Author Archive for Ashwin

Startups – how do you choose your people?

How are startups hiring people in India? What matters – Education, Background, Aptitude…

Last few months at Vaatsalya, we have assessed ourselves on how well we have done on our people front. First off a few things about our business which will put this in context,
a. All our hospitals are in non-metro areas (semi-urban and rural), so there you have it, a tough situation to hire people to begin with
b. Most of the employees are medical professionals or people from allied fields, nurses, technicians etc
c. We are fiercly non-hierarchical in structure, no one has titles, offices and such. And we want to keep it that way. E.g The weekly meetings in the hospitals are routinely conducted by office boys, and attended by doctors, nurses and founders.

From my experience, I have found that the “drive” or the “entrepreneurial spirit” is what seperates the gems. We have a young guy working in our karwar hospital (completed 11th std), who is handling everything at the Unit, including scheduling doctor visits, hiring people. No one told him, he just went ahead and did it. He started off as an office boy in Hubli, with the first job of cleaning the place. No fancy MBA, experience, background, nothing. Just the drive to get things done! Even the paediatrician at the hospital introduces him to every one as “the boss”. Just talking to him makes my day.

And we routinely get resumes from people with Masters in Hospital Administration, MBAs, Hospital Administrators with 5+ years experience, and all we get from them is, “what will be my role?” and “What is the package you are offering?”.

Would like to hear from others what has been your experience. Is anyone doing anything outside of metros? Would like to exchange notes.

Startup Mentoring Network

Anyone aware of a startup mentoring network in India. Not a traditional incubation type of setup, but a place where startups can identify mentors who might be able to guide on various issues. Maybe Venturewoods can take the lead here?

Ashwin (vaatsalya.com)

Pitching your business

In the process of creating a pitch for our company, i ended up checking out some great pitches on the net. Enjoy!

Watch Dick Hardt deliver a superb pitch on Identity 2.0 at OSCON. The presentation style is based on Lawrence Lessigs lecture on “Who owns culture”, which is a masterpiece!

Also check out Rajesh Jain’s presentation on Novatium at the PC Forum.

Micro Venture Capital Fund

A venture capital fund with a difference. Quite removed from the world of IT start-ups, Aavishkaar India Micro Venture Capital Fund or Aavishkaar India concerns itself with rural enterprises and grassroots innovations that have the potential to improve the quality of life in the interiors of the country.

It hopes to do so by encouraging and supporting the rural entrepreneur who may have a workable idea or invention, but not the funds to turn it into a marketable proposition.

From their website

Aavishkaar believes entrepreneurs can be a powerful force for development. To this end, the firm provides micro-equity funding (Rs. 10 lacs to Rs. 50 lacs, approximately USD $20 thousand to USD $100 thousand) and operational and strategic support to commercially viable companies increasing income in or providing goods and services to rural or semi-urban India.

More at www.aavishkaar.org

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