"Don't Look For Funding When You Are At An Idea Phase Or Just Starting Up"
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Bengaluru, which has been christened as the “Silicon Valley” of India, is home to several incubators and accelerators. These incubators have nurtured several thousands of startups and entrepreneurs. Hence, it doesn’t come as a surprise that i-phone maker Apple Inc also decided to launch its accelerator in this city.
One of the names in the list of incubators include Excubator Consulting Pvt Ltd, which has mentored over 2000 startups in the last two years alone, and has 11 startups in its portfolio of incubates.
Speaking to Entrepreneur Media, Guhesh Ramanathan, discussed what goes into nurturing early-stage startups today. Guhesh said that over the last couple of years he has seen entrepreneurs come up with ideas that are very influenced by chatter from other people without really understanding what is happening in the domain itself.
What does the incubator look for?
Guhesh said the qualities that his incubator looks for is very similar to those looked for by an investor. The incubator looks for a good team, coachable quality, size of the problem they are trying to solve and the timing of the problem. The incubator is not domain specific, however it avoids engineering heavy sectors.
New concerns for entrepreneurs
Speaking on the concerns entrepreneurs raise today, Guhesh said that today founders come to them with an idea, wanting to know if they can work with it or not. “Essentially they are coming for mentoring,” he said.
The incubator on Friday launched excube360, a software product to help entrepreneurs make data-driven decisions to validate their idea, and assess their chance of succeeding in an increasingly crowded market. “excube360 is like Google specifically for startups,” he added.
Advice to tackle failure
“They key things that we advice to a startup today is that don’t wait too long before you fail. It’s okay to fail. Even if your product/idea is half formed, take it out to the market and re-connect with a perfectly friendly, prospective customer. This is to find out if the product is actually finding interest from prospective customers,” Guhesh said, addressing the concept of tackling failure.
Guhesh said that the incubator encourages startups to first churning in some revenue and then figure out how to how to scale up that revenue using investor funds. The incubator advises entrepreneurs not use funds to build a product. “Do what you can to get your product ready so that you see customers coming in and booking/buying your services/product. Once there is real money coming in you say here’s a startup which has attracted so much traction, we need the funds/money to scale up the marketing. Don’t look for funding when you are at an idea phase or just starting up,” Guhesh said.
The incubator’s new product, excube360, is a SaaS( Software as a Service) Platform that looks for search terms keyed in, crawls through millions of data records from hundreds of data sources, and presents the entrepreneur with four metrics: number of similar startups pursuing this idea, market activity, growth prospects, and investor interest. In addition it also gives users the ability to drill deeper to view patents, research papers, startups, presentations, videos, news and events around the search phrase used.