While tremendous interest in entrepreneurship in India continues to surge, there is a troubling and corresponding shortage of seed capital to help get these entrepreneurs’ ventures off the ground.
Sramana Mitra, one of the most highly regarded writers on the Indian startup scene, analyzes the current state of the startup eco-system in India in the latest addition to her acclaimed Entrepreneur Journeys book series, Seed India: How To Navigate The Seed Capital Gap In India (December 2013; Amazon Kindle). Mitra proposes ways of navigating the rest of the decade, such that a robust pipeline of entrepreneurs can survive the current malaise, and thrive, while the eco-system develops and matures in parallel.
India has a minuscule seed capital ecosystem. Entrepreneurs thus have to be really creative to survive.
My new piece How To Navigate The Seed Capital Gap in India offers a synthesis of how entrepreneurs are getting around. Two companion pieces offer perspective on why the ecosystem is developing so slowly: Seed Investors in India: Why So Few? and Venture Capital in India: Age of Reckoning. >>>
Even though interest in entrepreneurship is at its highest in India, the country has a nominal seed capital infrastructure. As you know, I concern myself with issues of scalability and pipeline building. The question that I have been pondering for the last ten years is: how do you develop a sustainable pipeline of entrepreneurs?
Of course, this discussion pertains to my field: IT and IT-enabled services. India has numerous small retailers, service providers, etc. who are shining examples of scrappy entrepreneurship at its best.
But how do we take advantage of the increasing penetration of information technology into the consumer and business populations in India? And how, through technology, do we empower Indian entrepreneurs to build global businesses?
Korstiaan Zandvliet holds an MSc in New Business Venturing and Entrepreneurship and has a background in sociology and business administration. He is a frequent writer of blog articles on social media, crowdsourcing and c. After holding a position as marketing manager for a Dutch software company (www.mendix.com), he co-founded a company called Symbid, which aims to help nascent entrepreneurs to overcome financing problems for their start-up or small business. Symbid focuses on entrepreneurial finance needs up to €2.5 million by using the concept of crowdfunding in a new way. In contrast to currently available crowdfunding sites, Symbid developed a financial and legal framework, which allows crowdfunders to actually become a shareholder of the offered crowdfunding propositions. For more information, visit www.symbid.com.
Sramana Mitra: Korstiaan, welcome to the blog. To start, would you tell us more about your offering is in the domain of crowdfunding to fund startup ventures? >>>
As you may know, I’m a strong supporter of bootstrapping. But I understand that some companies simply can’t get off the ground without significant financing from investors like those at Kae Capital. My interview with managing director Sasha Mirchandani will help entrepreneurs who are looking for seed capital to understand what to expect if they should decide to pitch investors at Kae Capital.
Sramana Mitra: Hi, Sasha. Tell us briefly about your group. >>>
[We just received a tragic news that Rahul passed away of a cardiac arrest.]
The entrepreneur ecosystem continues to grow in India. This is an exciting time for both startups and investors. As my interview with Rahul Patwardhan of IndiaCo shows, there are investors for every sector. If they do their own due diligence before sending out pitches, those entrepreneurs who need funding to get their ventures started can find several potential investors in their chosen industries.
Sramana Mitra: Hi, Rahul. Tell us briefly about your group. >>>
The entrepreneur ecosystem in India is growing by leaps and bounds. Still, almost all of those who apply for funding are rejected, and it’s not always because they don’t have viable products or services. Often, entrepreneurs get rejected because they pitched to the wrong investor. An entrepreneur with an e-commerce company should not be pitching to an investor who specializes in green tech or manufacturing. Read carefully, entrepreneurs, if you want to pitch to Rehan yar Khan. >>>
Sometimes, the reason an entrepreneur is denied funding isn’t because he doesn’t have what it takes to succeed. And it’s not because he doesn’t have a viable idea. Sometimes the only reason an entrepreneur gets turned away is because he didn’t pitch to the right investor. Read on to see what Mukund Mohan and his wife are looking for in a company and in an entrepreneur.
Sramana Mitra: Hi Mukund. Tell us briefly your background.
Mukund Mohan: My wife and I have been investing as individual investors in early stage technology companies for over 10 years, since 2001, in the Bay area, and since 2008, in India. We have invested in seven companies so far in India, and in the US we had invested through an investment vehicle called Zodiac Ventures LLC. >>>
Today, I’m talking with David Rose, who founded AngelSoft, now Gust, in 2004. Gust provides a platform where angel investors and entrepreneurs can connect and discuss ventures. Originally created with angel investors’ needs in mind, Gust now has more than 750 investment organizations worldwide using its platform to manage deal flow and other day-to-day tasks. Over 125,000 startups have, through Gust, worked with more than 35,000 individual investors on their ventures. The company is based in New York City, has a development office in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and a European office in Paris, France. >>>
By guest authors Irina Patterson and Vandana Upadhyay
I am talking to Pravin Gandhi, a founding partner at Seedfund, which is one of the India’s leading early-stage venture capital funds, with operations in Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi.
Seedfund was founded in 2006 by Bharati Jacob, Mahesh Murthy, and Pravin Gandhi. In 2010, they raised Seedfund II, which is a $54 million fund. The fund also runs its own incubator.
Irina: Hi, Pravin. Let’s start with your personal background. Where are you from and where did you receive your education? How did you arrive at this point in your life?
Pravin: I was born in Mumbai and did my schooling here. I did my undergraduate work at Cornell and then returned to India after I finished my undergraduate degree. Then I worked in a couple of companies because I really wanted to be an entrepreneur. >>>
Some of you have read my recent post AngelList, CapLink and Financing Marketplaces, in which I publicly supported the work Naval Ravikant and others are doing to increase liquidity in the seed capital portion of the market. Following that, Naval and I decided to sit down for a more comprehensive chat. Over the next several days, we will publish the interview here as part of the Seed Capital from Angel Investors series. >>>
By guest authors Irina Patterson and Candice Arnold
I am talking to Mark Solon, co-founder and managing partner of Highway 12 Ventures, which is a $75 million venture fund in Boise, Idaho. Highway 12 invests in high-growth start-up companies in the Intermountain West. >>>
By guest authors Irina Patterson and Candice Arnold
I am talking to Tim Cartwright, chairman of the Tamiami Angel Fund. Created in October 2010 in Naples, Florida, this member-owned and -operated fund, offers early-stage capital in the range of $250,000–$750,000 to high-growth companies located anywhere in the state of Florida. There are 30 investors in the fund, who each put in $50,000. Tamiami Fund is the first angel fund for southwest Florida. >>>