Vijay Anand | The Startup Guy.

Posts Tagged ‘Paul+graham

Seems like we are not the only set of folks who are wanting to fix the problems we see around us and build a “sustainable” atmosphere around us. There is a post by Ryan who runs FOWA taking a stance against the Web Mission effort that is getting organized by the UK Government and quite a fair list of heavy weights, including Techcrunch. I think this post is important to observe for a couple of reasons.

The striking similarities that we hear from folks around us in:

1. Thinking that the Silicon valley for some reason offers more opportunities.

2. Europe just like India, in most cases, seems to think that you only get funded if you hit the valley. Atleast we aren’t that bad. We have much more easier access to capital.

3. There are folks like FOWA (Future of Web Apps) who are trying to build a vibrant community of users, developers and startups in Europe, very much like how we are working on the same – with arguments that they have “everything that they require right there”

4. There are also people, most of them, who seem to think that the UK companies should be looking into the valley for users and potential exit strategies.

I’ve been working on a post that shows a snapshot of interaction between startups, venture capitals and the markets from across the globe – the valley, Canada, Australia, Europe and India. You’d be surprised how similar most conversations are. Trust me, things are not so hard because we are in India, neither too easy because we are here. We are just facing the same harsh realities as anywhere else. Perhaps the world is flatterning. Huh! who thought I’d agree to that, so easily!

I’ll leave you with this comment by Phil Bradley in that post, which just gets the message home without any explanations:

“The equity gap between seed and series A that plagues the UK will not be resolved if we can’t demonstrate maturity and ability to build profitable businesses.”

Paul Graham has written a recent article where he is wailing and moaning on the same topic. And I think he lives in the heart of where the action lies.

To Quote Paul from his Article, “I used to think of VCs as piratical: bold but unscrupulous. On closer acquaintance they turn out to be more like bureaucrats. They’re more upstanding than I used to think (the good ones, at least), but less bold. Maybe the VC industry has changed. Maybe they used to be bolder. But I suspect it’s the startup world that has changed, not them. The low cost of starting a startup means the average good bet is a riskier one, but most existing VC firms still operate as if they were investing in hardware startups in 1985.”

That just eerily sounds like the issue we face here.

PS: I haven’t thought through this yet, but I believe this only applies to Internet/Media related startups.

I’m probably taking a 180 degree turn, and maybe a few more swirls on this post, considering my last entry on design and technology, but I think this is gonna have to be said, sooner or later.

There are a couple of things that I am noticing lately.

1. People who are back from the US and other nations where they had gone for seeking employment and are now back, who are absolutely amazed at what is happening here in India.

2. People who are a little hesitant and wondering if the Global economy recession is going to have a hard impact on us, and most of us oldies have realized that we could withstand and live through this to tell the tale – its not even a brainer no more.

3. Then there are the third group of people, who are sitting in their respective cosy offices abroad and are pointing fingers at this country as if its heading towards an impending doom.

4. There is the fourth kind, the ugly kind, which is wanting for some foreign nation to come and rescue us and “take us to the next level”.

I love the first and the second kind. Am tolerant towards the third kind and just hate the fourth one.

Let me start off with an anecdote: About a few years back, maybe ten or so, we were a much different nation. I’ll give you a very simple example: The CDMA Technology of Qualcomm was partly developed in association with IIT Madras. A couple of slip-ups, and we were one of the highest royalty paying countries (close to 7%, when hongkong and the likes were paying half of that, and China paying around 2%) to Qualcomm. Needless to say such mistakes wont ever happen again. In the words of Dr. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, “We are a very confident nation now compared to how we were even a few years ago”. Unless there is an equal opportunity for growth, research and commercialization, we don’t ever sign deals anymore. From a nation that “needed” a break, we are at a point where unless the deal is fair and maybe even lenient, we aren’t interested – we have plenty of other options, and partners willing to work on more friendlier terms these days.

As usual, let me take two steps back and go from there.

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