Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bangalore- Startup City

For many months now some of us have believed that Bangalore is the most favored place for startups. Of course, we didn’t have any data to back it. When Vijay Anand of, a good friend who spends most of his energies in promoting startup ecosystem in India contested that Bangalore may not the best destination for startups, I had a different opinion on it. 

Some of us who have started out in Bangalore have a bias for Bangalore and that may have clouded our assumption that Bangalore is more suited for startups. Then, may be not! We now have some data coming from the recent TATA NEN exercise.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How can startups get right engineers?

Few initiatives like,,, NEN, are doing a wonderful job in educating engineering institutions in India to get exposed to the startups of India. They are taking initiatives to bring startups to the campuses so that interested students can be recruited by them. 

While talking to one of the very energetic campaigners at NEN, I started giving my opinion on how and what they should be doing. I am penning down the points from that talk. 

Startups are too busy and are not in a position to go to a campus for recruiting candidates. First, they don’t have time and they don’t have people who can spend a day on recruitments. Second, they don’t have money to travel to the campuses if they are in far off cities. Third, they will never get the kind of guys they want at the salary they are willing to give. 

Instead, as a startup, I would like to receive a document which lists all the master’s and PhD students in an institute that has a small picture of the candidate, their contact details, and a 10 line biography, highlighting their project, their interest, area, and other technical and performance information. I can then choose the candidates that are of interest to me, call them up or send them an e-mail. NEN can also create a separate list of those candidates showing interest in working for a startup so that I don’t have to bother spending time telling the candidate what it takes to work in a startup. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Crisis or Opportunity?

The Wall Street as we know it doesn’t exist. This could be the onset of worst financial crisis in the last fifty years. The alarms are being sounded. It’s going to be gloomy ahead. ‘Brace yourself for the worst storm ever’. ‘It’s going to be another Great Depression’, and so on. Indians would love to believe it is going to affect them exactly the way it is affecting Americans. Flat world, isn’t it? We have believed in that myth far too long not to believe it now. 

The news pours in from every quarter. It’s impossible to get away from it – every newspaper, every magazine, and every news report suggests the same. There will an economic slowdown. There will be layoffs. Startups need to conserve cash. Already cautious VCs of India become more cautious now.

I am supposed to be gloomy too. I am supposed to make negative statements too. I am supposed to say that, ‘Yeah! It’s going to be hard; it’s going to be tough; it’s going to be bleak!’
Yet, I don’t say that. I am a startup, remember. I am already in the deepest shit-hole possible. I am used to surviving in a very hostile environment. I conserve cash like nobody else’s business. I starve and yet put on a smile. I am used to it. (It’s been four years like that. I better be used to it.)
Unlike the pundits out there, I am not pessimistic.