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Panel Discussions

Panel discussions are discussions conducted by Awaremonk

AwareMonk , Official account of AwareMonk Oct, 18 2016

AMA session with Kashyap Deorah



Kashyap Deorah (IIT Bombay alumnus) is the author of recently released book - The Golden Tap, the inside story of hyper-funded Indian startups. Kashyap is a serial entrepreneur who has spent the last 15 years in India and Silicon Valley. During this time he has started and sold three companies. He is also an angel investor in over 20 companies.


Discussion goes live on 20th October, 6 PM IST

Kashyap Deorah (IIT Bombay alumnus) is the author of recently released book - The Golden Tap, the inside story of hyper-funded Indian startups. Kashyap is a serial entrepreneur who has spent the last 15 years in India and Silicon Valley. During this time he has started and sold three companies. He is also an angel investor in over 20 companies.Discussion goes live on 20th October, 6 PM IST

righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


Thanks everyone for participating. This was fun for me. Hope you found my thoughts useful. Wish you the best!


Nikhil Sharma , IIIM-A Graduate, working in an MNC but keeda Oct, 20 2016


Is it true that one should never start alone? He should have at least one co-founder with him?

Also is it advisable not to start off with a friend? This is something my friends who have some experienced shared with me, was not too sure thus would like your take on it please.



righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


This is a very personal question. Being an entrepreneur is a lonely journey anyway. You will meet more doubters daily than believers. To do it alone can be a huge burden. Co-founders can balance each other out emotionally. The flip-side though is that there is so much at stake for each co-founder that slight personality conflicts get amplified and can be destructive. Entrepreneurs by their very nature are rebels, sociopaths, ambitious, hard to work with. Put two or three together, and it becomes important there is a strong unifying force to power through the conflicts.
This is a very personal question. Being an entrepreneur is a lonely journey anyway. You will meet more doubters daily than believers. To do it alone can be a huge burden. Co-founders can balance each other out emotionally. The flip-side though is that there is so much at stake for each co-founder th


Narayan Srinivasan , I think therefore I am Oct, 20 2016


How important is it for "unicorns" such as Ola and flipkart to succeed for the overall growth of the startup ecosystem. The general feeling is that if these companies do not turn profitable in the next year or so, VCs would have burnt enough and might want to exit India thus, impacting the ecosystem greatly. Thoughts on how necessary it is for these unicorns to turn profitable for the overall good health of the startup ecosystem in the future ?
How important is it for "unicorns" such as Ola and flipkart to succeed for the overall growth of the startup ecosystem. The general feeling is that if these companies do not turn profitable in the next year or so, VCs would have burnt enough and might want to exit India thus, impacting the ecosystem


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


Great question. My view is that it is important for Ola and Flipkart to feel the force of gravity and be held accountable to build a sustainable business. The duration of anti-gravity caused much harm because it made bad habits permeate, and it gave entrepreneurs a reality distortion field that made them do stupid things. Change is already brewing. The story has yet to play out. The correction will show up either as consolidation (acquisition) or a long period of illiquidity. Nothing could be more healthy for the ecosystem.
Great question. My view is that it is important for Ola and Flipkart to feel the force of gravity and be held accountable to build a sustainable business. The duration of anti-gravity caused much harm because it made bad habits permeate, and it gave entrepreneurs a reality distortion field that made


Saloni , Oct, 20 2016


When did you come to know you were ready for a venture?

When should i take a leap of faith? I have the idea and the math around it figured but not sure how to gather the right set of team around it



righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


There is a usually an urge to build something and it consumes you. It eats you up if you are not spending your time on it. Scratch that itch. For the timing of setting up a company, yes it is important to zero in on the idea for your product and the people you are going to do it with.


Sneha , Oct, 20 2016


i believe no successful venture can achieve its goal without a good mentor. how should we find such mentors. I once went to a person who demanded 10% equity as a mentorship fees which i found ridiculous.

How can we approach you?



righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


The trick about finding a mentor is to not focus on finding a mentor. Focus on inspiring people about your idea so they feel the urge to help you accomplish it. In that process, they may end up becoming a mentor (in hindsight).


