VC Funding – Slowdown is (probably) good

While there is a lot of hoopla around entrepreneurship the world over, two trends seem to be heating up:

  1. Reducing valuations of high growth ventures
  2. Slowing down of venture investments

I personally see this as a positive thing. Like all things in the world, entrepreneurship and associated investments go through ups and downs. During the ‘down’ phase there is a tendency for situations to become closer to normal. I think this is happening to this sector.

Reducing valuations is also good. This reduces the pressure on the entrepreneurs while also keeping valuation close to value creation (read more on the difference here).

I recently came across an article that spoke of the virtues of a possible decline/slowdown in Venture Capital (VC) Funding. Link: http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/how-entrepreneurs-can-weather-the-drop-in-vc-funding/?utm_source=kw_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2016-05-04

Think about it.

My article on Management INK

Most academics agree that their research reaches less people than it deserves. One of the reasons is that academic articles are not shared widely on social media. SAGE has created an interesting initiative called ‘Management INK’. It is a blog that shares interesting academic articles from the vast range of SAGE Journals. The editorial staff present a short review, and indicate its potential. I have been following this blog and enjoyed identifying useful articles.

Happy to share that ‘Management INK’ has reviewed and shared my article titled ‘Indian Entrepreneurship through a historical lens: A dialogue with Dwijendra Tripathi’. This article appeared in The Journal of Entrepreneurship Volume 25 Issue 1 (March 2016).

Link: https://managementink.wordpress.com/2016/05/05/indian-entrepreneurship-and-its-varied-manifestations-a-historical-perspective/

The article offers number of areas for further research in Entrepreneurship. Doctoral Students, Academic Researchers, Teachers and Policy Makers will find useful insights in this article.

DOWNLOAD PAPER FOR FREE! ‘Management INK’ and SAGE also allow a two week free access to the article on their blog. So, go ahead, download, read and use this article in your future research.

Happy Reading!

Products that Created Markets

iPod – ‘Music’ and changed how we listen to music

Xbox and PlayStation – ‘Gaming’ and changed the way we play video games

Kindle – ‘E-Books’ and changed how we read


 

Are you making the next one? Which industry are you disrupting? Which market are you creating? Which product or service are you making redundant?

If you are a corporation and not doing any of these, think again, for soon some one will do it. It might make you redundant.

These are all the result of ‘Corporate Innovation’ and the entrepreneurial abilities of their people. While innovation and entrepreneurship is the talk of the town, is it being spoken off in your corridors? What can you do to make ‘innovation’ thrive in your enterprise?

It is probably the only sustainable competitive advantage!

Think about it.

Corporates must tap academic research

It is a fact that most Universities / Research Labs (publicly funded) produce research, publish their findings and have a roster of intellectual property. This is business as usual for them. They do little in terms of commercialising their discoveries.

Corporations on the other hand have ‘innovation’ as the mandate. They attempt to commercialise inventions and profit out of creating value. Since their focus is on commercialisation, they should not be spending too much effort on ‘Research’, but sadly they do.

Most ‘research’ functions have been blamed for not being effective. This is due to a number of reasons. Lets not get into it. Many corporations also do not have the muscle power to sustain long term research activities either! Hence long term sustainability of corporations is under serious threat. Enhancing innovative ability of their organisations is ‘Top Priority’ for the CEOs / Top Management Teams.

Hence it makes sense for corporations to focus on their core activity of making innovations happen while tapping into academic research for gaining access to new inventions. I recently read an article on this topic (Link: https://hbr.org/2016/04/innovative-companies-get-their-best-ideas-from-academic-research-heres-how-they-do-it?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=harvardbiz).

There are a lot of reasons why this may be difficult to practice in a developing economy. Here are some top of the mind reasons:

  • Low public funding for research
  • Poor research infrastructure
  • Low quality research output
  • Poorly documented / published research
  • Little research of practical value
  • Little interaction between industry and academia

And so on… But one is bound to be surprised by the number of useful ‘intellectual property’ that lie dormant in our (India) public universities / research laboratories. Some smart companies are already beginning this…

As a corporate looking to stay relevant in the future, it is useful to include scanning academic research as part of your strategy function. Number of interesting ideas are presented in the article cited above.

Read, access and explore the academic world to find inventions that can be commercially valuable for your firm / organisation.

This could be one way of enhancing corporation innovation.

