I think entrepreneurship is a fashion nowadays rather than being a passion. And there are many blogs, which add air to the wanna-be-entrepreneur feeling. We see the success of the other entrepreneurs but fail to see their struggle and how hard they have learnt from their failures. What we see on the blogs is which companies got funded recently and this gives a false hope to a struggling entrepreneur that he will receive VC funding very soon. There is only one or two Alok Mittal or Sanjeev Bhikchandani who becomes successful and finds mention on each and every website but we fail to understand that there are thousands more who tried but couldn’t make it big. Every young entrepreneur then considers them as role models and wants to realize his million dollar dream. Â
Again getting big designations like CEO, COO, VP seems an attraction for the young entrepreneur. Though the above mentioned things definitely have few exceptions, most of the young entrepreneurs go through these notions and learn gradually the true spirit of entrepreneurship through struggle and failures. Â I am real time example of the above scenario and a struggling entrepreneur trying to fight for survival and growth at the same time. And after long long struggle, I came to conclusion that 25 is not the age for entrepreneurial activity. Most of the successful entrepreneurs are in the late thirties as they develop contacts, domain expertise as well as achieve financial stability by then. At the age of 25, an entrepreneur sees his fellow classmates getting high salaries, foreign tours, buying houses, getting married and leaving a well settled life. In contrast, the entrepreneur faces financial problems like loan installments; lack of support from family and no women wants to be with a struggling entrepreneur.Â Â
Talking about my startup Indiagini, I had been working hard on this innovative business model on recruitment front since last 1 year. Foolish preferences like have a well furnished office, good computers etc made sure I was deprived of working capital very soon. Then a investment banker friend came to my rescue and introduced me to this tempting world of angel investors and venture capitalists. Trust me, for a novice entrepreneur; this VC world seems as glamorous as the Bollywood industry in India. Like every novice entrepreneur. I got carried away by the flow and browsed each and every VC/ Angel investor websites hoping to get funded some day. I met few investors as well which were impressed by the business model but asked me to get into a working business model. I still don’t know whether it was sheer encouragement, which further tends to misguide amateurs like us.
Â Â Â My willingness to learn and ability to adapt to situations got me few deals for seed funding (less than 7-8 lakhs for 20% equity) of which I choose to go with a HR Consulting firm lead by a top women entrepreneur. This lady investor who initially accepted to provide us incubation opportunity, made some attractive promises. Now within 2 months we had steady revenues and good clientele and were growing at a good pace. Suddenly our investor come up with revised valuations and asks us for 80 % of the equity or to operate under her consulting banner. She then started recruitment operations in Bangalore and told us to stop attending office premises within a notice period of two days.
Â Now we are completely stranded with our confidence level hit hard. We are confused to look for seed funding opportunities or to look for angel/ VC funding at this stage. The business model has proved to have a competitive advantage over job portals, recruitment consultancies and print media. Or sometimes I get a feeling to work for six months and get working capital for our venture instead of depending on some unknown investor. Â
The passion is still there and it increases with the struggle and obstacles we face. The more obstacles we face, we keep a positive attitude considering it would also create barriers to entry for new competitors in the industry. We have come so far that we see a ray of light ahead of the dark tunnel, but when we turn back there is ray of light as well. This forum has some seasoned entrepreneurs from whom I would like to seek advice how to proceed with our venture.