You may be one of those believers who think creating technology product companies in
As an entrepreneur of a technology-product company, you start out thinking one day you will translate your idea into reality. You believe you will create something that will have huge market for itself because of certain attributes you bring in to that idea. You start out thinking that someday you will create enough value, enough traction with customers, and will be poised to take on bigger markets. In that journey you will include the role of VCs because at some point of time you need the necessary monies to scale up to make a significant difference. You hope that someday the VCs will see this potential in your company to invest in your company. You hope that they may want to share the risks with you. You believe that if you achieve those important milestones and show them what you believed in was indeed true they will come to invest in you.
Here’s the reality. If you think they will invest in you when you productize your idea and make prototypes which actually work, then you are wrong. If you think they will invest in you when you get some partners to sign up and use your technology and product, then you are wrong. If you think they will invest in you when you get some customers to actually deploy your units in the market, then you are wrong. You need to stop deluding yourself. If you think they will invest in you when you show a huge interest in your product from your customers, and the only thing you need is money to translate those orders into a multi-million dollar business, then you are wrong. Stop hallucinating. They won’t invest in you.
Here I write some of the things acting against us right now (and to an extent, acting against many technology product companies in
We are young and also first-generation entrepreneurs
We are not ex-entrepreneurs who have already done it; we are not the grey-haired veterans with big titles either. We don’t think our age counts for our experience. We believe our actual experiences of having gone through the grit and grind of making a product in this unfriendly atmosphere counts for it. Our experience of forming alliances and partnerships with various bigwigs, to actually pull it off, counts for it. Our experience of knowing the customers’ needs, and then fulfilling them in the price points that is attractive to them counts for it. Our experience of holding a team of 20+ for over three years paying each 1/3 of salary counts for it. But for some reason that has no value. Did I also add that we don’t have degrees from IITs and IIMs?
We are ‘actually’ a technology product company
Many people just want to be called ‘technology’ companies but they are not. Even VCs know that. But everyone just pretends. Since everybody wants to be associated with that word, and it adds glamour, they just throw in that word. Many people just want to be called a ‘product’ company but they are not. Many VCs who speak incessantly on how they are going to promote and fund technology product companies end up investing in online travel portals, marriage sites, networking sites, and hotels. According to us, marriage sites and hotels are NOT ‘technology product’ companies.
We are a three-year old company
We have survived as a startup in
Indian VCs firms are not VCs
VCs are characterized by the bets they take. Most VC firms, even those from
Indian VCs do not look at our business
We are not Mobile VAS, we are not Mobile gaming, we are not
When even a novice with a fresh high school degree can foresee revenues from the day one from a services company, it doesn’t make sense to invest in a company that takes three years to make the first buck. When it is far lucrative and safer to invest in real estate and hotels in
VCs find Indian entrepreneurs clueless
Many VCs find Indian entrepreneurs clueless. There’s great deal of truth to it.
But I also find many VCs in
Once I was asked to list the top three things I needed, I said, ‘Money, Money, Money’. Yes, that’s the truth. When I don’t have money even to survive, all these talks about ‘mentoring and coaching’ sound completely ridiculous.
VCs don’t build businesses. It’s entrepreneurs who do. A top-name VC partner based in
A note on entrepreneurship in India
The state of entrepreneurship in
I find the test of Indian entrepreneurship more grueling and the experiences quite valuable. We are the people working on the ground for three years now, meeting the customers, meeting folks who are shaping the market right at the forefront. We learn from the market and know the pulse. We are taking bets on the upcoming technology, making innovations to suit the price points of our customers, evolving our business plans when necessary to suit changing markets. And each of our decisions impacts the fate of our business – always on the brink of demise. When you survive for three years, you have already ingrained much strength that comes handy in the long run. There is an inherent strength that will go long way - that needs to be recognized.
Purpose of this article
We are not complaining. We don’t believe VCs should invest in us just because we believe we should be invested. We don’t have such expectations. We don’t think we lost out just because VCs have not invested in us as yet. I think the struggle gets a little longer, that’s all. We know we will do it, either way- with or without VC money.
It is just that I see too many reports, too many blogs, too many articles written about the extremely optimistic side of funding scene in
Just look at the recent VC investments in
Reading these reports on funding scene in India is like reading reports about how India’s economy is booming, how its Sensex is rising, how India’s infrastructure is being funded, and so on. The reality is very different for most of us living in
Similarly, nothing has changed for us on the ‘investment-into-product-companies’ front either. All these reports of so much investments coming into India, so many VCs opening their shops in India, so many funds being allocated for investments in technology space, etc, do not mean anything. In reality, none of it has trickled down to us. Our life continues to be the same. Our struggle continues to be the same.
We are on our own.