Looking to start up? Get your hands dirty and work your brain, VCs told new startups as they shared their experiences and insights over some freshly brewed coffee and revealed the nuances of the game at our Startup Kickoff event in March.
1. Validate your idea:
Starting your own venture? Do you have a clear vision of what you want to do? Thinking of being an entrepreneur is easy but to live a life of an entrepreneur is difficult. It is essential for any budding entrepreneur who is planning to enter the startup world to validate his idea.
“Having an idea or clear vision of what you want to do is a typical way to get started. Unless you are completely sure of what you are going to do, exactly how you are going to execute it and what eventually you want out of it and that clarity in itself is a great start,” said Gary Dalal, CTO, Apptology.
Similarly, Vikas Agarwal, Founder and CEO, Alpha Global Ventures, said,
“At the idea stage, one tend to spend a lot of time in doing research, going through what other people have done, etc. instead of stepping out of the building and interacting with people. Once you go out, you actually discover the reality. So, it is really important that you validate your idea really well.”
2. Find 3Fs:
For entrepreneurs, the major challenge is to secure initial funds. To start any venture, you need to fetch the initial amount, and this can be done by getting 3Fs that is Friends, Fools and Family members on board to fund you in your initial days.
“To get start with your business idea, it is essential for any entrepreneur to get some of those 3Fs who can give you the initial money to start,” said Rajat Tandon, Vice President, Nasscom 10,000 Startups.
3. Get the right mentor:
If you are starting up, make sure you are getting the right mentor not for the money but for his time and connections that can take you forward. Let the mentor go out and get you connected to angel investors to get angel funds so that you can take it across to the next level.
“People think money and market can make anything run. This is not entirely true. It’s not like that we put money in anything and it will grow like anything,” said Dalal.
4. Go out, meet people:
If you are planning to start your own venture, you must go out and meet the maximum number of people instead of just sitting back and conducting researches on what people have done in the past.
“As a startup you don’t really get stuck on to your idea because the idea has no value. The same idea will be thought by 20 odd people or may be 100 people in this country. So go out meet people, discuss your idea. Make sure that people are giving you guidance on whether you are building a correct product,” said Tandon.
5. Be aware of the changed perspective of investors:
There was a time when investors used to say that a bootstrapped startup has more chances to excel in the market as compared to funded ones. But I think now investors have changed their perspective.
“In Silicon Valley, if you have bootstrapped for more than three weeks, they think you have got a fault with your product. So our fundamentals have changed now,” said Tandon.