I think this post might be one that generates a lot of discussion and debate, so I want to clarify – that is my intent.
I had an awesome 4 hour session yesterday at the offices of Saif partners in Delhi (Gurgaon actually) yesterday as part of the Microsoft ThinkNext event series. Mukul from Saif has been keen to get more events in the NCR region and he was happy to host us for a Marketing diagnostic clinic in Delhi with 30+ entrepreneurs. The ever charming Avinash Raghava from Product Nation used all the powers of persuasion to pull together few more entrepreneurs and we had an awesome quorum of people to help understand how to get Go to market right for startups.
We had 6 pitches from companies – yonyx, croak.it, 91mobiles, reviews42, touchtalent and zumbl. The format was simple – you pitch your company and give us the GTM problem you have, and the team (everyone participated) helped diagnose & troubleshoot the problem and offer suggestions.
I wanted to highlight one part of the anatomy of the Indian entrepreneur that I find challenging.
From our Microsoft accelerator database, 45% of entrepreneurs have a full time job and WONT work on their startup full-time until they get funding.
That’s just unacceptable.
If you are not going to take the risk of going into your startup full time, I dont think anyone else will.
If you are not committed to your startup full time, dont expect an investor to get excited about funding you.
I understand many people have commitments to families, EMI’s to pay, and food to put on the table.
I also understand many people feel their “dead-end job” is stifling their creative juices or their full-time job is just that – “a job” and their passions are with their startup.
I also am aware that many “side projects” lead to full time startups eventually.
If you are looking to raise money from an investor and will not commit to your startup full time until the investor puts the money into the company dont expect any investor to sign up.
If you say however that you are working on your startup part-time and dont need funds to move things forward, or that it is a side-project or you will hire people just to experiment, by all means, do that.
I dont think the person is being “sensible” when they say they are seeing if the investor is “committed” to funding them by putting money in before the entrepreneur comes on board full-time.
I’d love to hear both opinions, but yesterday when I heard this from an entrepreneur, I was shocked he even asked me for funding or connections to investors who would put money into his venture before he was on board full-time.