Follow your passion and don’t build businesses for investors: Shailendra Singh

1st Oct 2016
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Winter comes and goes every year and there is nothing new in it. However, if you belong to the startup ecosystem, you probably can gauge the profound effect of last 'winter'. With summer approaching its last leg, talks of winter is around the corner. Winter is largely referred as the dry period when there is a slowdown in investment activities. As a result, several startups die and become oblivion.

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Speaking about winter at the 'TechSparks 2016' event, Shailendra Singh, Managing Partner, Sequoia Capital, said:

Enjoy winter. It's a different season. Unlike last winter, companies are in good shape. If we compare the winter of previous calendar year, this year startups seem to be well prepared. Last year, companies were burning crazy amount of capital to acquire customer, marketing, etc. But we don't see the same exuberance this year.

When asked about which sectors are hot at the moment, Shailendra added:

Entrepreneurs don't jump to startup bandwagon after analysing what's hot or not. Fintech has become hot this year, but Freecharge, Mobikwik and Paytm's founders started evangelising it long back.

Startups attribute a myopic view to success, and go by yardstick of capital and valuation achieved. But Shailendra dismissed it vehemently. "The irony is that a lot of companies in India are profitable and growing with a tremendous pace. However, media don't celebrate them with the same fervor that they display while writing funding stories." He outlined that such companies don't highlight their milestones through public PRs and forums and media don't like chasing them."

While India has become a crucial market for global investors, some started questioning the depth of the market. According to some media reports, the growth of e-commerce companies have been sluggish owing to the slow growth in the number of online shoppers. “India is an emerging economy and there is a huge latent demand. This country will take some time to mature and I personally believe that the depth of the market can be tested with a long term vision. When you are investing in emerging economy you can’t assure smooth and frictionless sailing,” added Shailendra.

Answering a query about one mistake that is rampant amongst entrepreneurs, Shailendra said:

Too many founders are trying to build businesses for investors. They should focus on real pain-points and do what they are passionate about.

A big shoutout to all our sponsors - ZendeskAxis BankSequoia Capital India Advisors , Digital OceanMicrosoftAWSAkamaiTargetVerisignKerala Startup MissionBrand Launch CentreTork and Blink.

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