Sujai Karampuri sent me his recent piece, Ground realities from a technology product company in India .
Sujai’s company Sloka Telecom is building Wimax base stations, and recently, they have won an important validation in France at Saint Medard en Jalles (5.8 GHz Wimax deployment).
I know that Sujai is pounding the doors of the VCs to get Sloka funded. His frustrations are real, and reflective of the situation and ground realities in India.
The biggest problem I see in his case is that there is no VC who is operating in India today who knows how to invest in a Telecom Equipment deal.
“Many VCs find Indian entrepreneurs clueless. Thereâ€™s great deal of truth to it. But I also find many VCs in India equally clueless.” – Yes, Sujai, but that’s because the VCs who are playing in India have not identified Telecom Equipment as a category to assign partners to. You cannot expect random people with no domain knowledge to invest in categories that they know nothing about. You HAVE to find domain expert investors, as I told you when you came to see me here in Silicon Valley. And, you may have to find them here in Silicon Valley or in Boston. Probably not in India.
Another issue I see with your article, Sujai, is that you have equated “technology product companies” with “telecom equipment companies”. My personal observation is that VCs in India can tackle “software product companies” much more easily than telecom equipment.
In my Incubator Fund thesis, this is precisely the kind of problem that I am suggesting we address. An incubator would have a bias in terms of domain expertise and market focus. Just like we need incubator funds in India for SaaS, we also need one for Networking / Telecom equipment. Without these funds which bring together both expertise AND money, we have huge gaps in the early stage startup market.
Dumb money cannot possibly invest in really sophisticated technology, and pretty much all we have in India right now is dumb money. Hence the surge in retail, real estate, and consumer internet.
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