The fund will support all the IAN deals as well as independently co-invest with other VCs. Together, IAN and the IAN Fund (plus co-investors), will invest approximately Rs 1,500 crore in around 160 companies over the next four years.
In the good news of the day, the Indian Angel Network (IAN) today announced a new global fund worth Rs 350 crore. The first close of Rs 175 crore, raised primarily from the domestic market, has industry stalwarts like Kris Gopalakrishnan, Co-founder, ex-CEO, Infosys, Sunil Munjal, Joint Managing Director, HERO Corp, and Dr Devi Shetty, Founder and Chairman, Narayan Hrudalaya, as part of its advisory committee.
The IAN said it was sector-agnostic, but the SEBI-registered early-stage venture fund will take a special interest to bolster early-stage startups in the healthcare and medical devices, SaaS, marketplaces, fintech, big data, AI, and hardware, supporting entrepreneurs with funds in the range of Rs 50 lakh to Rs 30 crore, co-investing with other VCs.
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Before Lakshmi Balachandra entered academia, she spent a few years working for two venture capital firms, where she routinely witnessed a phenomenon that mystified her. The VCs would receive a business plan from an entrepreneur, read it, and get excited. They’d do some research on the industry, and their enthusiasm would grow. So they’d invite the company founder in for a formal pitch meeting—and by the end of it they’d have absolutely no interest in making an investment. Why did a proposal that looked so promising on paper become a nonstarter when the person behind the plan actually pitched it? “That’s what led me to pursue a PhD,” says Balachandra, now an assistant professor at Babson College. “I wanted to break down and study the interaction between the VC and the entrepreneur.”
Even before she began her research, Balachandra had some hunches. Most entrepreneurs believe that the investment decision will hinge primarily on the substance of their pitch—the information and logic, usually laid out in a PowerPoint deck. But in fact most VCs review pitch decks beforehand; the in-person encounter is more about asking questions, gaining clarity, and sizing up personalities. To better understand those dynamics, Balachandra spent almost 10 years capturing what happens in pitch meetings and quantifying the results. Some patterns were obvious from the start. For instance, entrepreneurs who laugh during their pitches have more success, as do people who name-check friends they have in common with the VCs. But after drilling down, she drew four broad conclusions:
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Just like so many others, did you harbour the dream of starting your own company someday? Did you put in months, or even years of sweat and toil behind making your entrepreneurship dream a success? If your company didn’t take off despite all your expertise, energy and dedication, you need to take a step back and consider that maybe the entrepreneurial dream isn’t for you. And you aren’t the only one caught in this situation. Thousands of employees quit their high-paying corporate jobs every year to start something of their own. But what should one do when one’s dream of a successful startup doesn’t materialise? Here are a few steps to help you cope when you find yourself in a similar position.
If you feel like your company is going nowhere even after all your efforts, you need to take some time off to analyse where you stand. Did you build your expectations too high right from the beginning? Are you suddenly overwhelmed with the amount of work that needs to be accomplished? If you can identify your problem area and work towards eliminating it, you stand in a better position to revive your dying dream. Analysing the root cause of your feelings will give you a direction after you’ve had a chance to consider all your options.
If you’re not happy with your position in your company, you can always transform it to suit your needs. Yes, your employees might need to adjust at first to the changes you’re making, but it is worth the effort if the changes work out in your favour and better the work environment. For example, if you need your employees to follow a rigid schedule, you need to convey it to them. If there are certain responsibilities that come with being an entrepreneur that you hate, you can hire someone to take that work load off you. Try different strategies to make your entrepreneurial dream a reality before you give up on it completely.
If you’re not happy even after making the necessary changes, consider whether entrepreneurship can work for you in a different setting. For example, if you were the CEO of your previous company and you weren’t happy with the responsibilities that came with being the CEO, you can always try a different position like being a silent partner or a consultant the next time around. Similarly, you can choose a different industry that’s more to your liking. This can only happen when you have identified and learnt from the mistakes you made in your previous company and avoid those mistakes in your new venture.
However, after much trial and error if you still feel that entrepreneurship isn’t for you, you need to move on with the experience you gained and the lessons you learnt to an all new career path. Starting over might seem intimidating, but it’s better than being stuck in a rut forever.