First rule of first principle thinking, do not use first principle thinking when a mental model is available

Category: Entreprenuership

New VC on the block

Silicon beat reports that Canaan partners a Valley based VC has set up office in India. Helping run ts Indian office is Alok Mittal(a BoA member) who posts sometimes at Venturewoods. As discussed in the post by Matt this might be the first few example of VC's coming to India and setting up offices here.

I have added Canaan to the list of Indian VC which I mentioned yesterday that I will be putting up. This list might be handy to entreprenuers in India. Drop me a note if you want to edit any of these two (Entreprenuers, VCs) spreadsheets, I will send an numsum invite. You could also send me the information I will update them.

Indian Tech Startups

Two days ago a friend from in a b-school asked me to give him a list of early startups in India. I have been tracking the startup scene in India for a long time now but when he asked me to give a list then I did not have one that I could pass it on to him. Also realized that there is no pointers on the internet which I could point him to. So I sat down and put together a list of all the startups in India that I have came across ( met, heard or read) in the last few months. I am posting this list here in the hope that this is of help to someone.I would have pasted the entire list in the post itself only if wordpress would have permitted to do so.

I think the best way to share this could be to put the file on a collaborative space, I tried using numsum but the free service only allows upto 20 rows. Let me know if there is any alternate solution to put this up somewhere where it can be edited wiki style. (here is the excel sheet for this)

update: I could upload this sheet to numsum, thanks to Animesh for pointing this out. 🙂 If you want to edit this sheet to add entries let me know, I will send you an numsum invite to do so. 

TiE blog

       Tieboston has a blog .I don’t know when tiebangalore or tiehyderabad will start having a blog. Rajat has been trying to push for that a lot,let’s see when that starts happening. As in one of the posts the Jay author of the blog notes TiE members seemed to be scared of blogging.

Entrepreneurial Lessons

       Nuggets of wisdom learnt through painstaking experience by an entreprenuer. I could not agree more to each of the word spelt in his post.  Reproducing below the key points spelt in the post.

  • You don’t need an MBA for the first 3 years
  •  What type of people should be in the team:
    • Those who say – behave – act – MY COMPANY
    • Those who focus on work and don't try to bargain fully knowing that chips are down
    • Those who can share your dream and are driven by it

       I have myself got into arguments with many (including people who are experienced) on why it does not make sense to have an MBA type in the team of a early stage technology company. ( Oh yeah but the VC's will tell you otherwise :)) 

Entrepreneurship Network

           I was forwarded this news article by a friend few days ago, it is relinked at many places now. 

       Few folks at IIT Powai are trying to help build a Global Entreprenuership Network connecting entreprenuers and VC's ,  they are also trying to collaborate with entrepreneurship cell at Stanford and MIT.

      This could be of great help to entrepreneurs , I think it would be great to have a node of this network in as many cities in India as possible(have one at Hyderabad/Bangalore 😀 ).

Sequoia Capital India’s First Investment

Sequoia Capital India does series A round of investing in TutorVista. The investment is around $2 million. It is founded by Ganesh K who is a serial entreprenuer with earlier successes like Customer Asset(BPO). Tutorvista according him is a “new generation education company” that is challenging the “cyber coolie” label given to the Indian BPO sector and is offering a more specialized outsourcing service called KPO — or knowledge process outsourcing.

I have met Ganesh a few times in TiE bangalore meetings, he comes across a very energetic and is extremely analytical and he gave me some very good feedback on my ideas.

I found it very amusing that I could not find any link in any of the online space( online papers or blogs(like contentsutra or alootechie etc) or even Sequoia/Tutor’s website) where I could link to this piece of news. I read this news in todays edition of Economic times. We need some place(site or a blog) where we can gat information of what is going on in the startup scene in India.

update: Contentsutra refers to businessstandard article here

Silicon Valley elsewhere

I like Paul Graham's articles very much even though I find couple of his articles amusing where he uses somewhat of a short cut logic to derive a conclusion.

His latest article titled ‘How to be silicon valley’ is by far one of the best articles I have read so far. Also so because it touches a favorite topic of mine. I have earlier reflected on few of my thoughts about silicon valley & India here ( here, here & here).

Here is more of my reflections on few of his Keypoints

  • You need nerds and rich people to build silicon valley.

Once I wondered as to how many nerds are there in India, but I am quite convinced now there are many many of them ;). A proxy of that number could be around ~856 ( 121 + 110 + 207 + 208 + 162 + 48) [Can you guess this calculation ?, I will post it in comments if anyone is interested J]

But where can I find the kind of rich people that he mentions. One could probably count such kind of people by hands in a country of 1 billion people.

  • You don’t need big building to make a silicon valley,

There are many technology parks that have come up across many cities in India and large part of them are for BPO’s and IT services and even though many are for helping small scale( STPI ?? anyone) atleast in paper but they are largely for large corporations. What is needed is support when startups are in garage. There are a couple of incubators that have come up which are more or less trying to cater to this role.

  • You need Universities.

Paul here is repeating what Saxenian had said long ago but this is the most important point. It is no surprise that great civilization (like the Mohenjadaro & Harappa) were built where the river banks were ( the Indus River). Universities thus are like the Indus river for civiliazations of Silicon valley

Couple of cities in India have seeded themselves in the right way keeping this in mind. An older example of this is Bangalore where you have the best of the nerds in IISc and the investors flocking the city for various avenues and reasons. Also you have IIM in Bangalore which is where some the managers of investors originate/hangout. The latest example is Hyderabad. Here you have a nice place called IIIT where a lot of nerds hang out and sharing a boundary wall with this institute is the limelight hogging Indian School of Business where a lot of investors hang out if not for anything else but just to check out the out of the world dorms in ISB.

  • Universities are the seed and then you need young people (nerds) and city that people want to live in.

Different people prefer slightly different choice as far as these two city goes but both of these cities are rated as highly desirable to live among any nerd that I have met in so far.

  • You need time for this to happen organically

This is true but by but it is a painful and long process. This might take a generation of a lifetime to grow

  • You need compete with silicon valley

This I am not too much worried about this because somehow the kind of signals many of the VC firms are giving are that they are moving from Silicon Valley as it is got saturated already.

QOTD

    From the main page of Khosla Ventures website.

      "An entrepreneur is someone who dares to dream the dreams and is foolish enough to try to make those dreams come true."

How to build bullet proof startups

       A fantastic article in CNN money on "How to build bulletproof startups" co-written by the brilliant Om Malik.  There is so much of useful info to learn from this and for me having read this there are a few holes that I need to fill 🙂 
          Why is that one does'nt get to have such kind of articles in India.  I think it is due to the fact that I keep repeating we do not have a Om Malik for India & its Tech Space.

Tiecon notes

I attend almost every TiE meet that I can as there is always something new to learn or someone interesting to meet there. Have been attending all the bangalore meet since over an year and all the hyd meets since last couple of months. The one meet (the biggest & most talked about one) which I can’t attend is the TiEcon as it is held in the valley and has a very high entry fee :(. Thanks to few blogs I could catch up with some of what went over there. 😀

update:Wahindia has very good coverage of the entire event. hat tip: Alok

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