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Incubator Funds in India: Product Marketing?

Posted on Monday, Nov 12th 2007

In the previous post, we discussed the Idea Crucible. In this one, we would assume that an idea has been generated and validated.

The next major skill-set missing from the early-stage venture equation in India is Product Marketing.

India’s stature as the back-end services capital of the world, unfortunately, has left a gaping void in product marketing talent development.

For the success of any significant entrepreneurial venture (perhaps slightly less so in Consumer Internet), the product and strategic marketing skills are critical. Products need to be positioned, markets need to be segmented and sized, specs need to be envisioned and derived out of the critical assumptions.

Indian entrepreneurs, by and large, haven’t been able to do this so far.

In Silicon Valley, entrepreneurs have often come out of the technology side, and allowed innovative technologies to drive company formation. Thus, product marketing has been layered on top of technology solutions to come up with “companies”. This method, which I call “Solutions Looking For a Problem” work well when the technology is sufficiently original, which I’m afraid has not been India’s sweet spot either. (Israel has done better in this mode.)

So, at this point, I would say, let’s design incubators that have strong product marketing built in and leveraged across the companies in the portfolio. It may be difficult if not downright impossible for individual companies to hire great product marketing talent, but an incubator can hire such talent, to amortize over 5-8 portfolio companies.

This segment is a part in the series : Incubator Funds in India

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Is it possible that they go by a different name? I’ve come to believe that in India, senior engineers morph into engineering managers and take up product management capabilities.

Vijaykumar Balasubramanian Monday, November 12, 2007 at 12:32 PM PT

Two things, Vijay.

One, Product Management, especially the kind that is done by engineers in India, and Product Marketing are two entirely different disciplines.

Two, good Product Marketeers are very difficult to find even in Silicon Valley. In India, by and large, I would say, they don’t exist.


Sramana Mitra Monday, November 12, 2007 at 5:41 PM PT

[…] Incubator Funds in India: Product Marketing? […]

Early Stage Technology Entrepreneurship and Incubators in India at VentureWoods Sunday, November 18, 2007 at 11:21 AM PT

[…] Incubator Funds in India: Product Marketing? […]

Early Stage Technology Entrepreneurship and Incubators in India |Indian startups, India Business Monday, November 19, 2007 at 5:31 AM PT

We are a security company who would like to explore in export and import business. We would like to market your product in South Africa. Please supply us with the details of your incubator product.

Petronella Mabogo Thursday, January 24, 2008 at 8:54 AM PT

Indian engineers move more towards project management and NOT towards product management. And, it is not just in software services/ITES companies; it is visible in automotive, contract manufacturing, etc. Main reasons: Current eco system + cultural reasons.

I honestly believe that we should see some change in next 5-10 years on product management space from India. And, where will these companies get Product Managers? They have to groom their existing engineers (sr. engineers / leads / architects) to take up product manager role.

Obviously, these engineers will lack marketing, product positioning, customer experience, etc. But, they will learn over a period of time; plus, we need to support these engineers by bringing in consultants and other experienced people.

shankar krishnamoorthy Wednesday, August 18, 2010 at 11:07 PM PT

Rightly identified gap – product marketing talent. The unfortunate truth is that lot of people dont event understand the difference between product marketing and services marketing. Same techniques and methods are experimented for both.
Hiring product talent is ideal solution. But can we have some more clarity on what is product marketing talent

Kinjal Vora Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 2:37 AM PT