Teeming startups queue up for advice on funding, work culture

Teeming startups queue up for advice on funding, work culture

For Venture Capitalist Sequoia Capital’s Shailendra Singh, grabbing eyeballs at TechSparks 2015 was a fluid cakewalk.

Young entrepreneurs in their teeming hundreds had their attention riveted to Singh, as he ventured deep into funding territory. Dispelling fears of funds drying up, his “plenty of capital available for innovators” remark was music enough to their ears!

In her Fireside Chat with Singh, YourStory’s Shraddha Sharma was shooting questions thick and fast. But he seemed hellbent on riding that silver line.

“We have been investing for 10 years. But I have never been so optimistic as now. Yes, people are spending crazy amounts of capital. I’m sure, a lot of very good companies will subsequently emerge from this,” said Singh.

He did admit the multiplicity of startups working with the same business model was not exactly a perfect picture for funding. But VCs knew which startup had the passion, clarity, motivation and vision to make it big. “It is a lot about sensing these and the chemistry.”

So, what turns off VCs? Singh preferred honesty. He said, “I love people to be real. Some entrepreneurs exaggerate, which they cannot match up. They ought to be trustworthy since we would be in it for long-standing relationships.”

Despite Shraddha’s pointed questions, Singh wasn’t ready to identify the hot sectors for funding, beyond ‘fashion’ in 2011. But he was quick to rebut another query: Whether VCs were fixated with startups led by IIT graduates.

“I completely disagree with this obsession with IIT,” he said. “There have been lawyers, those with philosophy doctorates, even school dropouts making it big. If people can build great products, there is plenty of capital available.”

Work culture
Beyond funding, the startups had some advice on work culture mistakes from InMobi founder and CEO, Naveen Tewari: To get meaningful work done, make employees want to do so by ensuring freedom.

Trust them and watch them perform better. He had done so in his setup since statistics supported that decision. He had learnt that only one per cent misuse their freedom.

Smile Group founder and CEO Harish Bahl had another word of advice for those seeking global expansion: Do your homework, study the market readiness, skills, cultural adaptability, hiring and more.

“I am yet to come across an emerging market with a very good regulatory framework. Businesses would be better off with a strong local part-ner. Otherwise,the cost of every mistake will be multiplied by 5!”

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