Sonam Khurana , Making the hard walk from procrastination to Oct, 20 2016


righthalf I do agree with your point that an MBA degree is counterproductive for an entrepreneur. But what about undergrad? How much of a role did IIT-B play in you becoming the man you are today? Was the knowledge you gained there the most important addition, or the platform that the campus gave you?
righthalf I do agree with your point that an MBA degree is counterproductive for an entrepreneur. But what about undergrad? How much of a role did IIT-B play in you becoming the man you are today? Was the knowledge you gained there the most important addition, or the platform that the campus gave y


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


Undergrad at IIT was critical for me. First, it made me get independent. I had to leave home and live with myself and my decisions in a smaller setup before being thrown in the big bad world. Second, it made me meet a large number of people smarter and better than me in many ways, and far diverse from my school friends. Made me question my self-image. Third, it taught me how to learn. More than what I learnt, the process of learning was critical.
Undergrad at IIT was critical for me. First, it made me get independent. I had to leave home and live with myself and my decisions in a smaller setup before being thrown in the big bad world. Second, it made me meet a large number of people smarter and better than me in many ways, and far diverse fr


Manav Suryavanshi , IIT- 4th year. Started of something, almost a Oct, 20 2016


righthalf : Something every founder keeps on pondering about, in the social space, what according to you is the best growth hack?

I see most of the social platform startups succeeded without any other social media sharing or influence, what do you think is needed for the pure tech with a social element startups to grow in India.

On a second thought, why are there 0 pure tech startups from India which have made it big globally?

righthalf : Something every founder keeps on pondering about, in the social space, what according to you is the best growth hack?I see most of the social platform startups succeeded without any other social media sharing or influence, what do you think is needed for the pure tech with a social elem


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


The best products are the ones that optimize for usefulness. If you build something that people want and make it useful enough that they use it and are willing to pay for it, all growth hack strategies start working out. Then it becomes a question of what works best rather than what works at all, because fundamentally the product drives pull.


I believe there are many pure tech startups in India. Just that they are not celebrated or get visibility other than token mentions in AMAs like this. Masses are generally enamored by success and scale, and then analyze after the fact. You will have to give it a few more years for global pure tech companies to deliver that type of success.

The best products are the ones that optimize for usefulness. If you build something that people want and make it useful enough that they use it and are willing to pay for it, all growth hack strategies start working out. Then it becomes a question of what works best rather than what works at all, be


Manav Suryavanshi , IIT- 4th year. Started of something, almost a Oct, 20 2016


I agree with the above point, however in the point mentioned below, yes there are a lot of pure tech products from India, but we dont know anyone which has made it big, it might be too early to say but none so far.

What do they lack?



righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


Give it more time. :-)


Sudhanshu , Live and let live Oct, 20 2016


What according to you is the next big vertical in India? Has the phase for the startups in the pure tech (no revenue) space over?


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


In many cases, it might make sense to go without revenues for a long time as long as you are investing in future cash flows. This need not be confused with startups that have an operating cost (per transaction) and choose to build volumes on negative margins. That is a hole that gets harder and harder to dig yourself out of.


India has so many problems to solve within the country and Indians have only started solving problems for the world. There are way too many verticals that excite me. I tried to take a shot at it in the final chapter of The Golden Tap where I listed a top 10. Many readers found that a really long list, but my actual list is even longer.

In many cases, it might make sense to go without revenues for a long time as long as you are investing in future cash flows. This need not be confused with startups that have an operating cost (per transaction) and choose to build volumes on negative margins. That is a hole that gets harder and hard


Sonam Khurana , Making the hard walk from procrastination to Oct, 20 2016


Take AwareMonk for example. I see no ads, no paid subscription options etc. How do they or how will they ever make money?


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


Aha this is a question for Shiv and Akhil. I hope they do. Nice clean interface, constructive conversation, quality community. :-)


Kanika , IITian Oct, 20 2016


I'm in 2nd year of college and have an idea related to a social cause. From step 1, what is the best way to start? I have zero knowledge about business models and start-up lingo. Had to google VCs!


