel Fund which is essentially a seed fund, along with assistance in Human Capital and Social Capital. The ticket size of the investments will be between 50 lakhs to 2 Crores, depending on the nature and stage of the business. As far as Human and Social Capital is concerned, we aim to connect entrepreneurs with our wide network of working professionals and our network of people in various industries,” said Pearl, regarding the details of the fund. She further revealed, “As this based on an intense partnership model, we will partner with no more than 5 businesses at a time. Between Gaurav and me, we will engage with 3 companies and work with them for short time period; about 6 to 12 months. We are looking to invest in Internet and Mobile internet businesses and other tech ventures. These businesses can be B2B or B2C.

Not Really an Incubator; Not Really an Accelerator

“5ideas is not an incubator per say” clarified Pearl Uppal, “an incubator investment in business in infrastructure heavy and they are meant for concept stage companies. The engagement is longer and it isn’t capital intensive.”

“We do provide accelerator like offerings in terms of mentorship. But pure accelerators, such as Ycombinator are also not capital intensive. 5ideas is just after the accelerator stage; there is a high failure rate between the proof of concept stage and the scaling stage. After talking with some key members in the investor and VC community we were guided towards bridging this gap and that’s what we want to do with 5ideas. Early stage investment needs more than just capital.”

“5ideas is a mix between an Accelerator and a Seed Fund. From our experience as entrepreneurs we will guide entrepreneurs from the proof of concept to scaling stage and help form founding teams.

Advice for Entrepreneurs in India

From their vast experience as entrepreneurs, Gaurav Kachru and Pearl Uppal had 5 key advises for budding entrepreneurs –

1) A startup must impact a customer. If the startup’s offering is going to change something in the customers life, everything else from a business side of the startup will take care of itself.

2) Customer service is one of the most neglected aspects of businesses in India. It is very important that startups invest in quality customer support after they gain traction so as to keep their early adopters happy.

3) Iterate your business model as many times as possible before scaling. It is easy to make changes in at smaller stage.

4) In a tech company, a tech co-founder is absolutely necessary. Business guys are needed, but without a tech co-founder, it is going to be very difficult. Tech plus Commerce is the ideal composition.

5) Some of the softer aspects such as team composition and compatibility can be detrimental to the success and failure of the company.

5ideas’ offering is one in the line of many funds, assuring more funds for the startup ecosystem. The mentorship that 5ideas brings is even more important, and it will be interesting to see how things span out for Pearl Uppal and Gaurav Kachru’s 5ideas.

Click here to know more about 5ideas.

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