Archive for February, 2006

Investor Ecosystem

I was curious and wanted to know what all transpires within the investor ecosystem. Since SEs wouldnt be of much help in this regard so what better place to ask than VentureWoods. To keep it within the scope of the site, ‘investors’ can be restricted to mean angels and non-corporate VCs. However it would be great if we can expand it to include institutional investors and corporate VCs too. I am listing some specific questions to give a sense of what i mean by ecosystem:

1] How does a person decide which VC firm or angel group to join/get associated with?
2] What is the nature and level of interaction among various such investing entities? Do they discuss/consult a few others (symbiotic on basis of expertise maybe) before they invest? Are announcements of an investment ‘within the ecosystem’ and ‘to outside world’ simultaneous or subsequent?
3] Are there sub-ecosytems on basis of location/domain/stage/nature of funding, or is the interaction fairly exhaustive?
3] If a group has invested in a venture(team+idea+geography), how would that affect how other groups react to a similar investment opportunity, idea being the invariant.
4] Is someone in the ecosystem is being admired by others within the ecosystem, why is s/he usually being admired for.
5] What are the popular sources of information?

Would be great to have your thoughts on other aspects and facets of the ecosystem too.

Would you buy a used dotcom?

Interesting Wired article — a VC trying to dig up all the old dotcom ideas to see which ones may fly now. Essentially the environment has changed with more broadband, consumers willing to buy on net, effective internet search, and lo! eyeball revenues in terms of Adsense.

Interesting thought, and an exercise absolutely worth doing. I just would be cautious of that last one… Remember “context of advertising” — just putting an ad on a page is not remunerative enough.

Rang De Basanti

I saw this movie over the weekend and was very impressed by how a strong social message ( Zero tolerance for Corruption) and the need for the youth to play an active role was delivered in an entertaining way. The thesis that the new exploiters replacing the British are corrupt politicians is probably not too far from the truth.

For those of you who have not seen the movie I think it is worth seeing. It is melodramatic and could have been a bit shorter but it sure had an effect on me. To me just the fact that such movies are being made is a sign that good things lie ahead for India

AARP + Senior Living

I still have a year before I turn 50 and can join AARP the American Association of Retired Persons.

My Dad was visiting me and he keeps talking about the need for Senior living facilities like Sunrise.

Does India present an opportunity for something like AARP and/or Sunrise. With all the real estate funds being set up maybe there are already efforts under way. For entrepreneurs who want to get into this maybe Tina Ambani could provide funding. While India has the largest young population it probably has one of the larger senior populations as well.

Prosper + 600000 villages

Sometimes elephants get created by connecting disjointed inputs. An entrepreneur Narain sent me this article from Business Week. This is like an eBay for loans.

I also saw an advertisement in the paper where Ministry of Information & Technology is interested in funding SCA ( Service Centre Agency) which will manage CSC ( Common Service Centres).

Now I know most people are cynical about GOI but entrepreneurs go where angels fear to tread . Is there an opportunity to learn from Prosper and apply it to all kinds of lending in India including the 600000 villages

DealFlow in India: What does it look like ?

Hi everyone,

I am new to this blog. For a quick intro, I am a student pursuing the Sloan Fellows program in Innovation and Global Leadership at MIT (http://mitsloan.mit.edu/fellows) and was most recently in a startup called AirTight Networks (http://www.airtightnetworks.net), venture-backed, HQ-ed in Mtn Vw, CA and incubated entirely from India, where I ran Asia-Pac BD, Mktg Support and Program Mgmt.

I am doing a study on VC and Entrepreneurship in India and was wondering if any of you can point me to some human sources (other than google, venture intelligence India), who can talk authoritatively about the nature of early stage startup dealflow in India. To give you an idea, some questions I have are:
1. Where are most of the startups getting created ? (Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chennai or Delhi ?)
2. What are the spaces in which these startups are starting up ? (Web 2.0, mobile internet, enterprise sw) ?
3. What is the nature of the founding team (returnees from abroad vs. residents, campus bred (e.g. IIT/IIM) vs. large corporate alumni like Infosys) ?
4. How are they funded ? (self, angel, vc) ?
5. what is their business model ? (services, product, consumer, etc.)
6. how many are in stealth mode ?

You can write to me at shivav@sloan.mit.edu or skype me on shivav999 or yahoo me on shivav99.

- Shiva

Commandments & VCs

On this blog and a few others, i see a flurry of activity by VCs putting out commandments for wannabe entrepreneurs. Particularly, any thing which has the word “commandment” (ten commandments for entrepreneurs) or “not to” (how not to write a business plan) is sure to ignite my interest. I read, learn and try to relate to what we are doing.

Waiting for the air deccan flight from bangalore to bombay to take off ( and taking breaks from the proprietary low-cost-airlines airhostess uniform scoring scale that i am working on – more about that later, but here is a sneek, Go Air on top – Kingfisher at the bottom), i started thinking about commandments that entrepreneurs might have for VCs.

Here are a few that i have, would like to hear from others.

#1 Everything always changes, especially the business plan
#2 Have an entrepreneur on your team, it will put things in perspective
#3 Dont expect answers to all the questions, the guy making the pitch doesnt have them
#4 Any number beyond three years is speculation, and most probably wrong

Barcamp in Delhi


We are organizing the first ever Barcamp in this part of the world. BarCamp is an ad-hoc un-conference born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from attendees. Barcamps have become pretty popular lately and many have taken place in North America and Europe. But this one is going to be the first barcamp in whole of Asia! The theme for this BarCamp is “Next Generation Internet: Web 2.0, mobile computing, and other cool stuff”.

This is a great avenue for showcasing or demoing interesting work, presenting your views and of course hearing about what others are doing. If you would like to attend please add your name to the BarCamp wiki or contact me (gaurav at tekritisoftware dot com). More details here and here.

3GSM – skype+nokia?, IM push

Grapevine has it that skype will announce their nokia client here at 3GSM – free calls on 2.5G and beyond.

Push from GSM Association to provide interoperable instant messaging – with sim based authentication and presence mgmt, besides low spam because caller pays.

Makes me think – will the future PC be a mobile phone as in having a SIM card (or phone dock) and hence provide equal ease of use and integrated services…

3GSM – Mobile Innovation Forum Live!

Reporting live from 3GSM in Barcelona – amazing scale – 50000 delegates

5 Companies presented in first session of mobile innovation forum. 3 in mobile video, 1 in OTA updates, 1 in voicemail-to-sms.

Liked Mobitv – all the video guys seem to be lacking technology differentiator, and these guys seem to have made up by having a large network of TV content providers.

SpinVox does translation of voice mail to sms message which gets delivered to mobile phone – simple, but compelling – 12 month old company – 65000 users pay 8 pounds a month! – they use some nifty location based speech recognition

(continued)
Another 10 companies in the forum – few on UMA looking at providing mobile-wifi convergence.

Liked ITIS Holding – they are based on israeli technology and basically take the handover data from mobile companies and derive traffic congestion basis that. Handover data signals traffic flow information.

Ntera seems to have some cool display technology – clearer and less power hungry. Uses external light rather than fighting it (they are developing products for dark situations). Possible commercial deployment 18-24 months down.