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


Kanika, you might be in the best position to bring your idea to reality then. Some of the best ideas in the world sprouted from a problem that a person obsessed about and then did whatever it took to solve it. Not having the baggage of other structures around you can be an advantage.


Prateek Goenka , _/\_ Oct, 20 2016


There are 2 things that i want to ask,

1: Is the glam of startup gone? I remember 2015 being a time when anything from showing off infront of your friends and sorry to say but getting girls was easy just because you were an entrepreneur, but due to the current state has Entrepreneurship lost is charm?

2: What is it like to be an Entrepreneur? How can you manage a family and work? As someone famous said, you can have only one love and being and Entrepreneur it should be your idea

There are 2 things that i want to ask, 1: Is the glam of startup gone? I remember 2015 being a time when anything from showing off infront of your friends and sorry to say but getting girls was easy just because you were an entrepreneur, but due to the current state has Entrepreneurship lost is cha


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


1. The glam of entrepreneurship in India is irreversible now. The energy/ethos of our people lends perfectly to entrepreneurship. The only missing piece was social proof and now we have that. The "career" entrepreneurs that sprouted in 2014-15 are now dead. Either they must re-invent themselves as true entrepreneurs or be honest with themselves about who they are and move on. You could say, we are getting to better understand what entrepreneurship is and what it is not.


2. The family is as much part of a startup as the entrepreneur. I make sure that my family members are inspired about what I am doing. I even get them to invest in my company to egg myself on as well as force them to take an interest in the success of my company. It works well in my case because I am a marwari. :-)

1. The glam of entrepreneurship in India is irreversible now. The energy/ethos of our people lends perfectly to entrepreneurship. The only missing piece was social proof and now we have that. The "career" entrepreneurs that sprouted in 2014-15 are now dead. Either they must re-invent themselves as t


Prateek Goenka , _/\_ Oct, 20 2016


Brilliant!!


Aditya Joshi , . Oct, 20 2016


What are the hidden pitfalls of being an entrepreneur? What measures can one take to tackle with them successfully?


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


The need for validation from stakeholders other than your customers. Think long term and be patient.


S. Venkatesh , Student at IIT-D Oct, 20 2016


righthalf I feel stupid before asking this, but I must, for the sake of my own career decisions. In all your vast experience, do you feel that having an MBA degree makes a difference? I'm not just talking about the potential enhancement it could give, but also if the credibility associated with reputed college degrees makes one''s ideas more accepted, rather than having come up with it only after an Under grad. degree?
righthalf I feel stupid before asking this, but I must, for the sake of my own career decisions. In all your vast experience, do you feel that having an MBA degree makes a difference? I'm not just talking about the potential enhancement it could give, but also if the credibility associated with rep


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


Fair question. I think MBA degree adversely impacts the ability to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is irrational. MBAs get way too rational. Especially with loans to repay and the best job offers staring you in the face, it gets hard to take risk. It is great for a professional career though.


Naveen tripathi , Economic honours with more passion into Engin Oct, 20 2016


I want to share an idea and get it validated from everyone here:

Wireless is the new inn thing right? Iphone stupidly did not go ahead with wireless charging but went ahead with wireless earphone, nonetheless going by the trend, wireless charging will be the next big thing in mobiles.

How about you replace all the coasters in pubs and clubs with wireless chargers: Keep your phones on the coasters and your phone charges/ mask down wireless chargers in your furniture, keep your phone on your furniture and it charges. IKEA has started of with something similar but i feel that will take time.

I want to share an idea and get it validated from everyone here:Wireless is the new inn thing right? Iphone stupidly did not go ahead with wireless charging but went ahead with wireless earphone, nonetheless going by the trend, wireless charging will be the next big thing in mobiles.How about you re


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


Great idea. Will have to think more about it. As a consumer, can relate to it and think it is of value. A bit worried about too many wireless waves frying my brains - and more importantly the brains of my children. Needs to be built with responsibility.


Naveen tripathi , Economic honours with more passion into Engin Oct, 20 2016


Haha, well i read about it, unless or untill you have a huge device underneath your house to make the entire house wireless its almost impossible to get any harm from them.

