Entrepreneur Anshuman Bapna shares his view on maintaining transparency and dealing with crises while starting up
Anshuman Bapna, Founder and former CEO of Mygola, believes that it is important for aspiring entrepreneurs to maintain transparency, and build a clear relationship with employees as well as investors to gain success.
“It’s not just math, it’s not just the numbers. It’s not just a spreadsheet. It is an honest relationship that you’re trying to build with your investors and with your potential acquirers,” says Anshuman Bapna. The serial entrepreneur had also co-founded and sold RightHalf.com while pursuing his undergrad at IIT Bombay. Right after his MBA at Stanford, he worked in Google's Strategic Partnerships team for two years where he negotiated Adsense deals with large travel partners.
In the latest episode of Prime Venture Partners podcast with the Managing Partner at Prime Venture Partners, Amit Somani, he shares his views on how entrepreneurs can avoid hitting a wall while deciding on a startup idea, dealing with hard times, becoming transparent in communication with employees and investors, and running an acquisition process.
Anshuman says that as an entrepreneur, it is quite hard, in real-time, to know if one is actually onto something or not; and to understand the difference between persistence and stubbornness. He points out the two major lessons he learned from Mygola: knowing that the market always wins and doing customer discovery backward.
“A great market will make an ordinary team perform really well, while a bad market will make an extraordinary team perform really badly. Hence, entrepreneurs need to ensure that they are in massive, large markets. While customer discovery done backwards may seem as an input metric, if done diligently, and in a disciplined manner across the entire lifecycle, entrepreneurs will actually see all the signs of product market fit or lack of it much earlier than most companies do,” he explains.
Anshuman Bapna, Founder and former CEO of MyGola [Image Credit: LinkedIn]
Creating a culture of transparency
Anshuman and Prateek Sharma, his good friend and co-founder of Mygola, intended on building a binary company that was not going to be anything but zero or one. So, when the time came to pivot, they followed the same principle and extended it to their team of 15 as well. Built on the core cultural belief of treating others as adults and rest shall follow, they involved their employees in the entire process and opened an utterly transparent communication with them.
“My net recommendation is that please make sure that everyone that you expect to hang around with you through this entire journey, is completely 100% aware of what’s really happening.”
Further, opening up about the less talked aspect of any entrepreneur going through tough times, and their personal lives, Anshuman says, “So the most important thing through all of these ups and downs is to remember where you’re rooted, where you’re getting all that energy and all that power from is actually your closest relationships.”
Running the acquisition process
Anshuman says that companies don’t get sold, they get bought and the entire M&A process is about how many options one can create. “If you have one buyer, then that is it, it’s game over, it doesn’t really matter. You can quibble and think as much as you like about what your role should be, what your other employees should do and so on. But frankly, none of that will come to pass,” says Anshuman.
Entrepreneurs need to find the right person at the right time, with the right thought process for these companies.
While dealing with acquisitions, the thing entrepreneurs should remember is that it is not about a bunch of numbers in a spreadsheet, but it is all about deep relationships and trust which go on to automatically turn big. So instead of waiting till doomsday, it is important to build relationships, even with the competitors, partners and employees.
As a CEO or a founder, one needs to keep all options open at all times because who knows what the future might bring.
To know more, listen to the podcast here