Anil Joshi, Managing Partner of Unicorn India Ventures, that invests in early stage ventures talks about what it takes to scoop the first investment by a founding team of a startup.
What should an entrepreneur think before approaching his/her first investor?
The first and foremost quality is to check what kind of skill set the team brings on the table and whether the team is capable enough to execute the idea they have conceived. We also pay a lot of interest in checking the exact problem that is being solved by the startup. We generally look for a differentiating factor in their problem solving technique that stands out amongst the rest. We also look at whether the startup has potential M&A qualities, IPO, which come at a later stage.
How should an entrepreneur prepare himself before approaching early stage investor?
It’s very important to approach the right investor at the initial stage. One needs to understand which investor has the appetite for your vertical. Do your research well before approaching the cash basket!
I’ve often seen founders having difficulty in articulating their idea to the investor. Communicating your vision within the given span of time is very important. An investor’s time span of attention is very limited and it needs to be utilized to the maximum by the entrepreneur.
Anil also said that the entrepreneur needs to be very clear about the problem his company plans to solve. He needs to know the nitty- gritties of the problem and be prepared to answer any questions around the same.
Mistakes often made by entrepreneurs
I’ve often seen entrepreneurs say that they don’t have competition in their domain. If you don’t have competition, then you are probably not making the right product. It’s important to be aware of the industry and the challenges ahead of you.
Entrepreneurs often get their numbers wrong. It’s important to know how much fund you require and have a forward-looking approach to your startup. This will help you from being under-funded in future.
Founders often miss highlighting their team’s strength. Most of the times the investor bets on the team along with the founder, hence a self-centric approach could lead to a confusion in investor’s mind about team building capability.
Startup ideas you’d probably not want to see in 2016
I would prefer not seeing any more of the hyperlocal companies and the food-tech companies no longer have any differentiating factor in them.
Companies trying to address last-minute deliveries are also something I would prefer not to see this year. These companies need to come up with a disruptive idea to be funded by investors. I would like to see more companies that offer unit economics this year and are disruptive in nature.