But thank you again for the feedback, means a lot!!



righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


Good luck!


Aditya Joshi , . Oct, 20 2016


How can an E-commerce company achieve sustainable growth and profitability? Are there any proven strategies to follow?


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


I will assume you are asking about the India market. Growth will come from Indians going online. This is happening and will continue to happen for a while. Profitability will come from market access and not convenience. Market access implies bringing those products to customers who otherwise do not have access to it. This will either come through innovation in merchandizing or innovation in distribution. I'd say this is now a well known secret in the industry.
I will assume you are asking about the India market. Growth will come from Indians going online. This is happening and will continue to happen for a while. Profitability will come from market access and not convenience. Market access implies bringing those products to customers who otherwise do not


Aditya Joshi , . Oct, 20 2016


Perfect. :)


Vikram Gupta , Exploring, learning, believing Oct, 20 2016


righthalf This might be a tongue in cheek question. I have heard about your book from my older brother and about how you have detailed things from an insider's point of view. But it made me think, that for a person who is still in that industry and is wanting to start-up a 4th company (amazing btw!), won't writing such a book hamper your career prospects?


What I mean to say is that all famous personalities write their autobiographies/ experiences AFTER they have left that arena, so that nothing can come back and bite them in the a**. Didn't you want to adopt a similar strategy?

righthalf This might be a tongue in cheek question. I have heard about your book from my older brother and about how you have detailed things from an insider's point of view. But it made me think, that for a person who is still in that industry and is wanting to start-up a 4th company (amazing btw!


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


Good question. I was testing the book with early readers as I was writing it. I learned that readers were able to relate to the stories, especially personal ones, in a way that got my point through more effectively. The publisher and readers pushed me to do more of that. I was allergic to the idea of writing an autobiography and do not look at the book as one. The personal stories were a stylistic decision to make the point more effectively. I have been surprised by how the book has actually helped connect with awesome people who I otherwise would not have had access to or that deep a relationship with. The book has also been therapeutic and helped introspect deeply about what I wanted to do next. It has given me more confidence about my journey ahead and brought many great people along with me in that journey.
Good question. I was testing the book with early readers as I was writing it. I learned that readers were able to relate to the stories, especially personal ones, in a way that got my point through more effectively. The publisher and readers pushed me to do more of that. I was allergic to the idea o


Ashima Singh , Exploring Oct, 20 2016


I can imagine the therapeutic effect such introspection might've had. Has it also liberated you to pursue what you truly want, more freely? If so, your 4th start-up seems to be the one to watch out for.


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


Yes indeed. HyperTrack has been an outcome of the book. Am putting my life's learnings into it. It has been fun and am excited about the road ahead.


Ashrujit Bhattacharya , hustler Oct, 20 2016


What is the key to develop a global B2B tech business out of India and which are the verticals that you feel will attract investment in B2B tech businesses in India?


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


There has been a certain consumerization and democratization of B2B businesses globally. Just like in the consumer world, we say "there's an app for that" for any problem that comes up, businesses of all sizes say "there's a SaaS for that" for nearly any problem they face. This is a 5 year old phenomenon. This opens up opportunities because the focus is more on product/engineering than on sales/marketing in order to win in B2B. You still have to be really customer centric. Product/engineering teams that are customer centric will win. Geography matters lesser.
There has been a certain consumerization and democratization of B2B businesses globally. Just like in the consumer world, we say "there's an app for that" for any problem that comes up, businesses of all sizes say "there's a SaaS for that" for nearly any problem they face. This is a 5 year old pheno


Sumantika Negi , 3 years of experience in knowing what not to Oct, 20 2016


This question might go unanswered due to the repeat usage of the same, however you being an expert i would still take my chance.

There is a bubble, we all know that, but its not bursting, the giants are still burning cash, yet its not bursting. Why? What are your thoughts on how long will the bubble last?

