Sramana Mitra: We have been doing 1Mby1M for over a decade and with our experience, technical founders can be taught the business side. I would say that the biggest achievement of 1Mby1M is teaching technical founders this accelerated mini-MBA that gives them all the pieces that they need to put things into perspective at least for that early stage.
In a deep tech deal, you are going to spend quite a bit of time just building the product and talking to customers to figure out what products you are doing. You don’t gain anything by bringing in a salesperson at that point. It is a founder-led sales process at that point.
Karthee Madasamy: I agree. We look for more product-focused business people than sales. I agree with you. Earlier on, the founder does the sale. It’s a technology plus solution. What does the customer need? What is our technical and technological advantage? How do you build the right product in terms of understanding the customer requirements? Some technical entrepreneurs are good at it. They can learn. As you said, they have a product mindset. In some cases, they could use the help.
Sramana Mitra: Are you finding a lot of product-focused people who have experience in bringing products to market, and willing to take on very early deep tech ventures as maybe a CEO or CPO in situations like that?
Karthee Madasamy: Yes, we are seeing that, especially folks that have seen the problem themselves in their personal life and have more of a product mindset. They then team with a technical founder who provides the technology aspects of it. We are seeing more and more of that. Some of the technologies are getting easier to build as well.
Robotics is an example. Some of the robotics have become reasonably well understood. There are enough components now that some of the product-focused folks who may not have a lot of technical background can comfortably say, “We work with the technical founder and this is the type of robot that we will build.” We have definitely seen an increase in interest in that.
Last week, I had conversations with folks with that. They are business people or product people in a different area that identified a market problem. They then work with a technical founder to see how this can be brought to market. We are seeing more of that.
Sramana Mitra: Can you comment on a topic that we get a lot of conversation around? I personally had a bad experience with this issue. It’s about bringing in an outside CEO. My story comes from a much earlier point in my career. I was very young at that time. I had built the first phase of the business. I had raised venture capital.
I expected that my investors wanted to bring in a CEO. I was the product visionary. I had a good technical team doing technical development work in India. This was why we were able to do it a lot cheaply. This was in the mid-90s. They brought in a first-time CEO who had a sales background. This was a mistake. He was an absolute disaster.