Accel's Subrata Mitra on finding the perfect product-market fit


Subrata Mitra, one of the founding partners of Accel, has been a part of, and even helped design and engineer, the startup ecosystem in India as it stands today. A peek into his ten-year-long journey as a hands-on investor. 

Discussing on how to find the perfect product-market fit, Mitra says, “If there is one customer who has a need that you can satisfy, that’s where you begin the product-market fit. Identify that one customer or company.”

The problems, then, only arise when an entrepreneur attempts to scale. And Mitra has a lot to say about scaling; Behind every successful, groundbreaking project that seems like common sense now, exists a fair share of research, trial-and-error, and even failed attempts.

Subrata Mitra with Anand Daniel

Whether it was Myntra’s initial stages: personalised mugs with your photo on them, or the very beginning of Common Floor as a community-creation platform, finding the perfect product-market fit and its appropriate scalability model has always been a fruit of research and development. Like Myntra and Common Floor, you’ll be surprised to find where and how some of India’s most prosperous startups such as MuSigma and Virident, actually began. This right from someone who was on the ground, learning about the market, and influencing each company’s decisions.

Subrata also shares some valuable insight into the qualities of an entrepreneur who can turn a synergetic product-market fit into a scalable and monetisable venture. “There are outward facing and inward facing entrepreneurs,” Mitra says.

“There are a certain set of people who solve hard problems better and are also good entrepreneurs.” Could you be one of those “certain people” in the industry today? If you’ve got the characteristics that Mitra identifies, that may be a possibility.

We also hear from one of Subrata’s early portfolio founders Mukesh Bansal, who spent ten years in Silicon Valley working for startups there. After quitting his job and moving from Chicago to the Bay Area in California, Bansal “bounced around, sleeping on friends’ couches” just so that he could learn more about startups.

Today, as the founder of two successful startups Myntra and Curefit, we think his plan definitely played out well. Not that you should be bumming off your friends as a startup founder, but listening to Bansal’s advice will certainly help. All this and more on this weeks #InsightsPodcast.

Anand Daniel is a seed/early stage venture investor with Accel Partners.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)