This question might go unanswered due to the repeat usage of the same, however you being an expert i would still take my chance.There is a bubble, we all know that, but its not bursting, the giants are still burning cash, yet its not bursting. Why? What are your thoughts on how long will the bubble


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


Thanks for asking this. On many minds. I can see it bursting. Many of my entrepreneur friends have had to shut their companies or shrink it significantly, many have had to pivot, many are struggling to raise money like they did in 2014-15. Investors have already had to write off billions of dollars of investments in a matter of a few years. If this is not a bubble burst, what is? I think people are looking for public executions and death. We are a country of re-incarnations. :-)
Thanks for asking this. On many minds. I can see it bursting. Many of my entrepreneur friends have had to shut their companies or shrink it significantly, many have had to pivot, many are struggling to raise money like they did in 2014-15. Investors have already had to write off billions of dollars


Sumantika Negi , 3 years of experience in knowing what not to Oct, 20 2016


I dont deny a lot of people have closed their businesses , a lot have pivoted and shrunk, however i somehow fail to see any reduction in VC money. Angel and Seed have seen a drastic decrement, but the number (not the %) of startups that used to get funded earlier on are still getting funded. That makes me believe the bubble is ont bursting just adjusting itself.
I dont deny a lot of people have closed their businesses , a lot have pivoted and shrunk, however i somehow fail to see any reduction in VC money. Angel and Seed have seen a drastic decrement, but the number (not the %) of startups that used to get funded earlier on are still getting funded. That ma


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


Entrepreneurship has found social proof in a country with large numbers of latent entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, the number of Indians going digital, the cost of going digital and the available platforms to build on top of, are coming to life. I would not bet on the macro numbers shrinking too much. The bubble was around hyper-funding of copycats growing at negative margins. That bubble has burst.


To quench your bloodlust, all I can say is there is some consolidation coming in the top funded market spaces. :-)

Entrepreneurship has found social proof in a country with large numbers of latent entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, the number of Indians going digital, the cost of going digital and the available platforms to build on top of, are coming to life. I would not bet on the macro numbers shrinking too much. The


Ishita Nangia , Not it. Oct, 20 2016


righthalf With everything going online, do you feel that the traditional markets are in permanent decline? Or is this a bubble waiting to burst? I've seen brilliant product designers going into interaction design purely because "that's the way the world is headed". Not to say that products will become obsolete, but the lure of everything digital is taking away quality from all that needs to be digitized.
righthalf With everything going online, do you feel that the traditional markets are in permanent decline? Or is this a bubble waiting to burst? I've seen brilliant product designers going into interaction design purely because "that's the way the world is headed". Not to say that products will bec


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


Digital is an integral part of our lives in a way that it never was before. New initiatives from across industries and regions have some technology angle at the core. More enterprises in the world are employing in-house technology teams than ever before. More of these teams are using cloud software and apps to solve their problems. Resistance is futile. The question of whether digital is a force fit trying to solve a problem that does not exist versus a good application to make things cheaper, better and faster is a good one. Though by the very nature of technology, it is speculative. Digital products try to predict the future, and that is hard!
Digital is an integral part of our lives in a way that it never was before. New initiatives from across industries and regions have some technology angle at the core. More enterprises in the world are employing in-house technology teams than ever before. More of these teams are using cloud software


Aditya Joshi , . Oct, 20 2016


If you would get a chance to start your previous companies again, what are the things that you would do differently?


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


This made me think. I would be harder on the issues and softer on the people. I would think longer term and be more patient for it to pan out. I would be more secure about seeking validation from others.


Akanksha Sharma , Start-up rookie Oct, 20 2016


Must've taken something to write that last line. So often external validation blurs way too many lines.


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


Entrepreneurship is tough. You are imagining a world that does not exist just yet. That is fraught with risk. There is always fear and doubt. Human instinct is to look for support and validation from others. Most of those people look at past to predict the future, and therefore do not believe. It has taken me a long time to be confident about my hypothesis and give them time. Still have a ways to go.
Entrepreneurship is tough. You are imagining a world that does not exist just yet. That is fraught with risk. There is always fear and doubt. Human instinct is to look for support and validation from others. Most of those people look at past to predict the future, and therefore do not believe. It ha


Sumantika Negi , 3 years of experience in knowing what not to Oct, 20 2016


following


Aman Singh , IIT; Designer by choice, engineer by force Oct, 20 2016


Ooh that's a nice one


Vivek , Wonder Oct, 20 2016


righthalf How do you validate an idea? i have a huge dilemma, i have heard people actually gain a lot by discussing their ideas with others, as you only have a limited knowledge, but then again, the fear of the idea being copied crops in.

