Sequoia India VP Aakash Kapoor gives a checklist for aspiring entrepreneurs at TechSparks 2021

A masterclass by Aakash Kapoor, VP, Sequoia India at TechSparks 2021 provided a deep dive into the fundamental questions that any entrepreneur needs to address before starting any venture.
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A passionate entrepreneur would be in a hurry to take a new idea to the market but this enthusiasm needs to be tempered with a few fundamental questions on markets, users, and the problem that the venture is trying to solve.

In a masterclass during TechSparks 2021, YourStory's flagship event, Aakash Kapoor, Vice President - Sequoia India, spoke about the fundamental pillars of entrepreneurship.

The first and foremost is the market size that one is addressing and whether it is large enough to foray into. Aakash says, “If you give a B team a great market they will build a successful team.”

This is amplified across the world where there are companies addressing such a large market that it takes care of itself in building a big business for itself.

Aakash cautions that although one might be enamoured by a large market, founders need to figure out what they want to do. In some cases, the market might look very large but revenue from each customer is small while in other cases, the market may not big but the revenue from each customer is high.

“Identify what is the size of your market and where in the spectrum you are likely to be positioned,” Aakash says in his masterclass 'Is my Big idea big enough? Assessing market size and industry structure.'

Once there is a grip on the market size, the entrepreneur needs to take a call on whether it would be a top-down approach or a bottom-up. Under the top-down approach, there is a deduction of a particular set of customers one would be targeting, but in the bottom-up method, it would more be looking at a more multiplier effect of customers.

Aakash says this would mean addressing a market that is already available or there is a potential that it would expand. A classic example of this would be Amazon, when it started its operations more than 25 years internet commerce was literally not there but it was growing rapidly.

Behind all this, there is one fundamental question any startup founder or entrepreneur needs to address.

Aakash says, “What is the problem one is trying to solve, and what is the use case.”

The answer to this question will naturally open up the market for any business where one is also able to understand the industry structure, one’s consumer, product use case, the competitive scenario. Behind all this is the value of trust where the business needs to communicate that it cares for its customers.

“If you want to build a big business then one needs to attack a big market,” says Aakash.

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