Archive for February, 2011

Evolving entrepreneurial ecosystem in India

I co-authored an article recently for Kellogg around how we see the entrepreneurial ecosystem evolving in India. High quality entrepreneurs and opportunities, receptive markets, talent, and yes, risk capital – all seem to be headed in the right direction.

Edit: Link to the article here

How great entrepreneurs think

Interesting article in Inc regarding thought processes of entrepreneurs – effectual, leverage and partnership oriented, dont worry too much about competition, and live the market.

A Report : Electronic Payments in India – Looking Back & Surging Forward

There have been significant advances witnessed in the Electronic Payments space in India over the last three years.

The Reserve Bank of India has drafted a vision document for electronic payments in India, an InterMinisterial Group has suggested a path breaking framework for ‘Mobile Linked No Frills Accounts’, and the UIDAI project rolls forward. These and several other macro factors are catalyzing possibly the creation of a unique payments framework in India, stimulating the growth of both card based and non card based payment systems!

Have authored a document that attempts to summarize the key trends and developments in this space and outline some interesting opportunities emerging therein.

The document may be of interest to professionals and organizations operating in the banking & payments space or whose businesses are impacted by the developments in this domain.

You can access the report at :

Look forward to your views and feedback.

PE/VC-backed cos. outperform their peers: Study

PE/VC-backed companies fare better in terms of growth in sales, profitability, wages, exports and R&D investments, a study by Venture Intelligence shows. The full report can be downloaded from Extracts from the Press Release:

According to a new study by Venture Intelligence, a leading research firm focussed on Private Equity and M&A activity in India, PE- and VC-backed companies are growing significantly faster compared to their non Private Equity-backed peers as well as market indices like the Sensex, Nifty and CNX Midcap.

The Venture Intelligence Private Equity Impact report also shows that profitability, wages, exports and R&D investments at PE/VC-backed companies are growing at a significantly higher rate compared to their peers which are not PE-backed.

– Sales at publicly-listed PE-backed companies demonstrated a CAGR of 25% over the ten year period 2000-2010, a significantly higher rate compared to the 15.1% at non PE-backed listed firms, 17.9% at Nifty Index companies. 19.2% at Sensex companies and 15.3% at CNX Midcap companies.

– PE-backed companies showed 31.5% growth in Profit-After-Tax, significantly higher than non-PE backed companies (22%), Nifty (23%), Sensex (21%) and CNX Midcap (22%).

– Wage bill at publicly-listed PE-backed companies grew at 26.4% over the ten year period, a rate of increase greater than that of non PE-backed listed firms (13.9%) and also that at the major indices – Nifty (18%), Sensex (19.4%) and CNX Midcap (13.8%).

– While the growth rate of exports at PE-backed companies (at 27%) lags that of large cap companies, it is still higher than that at non PE-backed companies (23%) and Midcap companies (25%).

– Growth in R&D investments at PE-backed companies (at 30.6%) is significantly higher than that at their non PE-backed counterparts (20%) and also higher when compared to the major indices – Nifty (25.8%), Sensex (26.1%) and CNX Midcap (27.2%).

The report also features case studies of successful PE/VC-backed companies showing how these organizations benefited from PE/VC investments. “The common thread that emerges from the study is that Private Equity / Venture Capital investment, when chosen and leveraged well, can help Indian companies scale up rapidly and accelerate growth in several ways that add significant value to the Indian Economy,” said Arun Natarajan, CEO of Venture Intelligence. “The case studies in the report demonstrate how PE and VC firms are forging active partnerships with their investee companies to improve capital efficiency, business strategy and corporate governance, besides opening up new markets.”

The Private Equity Impact study, first conducted in 2007, measures the impact of PE and VC funds on the Indian economy using quantitative and qualitative methods – the only such initiative in India. This year, again with advice and guidance from Prof. Amit Bubna of the Indian School of Business-Hyderabad, the study revisited the theme of comparing PE- and VC-backed companies vis-à-vis their non PE/VC-backed peers using quantitative parameters.