Not sure how to go ahead in a stealth mode and validate the idea at the same time!

righthalf How do you validate an idea? i have a huge dilemma, i have heard people actually gain a lot by discussing their ideas with others, as you only have a limited knowledge, but then again, the fear of the idea being copied crops in.Not sure how to go ahead in a stealth mode and validate the i


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


It is hard enough to get stuff done when you share the idea with people, that I doubt that the risk of people acting on someone else's idea comes anywhere close. I follow the philosophy of openly sharing with everyone, unless I specifically know that the person is going to act on it in a way that hurts my startup. I am a fan of validating the idea through user interviews and by watching them use the product rather than showing it to them or talking about it.
It is hard enough to get stuff done when you share the idea with people, that I doubt that the risk of people acting on someone else's idea comes anywhere close. I follow the philosophy of openly sharing with everyone, unless I specifically know that the person is going to act on it in a way that hu


Naveen tripathi , Economic honours with more passion into Engin Oct, 20 2016


Completely agree, there are only talkers and not doers in this world.

By the way it makes a lot more sense to get feedback basis seeing users interact with the product than to talk about it, but shouldnt it be discussed so as to mould the product as per the liking of the users?



righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


Yes sure conversation has a role to play. The interview format is important. What you listen for and how you act on the feedback is critical.


Abhinav , Student at IIT-B Oct, 20 2016


righthalf Sir, there's a sense of pride in IIT-B because of you, more so after your book came out. I see that you've co-founder Hyper-Track, what's the scalability of that looking like? I've heard about other ventures along the same lines, such as Locus and Cubito (especially with a lot of publicity for Locus). Is the logistics market-space in India enough to accommodate such similarly oriented companies? Or have I made a mistake in drawing comparisons?
righthalf Sir, there's a sense of pride in IIT-B because of you, more so after your book came out. I see that you've co-founder Hyper-Track, what's the scalability of that looking like? I've heard about other ventures along the same lines, such as Locus and Cubito (especially with a lot of publicit


Robert Smith , Change is glorified. Oct, 20 2016


righthalf Since you have worked in both India and the Valley, what appeals to you about both? Do you have any preference when it comes to where people are more receptive and patient towards an idea? Where investors have more faith in you and meddle less in the day-to-day affairs? (Disclaimer: I don't know what the IIT community is, but this discussion seemed interesting)
righthalf Since you have worked in both India and the Valley, what appeals to you about both? Do you have any preference when it comes to where people are more receptive and patient towards an idea? Where investors have more faith in you and meddle less in the day-to-day affairs? (Disclaimer: I do


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


I love the innovation quotient of the Valley and the human quotient of India. I used to tear my hair apart (am pretty bald actually) trying to decide what's home. A few years ago, my wife and I decided that India and Valley are both homes and are going to remain that way for life. We cannot imagine our life without either being an integral part. Have written a fair bit contrasting the two and feel I will have to write another book to do justice to that topic.
I love the innovation quotient of the Valley and the human quotient of India. I used to tear my hair apart (am pretty bald actually) trying to decide what's home. A few years ago, my wife and I decided that India and Valley are both homes and are going to remain that way for life. We cannot imagine


Kanika , IITian Oct, 20 2016


righthalf With India producing only 2 start-ups of note (mind my rudeness) in Ola and Flipkart, one can't help but wonder that VCs have it completely backwards. With a huge number of start-ups in this ecosystem, and such a miniscule success rate, are the metrics VCs use to evaluate and fund companies, completely flawed?
righthalf With India producing only 2 start-ups of note (mind my rudeness) in Ola and Flipkart, one can't help but wonder that VCs have it completely backwards. With a huge number of start-ups in this ecosystem, and such a miniscule success rate, are the metrics VCs use to evaluate and fund compani


