This is going to be the last segment for this series on Incubators in India, and it tackles the key to making such incubators work. We have said, that we need concept engineering, engineering management, product marketing, sales, biz dev, legal and financial talent in the incubator management team.
I am going to, therefore, propose a different structure for the incubators than what traditional venture funds have.
Venture Funds, generally, are structured as “Partnerships”, with a hierarchy of Managing Partner, General Partners, and
Analysts / Associates / Principals.
Our incubators, however, need to be more of an “operating company” structure. In fact, the skill-set that is of least significance in an incubator is that of a banker. Instead, what we need are experienced entrepreneurs, marketeers, sales and biz dev stars, as well as good engineering managers who can bring a new product to market.
In terms of location, I would go so far as to say that it is okay for a portion of this management team to be located in Silicon Valley, especially if the concept engineering / marketing / sales / biz dev challenges happen to be focused on the US market.
Most certainly, the engineering management, legal, financial resources, as well as resources such as telemarketing, telesales,
etc. need to be located in India. On the other hand, if the entire focus of the incubator turns out to be on domestic producer – domestic consumer businesses, then keeping the whole team in India would be desirable.
In the end, I hope that multiple such incubators sprout up, and each takes shape from the personality and expertise of its management team. A networking equipment focused management team is better off not doing consumer internet, and founders of Bazee.com are likely not to venture into CAD or EDA. Entrepreneurs, similarly, would ideally have choices of aligning with incubators that match their focus area. Similarly, service industry entrepreneurs would need to be careful about getting into product incubators.
Of course, you do realize, that the whole series that I have just written is a “vision”. What exists today in the Indian context is well short of anything remotely equivalent to this.
I hope, however, that the venture money that is sitting around collecting money-market interest right now would recognize the need for catalyzing the early-stage venture industry with something more than their apathy and neglect.
This segment is a part in the series : Incubator Funds in India