3 tips by serial entrepreneur Ronnie Screwvala on deal-making

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Former UTV Group owner, serial entrepreneur and philanthropist Ronnie Screwvala is a force to reckon with in the Indian start-up ecosystem. Born in Mumbai in a Parsi family, Screwvala has laid the foundation stone of entrepreneurship. He has been named on Esquire's List of the 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century in September 2008 and ranked 78 among the 100 most influential people in the world on the Time 100 in 2009.


His first book ‘Dream With Your Eyes Open’ is all about inspiring first generation entrepreneurs to follow their guts and take the big plunge. Screwvala is deeply engrossed in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. He’s an angel investor, mentor and advisor to various budding entrepreneurs fueling innovation and creativity. Having worked with some of the prominent international companies, Screwvala has some tips on forming partnerships:

1. Partnership Among Equals: The general perception is that if anybody is coming from the global environment, he/she is superior. The incoming global investors should also understand the reason for a partnership is they can’t do a couple of things on their own. Somebody is coming to bring their global vision to India. If they are coming on their own, they shouldn’t tie up. If they are coming because you know the ground level and there are international best practices to be shared, then it is the best way.

2. Don’t Go To Third Party If You Don’t Need To: If you can help it, don’t get a banker. I feel you need a banker at the beginning of your career because you don’t know everybody. Somebody needs to position you and introduce you, but after that, most of the bankers get represented with their large clients; mostly investors are their long-term clients and an investee is a short term client. I have never had a situation where an investee company would have a good value by having a banker. Investment bankers are there to please future clients. You are a temporary client; they are therefore not to get you the best valuation. They are not representing the other, but they have already gone to the other. These bankers take you to people they know well.

3. Don’t Rinse Out Everything: Most of us don’t look at investment in a win-win situation. You have to give in a little bit; you have to take a little bit. Most feel everything has to be rinsed out for closing of the transaction.