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


Going back to the line between original ideas v local adaptations. The bets on local startups representing a market space successful elsewhere (US/China) have been overdone. Generally speaking, they are going through a valuation correction and investors are learning the uniqueness of India. They have taken away the limelight from original ideas that are doing well. There are more original idea startups from India than ever before and growing at a pace faster than ever before. Media is lazy and often fails to celebrate them. Readers are lazy too and often fail to acknowledge them until they get really large.
Going back to the line between original ideas v local adaptations. The bets on local startups representing a market space successful elsewhere (US/China) have been overdone. Generally speaking, they are going through a valuation correction and investors are learning the uniqueness of India. They hav


Abhinav , Student at IIT-B Oct, 20 2016


This is very true.


Kailash Verma , Construction professional. Oct, 20 2016


I am a civil engineer, started a consulting for construction projects but due to lack of fund could not engage other professionals and unable to scale or take big assignment. Do any investors put money in traditional business? How to approach them? I tried persuading many but could not succeed. Please guide I invested my personal saving.
I am a civil engineer, started a consulting for construction projects but due to lack of fund could not engage other professionals and unable to scale or take big assignment. Do any investors put money in traditional business? How to approach them? I tried persuading many but could not succeed. Plea


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


You have articulated a classic dilemma. Newspapers make it seem that funding is free flowing and cheap, yet traditional businesses see none of it. The answer lies in the investor's business model. VC funds rely on making every bet such that it returns the fund and then hope 2-3 out of 20 such bets will work out from one fund. Traditional businesses fail to meet that benchmark of having the potential to return the fund within one fund cycle. They are viable businesses for the entrepreneur, but not for the venture investor.
You have articulated a classic dilemma. Newspapers make it seem that funding is free flowing and cheap, yet traditional businesses see none of it. The answer lies in the investor's business model. VC funds rely on making every bet such that it returns the fund and then hope 2-3 out of 20 such bets w


Aman Singh , IIT; Designer by choice, engineer by force Oct, 20 2016


But don't traditional businesses represent safer bets? Agreed that the potential pay-off would be nowhere close to that of a glorified start-up, but don't they guarantee minimum losses coupled with a broad portfolio for the VCs?


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


There are other funding sources for safer bets, more traditional sources. :-) VC model is just not a good fit with traditional businesses. Trying to convert it to become so leads to complications which many entrepreneurs and investors have lived through.


Akanksha Sharma , Start-up rookie Oct, 20 2016


righthalf Nowadays it seems that getting funded has become the metric for success. Everybody publicizes $$$ funding and then what? They just fade away due to unforeseen burn rates and miscalculated unit economics. Where does the line really lie between going as far as you can without funding and the opposite?
righthalf Nowadays it seems that getting funded has become the metric for success. Everybody publicizes $$$ funding and then what? They just fade away due to unforeseen burn rates and miscalculated unit economics. Where does the line really lie between going as far as you can without funding and th


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


There is a thick line between building something original versus distributing a known technology within a local market. India saw an unforeseen boom in available financing for the latter. This stimulated a certain flavor of entrepreneurship. In that flavor, acquiring more territory is attractive for foreign investors who are looking for just that - an attractive territory for a known business model. Growth and traction seems to have an asymmetric benefit in the eyes of the investor. I am wary of that sentiment because I feel the investor sentiment is going to change. They will learn that India is a unique market and extrapolating learning from US and Chinese markets will be a mistake.
There is a thick line between building something original versus distributing a known technology within a local market. India saw an unforeseen boom in available financing for the latter. This stimulated a certain flavor of entrepreneurship. In that flavor, acquiring more territory is attractive for


Akanksha Sharma , Start-up rookie Oct, 20 2016


righthalf Are you saying the investor behaviour would change after seeing the big companies adopting India-specific strategies?


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


Investor behavior has already changed in many of the large/hot market spaces already. Consolidation is happening, there is more to come. Local strategies of copycats have not been able to stand up to localization by the originals like they did in China for example. Learnings are being applied in board rooms as we speak.
Investor behavior has already changed in many of the large/hot market spaces already. Consolidation is happening, there is more to come. Local strategies of copycats have not been able to stand up to localization by the originals like they did in China for example. Learnings are being applied in boa


Vikram Gupta , Exploring, learning, believing Oct, 20 2016


Smells like change!