Indian Entrepreneurship: Interesting Insights

Punit Soni, a senior hire from Silicon Valley quit Flipkart. As always there has been a lot of speculation on him and Flipkart. But that’s not the point. Business Insider interviewed him and I find that his answers reveal a lot about Indian Entrepreneurship and Ecosystem. While I let you enjoy the details of the interview (Link: http://www.businessinsider.com/flipkart-punil-soni-explains-why-he-quit-2016-4?IR=T) here are few points worth noting:

  • Indian E-Commerce is a big opportunity; the winner will have to be a large player
  • Innovation in E-Commerce is behind the scenes and its tough work
  • Mobile is a mindset and not a channel strategy
  • Restructuring is a strategic matter
  • ‘I think the Indian Media is a bit of a circus… way too much is written without substantiation’ (read the interview fully before saying anything)
  • Startups and Media should focus on ‘strategy’ not ‘personality’
  • MUST READ: Incident from Bay Area on Hero Worship
  • Its definitely getting easier to setup a company in India, though it can get much better (Government is trying a lot)
  • Valley’s big difference is its support and mentorship; this is lacking in India’s entrepreneurship ecosystem – needs a big fillip
  • A Google / Apple type of Company will come out of India (Optimism in India’s entrepreneurial potential) – lets live up to it.

I know the above is like dissecting an interview, but I think we should learn to read into what is being said. This is only for learning how to improve, not to generate more ‘gossip’, there is enough of it anyway.

Lets not waste the potential of Indian Entrepreneurship

Happy Reading and Happy Entrepreneuring!

Virtual Reality – A trend to track

VR as it is popularly called, Virtual Reality is a trend to track. Even if you are not an entrepreneur who is attempting to become the Google or Facebook of the VR revolution, you will be caught up in this world within worlds.

As though the existing levels of ‘maya’ are not enough, VR is adding another level of ‘maya’ to our lives. As with all things in life, it comes with immense possibility to make lives better. Just imagine sitting at home and watching the Wimbledon, or spending a day at Disneyland, or actually living in space for a day or just being in a story instead of reading it. Many functions such as marketing, many industries such as entertainment and education may be changed forever when VR goes mainstream. And all of these opportunities comes from very little imagination in very little time from one little mind. Just imagine the possibilities.

Google and Facebook are already on it. And so are the many startups around the world. Start reading to know where this will take the world. At least the possibilities are promising!

Here are two links to start reading:

http://www.fastcodesign.com/3058308/the-perfect-vr-headset-is-actually-just-a-hoodie?utm_source=mailchimp&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=fast-company-daily-codesign&position=1&partner=newsletter&campaign_date=03282016

http://www.fastcompany.com/3058259/most-innovative-companies/for-oculus-to-succeed-vr-needs-to-succeed?utm_source=mailchimp&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=fast-company-daily-newsletter&position=1&partner=newsletter&campaign_date=03282016

Keep tracking and Keep reading!

Finance for Entrepreneurs: Value and Valuation

While today we speak of companies such as Flipkart and Zomato, most of them seem to be running a ‘valuation’ game. But according to my understanding entrepreneurs must run a ‘value’ game. While the two should be related, there is a huge difference between the two.

Value – is what is created by the entrepreneur for a consumer. In the process the entrepreneur gets rewarded. All of this if done in a sustainable way, the business runs for a long period of time. Rare, but examples exist.

Valuation – is when an entrepreneur attempts to create value for themselves and their investors. They provide consumers services to make this happen. If the business makes through the difficult mathematical puzzle of numbers, it exists, else death is certain. Examples are a plenty, but exceptions exist.

If a startup create value for its customers, over time it is rewarded by valuation too! But if valuation is the focus, value is at times compromised, industries undergo turmoil and there is a shakeout of good players too. This is not very good for the long term.

Last week when I was speaking at a panel discussion I was reminded of this: why creating business models and identifying value are more important than raising money.

I hope entrepreneurs and startups understand this and live it. It is important considering the fact that, even if all the Venture Capital money flows in and gets invested, the number of startups getting funded will be a minuscule portion of the startup population. And more importantly, entrepreneurship is a career, a journey, not just a race or a competition.

Think and decide to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. Its fun and fulfilling! I can vouch for it both from my personal experience and of having groomed many.

Happy entrepreneuring!