4 Lessons These Investors Learnt From Working With Entrepreneurs
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As an investor, it is important to work closely with entrepreneurs to whom money is entrusted, and use experience to guide them through the tough times. This also leads to debates around how much investors should really influence the internal working of a company.
But often, it is also the other way round. Several start-up founders end up teaching lessons to long-time investors that they say would stay with them for life.
“All my entrepreneurs have taught me lessons in my personal growth,” said Sarath Naru, managing partner at venture capital (VC) firm Ventureast.
Here are some of the biggest lessons that these investors learnt from working with entrepreneurs.
To Keep Going
Although a recurring theme, most entrepreneurs teach how to keep going, no matter what, according to Ruchira Shukla, head of venture capital in South Asia for International Finance Corp.
“You take an upheaval and the next morning, you say, well, it's the beginning of the next day, and I'm going to start all over again,” said Shukla.
This lesson transcends beyond just business and has also acted as a life lesson, she said. “Even outside of our pocket lives, we have personal lives and things go up and down, and you just have to keep going and do your best.”
Start-ups benefit immensely from founders who stay positive in such difficult situations, said Rahul Khanna, managing partner at venture debt firm Trifecta Capital.
“I have observed that the best founders maintain the ability to stay positive in difficult situations – their knack for sticking it out while course correcting as necessary has allowed them to survive multiple market cycles,” Khanna said.
For Siddarth and Pranav Pai, founding partners at VC firm 3one4, the process of interacting with various entrepreneurs and building a relationship through several small meetings has been a valuable lesson.
It is important that investors and entrepreneurs have that bridge of trust and confidence in each other, according to the brothers.
“This is intrinsically much more valuable than most people will admit,” they said.
Finding Answers When There Are None
The ability of entrepreneurs to just raise their hand and find a solution when there doesn’t seem to be any is inspiring, said VC firm Lightbox’ Sandeep Murthy.
“I think that's the whole reason why any of us does this is you're going to live through some very difficult issues and to come out of it, the upside and joy that you feel there's nothing like this in the world,” he said.
“Sometimes entrepreneurs, once in a while, surprise you with their honesty,” said Rajesh Raju, managing director at VC firm Kalaari Capital.
Raju cited the example of one entrepreneur who recognized the problem early and sat down with the firm to find the best possible solution for all investors involved.
“That rarely happens with entrepreneurs,” Raju said.