Aman Singh , IIT; Designer by choice, engineer by force Oct, 20 2016


I read that you have created and sold 3 start-ups in your career. How has that journey been? After coming up with an idea, going against odds and starting-up, making the company acquisition-worthy, is it really that easy to do this process all over again? Not just once but twice?


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


Three times actually. Turns out, it gets easier with every next one. It was excruciatingly painful the first time. The second time was easier during the acquisition and then got painful as I lived the new reality. The third time was a breeze. The emotion is related to change in identity. When you sell a company, the identity (culture, values, vision) of the acquirer prevails. If you resist it, there is pain. If you embrace it, the entrepreneur in you starts dying a bit. Am building my fourth one with far more patience now. Already declined one juicy acquisition offer!
Three times actually. Turns out, it gets easier with every next one. It was excruciatingly painful the first time. The second time was easier during the acquisition and then got painful as I lived the new reality. The third time was a breeze. The emotion is related to change in identity. When you se


Kanika , IITian Oct, 20 2016


righthalf That's quite a lot of wisdom in 5 lines! However, have you always managed to find people worth working with? Or have you kept a nucleus of trusted people with you throughout the varies start-ups and acquisitions?


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


I have focused on building permanent relationships with people. Companies change and so do market scenarios. People and their capabilities and goodness only grows with time. I try to build teams of people better than me, serve them in order to discover super powers they did not have before they worked with me, and then work towards being honest and fair with them in my dealings. It is not easy and I have made many mistakes along the way. Though am happy to work with people I love.
I have focused on building permanent relationships with people. Companies change and so do market scenarios. People and their capabilities and goodness only grows with time. I try to build teams of people better than me, serve them in order to discover super powers they did not have before they work


S. Venkatesh , Student at IIT-D Oct, 20 2016


You have talked about the situation with copycat start-ups such as Uber for India, Amazon for India etc. Are they really that bad? I mean, Ola seems to be doing pretty well. Agreed they're not profitable, but it's the competition they offer to Uber which eventually makes life easier for the end customer.
You have talked about the situation with copycat start-ups such as Uber for India, Amazon for India etc. Are they really that bad? I mean, Ola seems to be doing pretty well. Agreed they're not profitable, but it's the competition they offer to Uber which eventually makes life easier for the end cust


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


Good and bad is a lens that readers have put on the story. In the book, I talk about the Ola & Flipkart story from a vantage point that involves dynamics of the global funding and technology scenario. That seemed different from the story back home at the time. Some found that a cynical view, others feeling anxious about making sense of the situation felt it demystified things for them.
Good and bad is a lens that readers have put on the story. In the book, I talk about the Ola & Flipkart story from a vantage point that involves dynamics of the global funding and technology scenario. That seemed different from the story back home at the time. Some found that a cynical view, oth


Naveen tripathi , Economic honours with more passion into Engin Oct, 20 2016


I am not sure about Ola here. The way they have created a market all together and with pool and their own fleet being introduced it seems almost certain that they will hit profitability soon, dont you think?


righthalf , co-founder of HyperTrack.io, author of The Go Oct, 20 2016


There is not much to choose between Ola and Uber in terms of business strategy if you ask me. Investors pushed Ola into a spot where they had to be Uber of India and do to them what Didi did to them in China. That playbook distracted Ola from many more things they could have done in a unique manner. I have no doubt Ola will eventually get profitable. My doubts are around valuations and growth rates at profitable margins.
There is not much to choose between Ola and Uber in terms of business strategy if you ask me. Investors pushed Ola into a spot where they had to be Uber of India and do to them what Didi did to them in China. That playbook distracted Ola from many more things they could have done in a unique manner.


Ashima Singh , Exploring Oct, 20 2016


I'm sure Mr. Kashyap would answer this.


But, even Ola has been copying those schemes from Uber. I think the end-game for Ola has to be to get acquired by Uber. Sustained profitability seems nearly impossible for them.