The full report can be downloaded from

Entrepreneurship Week India from Feb 5th to 12th

From the 5th to the 12th February 2011, students of Entrepreneurship Cells (E Cells) at 30 NEN member academic institutes in Bangalore will engage in E Week India 2011 – the high energy week-long campaign to build awareness and inspire public support for entrepreneurship. A week of exciting and unusual activities will be conducted by student E Cells in and outside their campuses, focusing on this year’s E Week theme: ‘Ideas for India’. E Week India is the largest entrepreneurship activity in the country and has dramatically been growing in strength each year. Over 4,500 activities are expected to be conducted this year engaging over 6 lakhs participants.

E Week@School
A unique feature this year’s E Week is E Week@Schools, an initiative by NEN in which students of Entrepreneurship Cells from NEN member academic institutes reach out to thousands of school students. School students will be introduced to the excitement and skills of entrepreneurship through the ‘Rs.50 Exercise’, a game that has them dreaming up, starting and running a business in a single day. Originated at Stanford University and run successfully at hundreds of top Indian institutes, the Rs.50 Exercise has been adapted to work for students aged 7 – 12 years.

E Week India Pledge and Other Activities
During E Week, participants on and off campuses across the country – students, entrepreneurs, faculty members, industry leaders and key members of the community will take the E Week Pledge to keep working towards an entrepreneurial India and a dynamic, growing economy.

Lacs of people will participate in activities run by students and others. The activities include competitions, expositions, educational movie screenings, leadership and motivation talks with successful entrepreneurs, panel discussions, business plan and skills-building workshops, business and tech bazaars, awareness campaigns and more. In addition, participants can sign up on the E Week website to share their experiences, view events information, and connect with the larger NEN community. For details of activities and programs being conducted by NEN member colleges in your city during E Week, you may visit

E Week will culminate on 12th February, 2011 with a gala Awards Ceremony in Bangalore. NEN member academic institutes will be chosen for the E Week India 2010 Championship Awards as well as 3 Special Awards: 1) E Week @ School Award 2) Nilima Rovshen Creativity and Innovation Award 3) Most Effective Public Awareness Campaign Award. Student representatives of the Award winners will be flown to Bangalore for the Awards Ceremony attended by students from various institutes, eminent people from the industry and the government.

Entrepreneurs and VCs can use Innovation Engineering

Yes.Entrepreneurs and VCs can use Innovation Engineering. Entrepreneurs to understand the needs, design, implement, validate/verify and evolve/revolutionize Innovation. VCs to validate/verify and revalidate/reverify Innovation of their portfolio and future portfolio companies. More on Innovation Engineering is here: and here

VC Turned Entrepreneur: 3 Lessons Learned

Before joining the entrepreneur scene, I was a VC at Canaan Partners where my primary job was diligence-ing new deals.  It was great practice for running my own startup, SkillSlate, a website that allows people to find & hire independent service professionals.  However, I’ve learned that no amount of VC experience can fully prepare someone to be an entrepreneur.  Below are the top three lessons that I learned since joining the startup world:

Hire the Best People You Can Find, Regardless of Where they Live.
Nothing beats working with fantastic people face-to-face, but finding great people in your city can be difficult.  Rather than holding out for several crucial months to hire that perfect local candidate, start looking for remote talent.  What you’ll lose in communication, you’ll gain in having a higher quality team member.

Use Your Own Product.
If your business is consumer facing, it’s important that everyone in your organization uses your product regularly.  You’ll be amazed what you learn when you see your product from your users perspective.

Get Out of the Building (and Talk to Your Customers).
Every moment that you’re not interacting with a customer, you’re slowly forgetting his/her needs, concerns and problems.  The longer this goes on, the more your product will deviate from their needs, and the more likely you’re wasting your time building a product no one wants.