There is tremendous opportunity to create value by helping startups navigate the treacherous journey from pre-revenue to the first US$1M in revenue. Successful entrepreneurship requires the ability to manage risk and take advantage of uncertainty. This is to be done on multiple fronts – from R&D, engineering, and IP to marketing, sales, and partnerships. This 2016 presentation proposes a venture that supports IP-rich, B2B startups on revenue generation and fund-raising.Successful-Entrepreneurship-Startup-Journey-from-0-to-1
While India lacks a successful role model for such a venture, there are global companies that made a version of it work. Examples include PA Consulting, Cartezia, and IP Group.
The nature of entrepreneurial ventures can be quite different. Some may focus on short-term opportunities such as import substitution. Others may involve a time frame of 10+ years with an emphasis on the development of disruptive technology. Similarly, some may sell direct to consumers whereas others may sell only to the government or very large companies. Finally, startups may even target social or charitable causes instead of maximizing profits. Thus, successful entrepreneurship is a journey from 0 to 1. From no customers to the first and then many and from the first prototype to a commercially ready product. From trial users to a community of devoted followers.
Regardless of the type of venture, an entrepreneurial mindset is what drives it forward. The ability to a) take quick decisions, b) operate despite ambiguity, and c) tell a compelling story are key to positive outcomes. When it comes to deep-tech startups, especially in India, founders have to be creative on all fronts. This includes:
- Accessing technology from government R&D labs using ‘options to license’
- Planning an early exit instead of M&A or IPO
- Remaining open to consulting and other sources of cash flow
- Leveraging soft money from incubators and accelerators
- Keeping fixed costs to a minimum