8 Pointers to Help You Find the Right Investor

Startups are all the rage today. Around the world and, especially in India; what with schemes like Startup India and Standup India this trend is quickly becoming a norm.

Let’s take off the rose-tinted glasses for a minute. Finding funding for your startup is one of the biggest hurdles you will ever face. You will need an arsenal of resources from people to technology to infrastructure.

Government initiatives hold their own but many still land up with their begging-bowls at the investors’ doorsteps. And in the desperate bid to stay afloat, young startups can lose sight of the big picture. You need to keep your eyes open for Mr. Right and ensure you don’t get lost in deep pockets.

From my personal experience of going through hoops for our startup; we have found many things wanting in this whole match-making process. It all starts with an introductory email or by a LinkedIn message. As the second step, the analysts or associates conduct the preliminary interviews and screen candidates.

We believe this is the crucial step for the investor and, even more so, for the entrepreneur. Why? Because here: as an entrepreneur, this is your opportunity to scout for Mr. Right or Ms. Right.

These analysts and associates hail from renowned institutions and having done two-year stints in some consulting firm or the other feel they have much to be proud of. And indeed they do. We do not say they lack acumen but they definitely lack core technical knowledge (software engineering, product development, domain expertise, mathematical modeling, machine learning etc.) Moreover, they follow a standard questionnaire template that they have been made to learn by rote. Some instances of creative engagement do occur from time to time but they are scant few and isolated, if at all. Add to this an inflated sense of self-worth and the over-confidence that comes with youth, and we find most yuppies having to make their ground-breaking and, mostly, niche offerings sound ‘cool’. After a while, one sees the pattern. Analysts and associates indirectly reflect the core philosophy of the investing firms. Please note that every VC has its own philosophy. The idea is to find harmony and synergy.

Here are some of the pointers/questions that you should observe/ask the investor.

This is my takeaway from our experience of finding the right match for your enterprise.

To be honest, we often get excited with angels and VCs approaching us and especially when there are big names involved. Often we get disappointed with their philosophy. Perhaps we are immature or we do not comprehend the right picture! We am still not sure why? Is there a major difference between the VC firms based in Silicon Valley, and their Indian counterparts? Methinks there is. If so, then is it differences in experience or professional attitude, enthusiasm maybe?

In general, most of the principals and the partners have significant experience in the startup space or have been serial entrepreneurs. Then why do they ignore all these important factors — in terms of engagement with startups! We leave these questions open for the audience.

Credit: Inc.com

To conclude, we would urge every entrepreneur to have the confidence and the courage to question, discuss, and then examine the investor on the above mentioned criteria. It takes lot of guts to find your Mr. Right or Ms. Right. Summarily rendered by the legend of Silicon Valley, Mr. Vinod Khosla, “95 percent of VCs add zero value…70–80 percent add negative value to a startup in their advising.”



Healthcare Entrepreneur, Computational Scientist

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