…. There’s something deeply wrong with Indian Funding Mindset that bothers many startup entrepreneurs. There are close to 4000+ Indian “startups” clearly working on a product, but heavily failing to break the bubble. There is a clear distinction between a ‘small business’ and a ‘start-up’ … Many ideas fail because they are just too narrowly focused. Not that investors value the companies too low, but have a precursor and how we scale. And, this affects a lot who are raising money. After travelling many StartupWeekends, TechEds, Hackatons, CodeJams, having met a bunch of mentors to give us a fair share of constructive criticism, & a jury to judge our ideas, a few things seem profound—Be an Early Adopter.

“ You suck! Your products suck! Your team sucks! Your strategy sucks! …”

Yes. They well we have to say that to your face. And, that’s why investors play roadies. This is not a common insult. But, this is a wake up call for asking you to fail fast. Time and again, we have been given the mantra of entrepreneurship. But, trust me.. I am not writing this piece to wake up your weekends.

“Tell me a struggle story? What was the most difficult time in your life?” Ask this question.

This is the 1st question perhaps every great investor would ask someone before they place a wager on your startup idea. There is a myth in India that all startups who raise funding are rosy and cheeky. But, sadly no. Funding is not about getting loads of cash, but just a loan that needs to be returned with 5x-10x the profits. And, if your company cannot generate the profits, or returns, the investors get a controlling interest/shares in your company.

So, what elements make a startup?

… Idea generation, Design, Marketing, Project management, Naming, Domain names, Hosting, Market research, Forms & Surveys, Mockups & Wireframing, Development, Deployment, Social tools, MVP, Early users, Presentations, Product demo, Launching, Analytics, Mobile (app) analytics, Customer support, Collaboration & Communication, Productivity, Feedback & Bugtracking, Shop, Payments, Outsourcing, Raising capital, Investor relations, Sales, CRM, Legal, Finance, Accounting, HR, Learning, Books, Videos, Articles, Blogs, Newsletters. And, a lots more. As an entrepreneur be prepared to work on these 24x7. It’s OK to be jack of all trades, but more better to hire the ones who can realize your dream. As a CEO, work hard to hire the best.

Recently a show called TheVault surfaced on the TV. Not only I was surprised how lowly valuation was placed, but also the advice for the deal making. In all, 43 startup ideas, investment commitment totaling up to Rs. 11 crore at varying equity rates. The start-ups that received funding include Graviky, ChattarPatar , Medmonk, Boxershorts, Awesummly, Atulyakala, Foodebaba, Ambee, Corseco, Dharamvir, Fluid AI, OyeHelp, Save mom, Medimojo, Infeedo, and Brelo.

1/… ChattarPatar — panipuri franchise, Chaat house and gapagap franchise.

2/… Graviky — Capturing air pollution and recycling to Inks.

3/.. Medmonk — Improve Access to Medications

4/… Boxer Shorts: Boxers for Men | True Boxers — I wonder though why “complexity” is good in underwear? :)

5/.. Awesummly — Instant Short News App

6/.. Atulyakala India — Empowering Deaf through Artists. deaf-run lifestyle brand.

6/.. Foodebaba — Online Sweet Shop — Online Indian Sweets Shop portal — Food ordering and delivery not = Foodtech. But yes, if you do orders, making and delivery well, you own customer.

7/.. Ambee — Ambulance technology. Uber-backed ambulance-hailing app.

8/.. Corseco — AI + video content analysis

9/… Dharamvir — Organic farmer and social entrepreneur ‘Dharamvir Kamboj’

10/.. FuildAI — hidden relations, co relations, causations which hide deep within Big Data.

11/.. Oyehelp connects patients to doctors in real time through phone, video and chat over the mobile.

12/… Save mom — a maternity healthcare start-up … Maternal mortality

13/.. Medimojo Interactive Personal Health Record brings peace of mind to all your patients. — 75 lakhs

14/… inFeedo — SaaS-based HR Analytics startup inFeedo — HR analytics

15/.. Brelo — door lock, combined with technology

… There were 6 start-ups, including Revol Wallet, Fuco, Rooter, StyleDotMe, FABbox, and WYO reject the funding offer made by the investors. These included Authentic Cook, Khabri, Ubunanny, Collobe, and Nippanai (TN startup) A lot of startup ideas were based on IOT, Fintech, SaaS, Food tech, and Travel industries.

Some inspiration for you folks going and pitching today. There is no surety on the other side of the table too. Here’s a list of startups that were funded. [ since 23 March 2018]

Tons of startups need to cut costs. It’s hard but necessary. I hope early movers are applauded for making tough choices not criticized.

1/… Delhi based Roadcast — Fleet management and asset monitoring platform raised Private Equity of 1.63 crores.

2/… Bengaluru based Smartcoin — Micro lending company raised Seed funding from Accion Venture Lab, Unicorn India Ventures and ISME ACE.. Total 13 crores INR. … This is quite a lumpsum for a seed funding, especially in the context of “microlending” related economy.

3/.. Delhi based Cash Suvidha — Consumer Internet Online loan platform raised a PE of 6.5 crores.

4/… Noida based i2i Funding, another Online loan platform raised Seed from SucSEED Venture Partners for 5 crores.

5/.. Banglore based Slang Labs — Voice-based assistant platform raised a seed funding of 8 Crores INR from Endiya Partners.

6/… UrbanPiper : Online ordering solution for restaurants and food chains based in Bengaluru raised Seed funding from Kumar Vembu, Axilor Ventures.

…. Quick startup catch up. In startup folklore, a unicorn is the name given to a startup crossing a billion dollars in valuation and is usually depicted as a beautiful horse with an elegant horn on its head. In the end, it all depends, on the way people may see it… If I think unicorn as “wild asses” having a horn, that’s my PoV. Is making billions of dollars only reason to start up? Keep hedging.

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