Overthrowing the incubation regime

From an earlier post Business Incubation 101 that forms the preamble of my incubation idea. Thanks for all the offers of support – shows me that the idea resonates with many.

1. First bring the academia out of the safety of the cocoons we’ve woven around them. Have them check out what the world looks like. Today’s world. Today’s India.

2. Next, focus towards incubating ‘people’. They should be the real focus. Find real mentors. People that have been in the entrepreneurial world even if they have failed. They are the best teachers. Not professors of colleges. Don’t talk about incubating business. Leave that to the Western world.

3. Next, teach people to fish. No point in teaching fishing in your living room aquarium. At least walk them out to a brook. Pick up all the university incubation centres and physically put them off campus. That’s where the world exists. Not in the time warped government funded institutes.

Entrepreneur-ism is not socialistic. And capitalism doesn’t necessarily mean greedy or mercenary – especially in the context of India’s ethos. Make entrepreneurship an attractive lifestyle and stop being condescending irrespective of the preamble of our constitution. That goes for all those holier-than-thou bankers and VC’s.

Advertisements

Calling all India-preneurs

If there’s something India needs it is theez. Indiapreneurs!

I think we’ve waited long enough. I was at an event organised by the students of NIT Trichy early September and was pleasantly surprised to see how clued in this generation is. The problem is that our academia is still stuck in a time-warp. These kids need active mentoring and incubation support from professionals who have been there, done that. We need to move incubation facilities out of educational campuses and transplant them firmly into the ‘real’ world of business. A few friends and I are working on providing space and infrastructure as well as functional support (HR, Admin, IT etc.) and plan to pilot this in Delhi, Coimbatore and Hyderabad, starting 2010.

Ideas, suggestions, support and comments please.

Business Incubation 101 (India)

300px-Achtung_svg

 This post is India centric.

Thinking lag is a serious condition. I remember how the older folks used to tell us ‘in our times things were so much cheaper’. Look at how the Government patronises unsuspecting academia and students by announcing Goals 2020 and supports it with Funding 1920. It’s not even smart political thinking. Call it Politicalaggard thinking.

Mayawati will spend Rs. 2000 crores (USD 400 million) dotting the UP countryside with ego-stroking statues of herelf and her mock leather handbags while the Government announces 1 crore for business incubation. Here …

The government has now formulated a scheme to set up around 100 incubators in the country to encourage the development of new businesses. It has earmarked a budget of Rs 1.13 crore for 2007-08 for providing grants to 50 universities and training institutes for setting up these incubators!

[read the original evangelising here]. And don’t miss ‘proud’ exclamation mark.  Continue reading “Business Incubation 101 (India)”

Innovation 101 – Death of the VC

Thingamy’s Sigurd Rinde’s great post here. From the post – Goodbye VCs, it’s been a pleasure

Betting on markets is not business building, it’s not innovation, it’s financial crap shooting.

Many of the reasons I did not choose to have Ideafarms funded by Vulture Capitalists are so lucidly captured in his post.

1. On exit strategies

And my favourite – Andy Grove and the “payday” mentioned above: 

What really infuriates him is the concept of the “exit strategy.” “Intel never had an exit strategy,” Grove says. “These days, people cobble something together. No capital. No technology. They measure eyeballs and sell advertising. Then they get rid of it. You can’t build an empire out of this kind of concoction. You don’t even try.”

Did Microsoft, Google, Intel, Dell and Amazon spend time on “exit strategies”? Doubt it.

Exit strategy is something to pooh pooh at. Makes a money lender holding your home to ransom look like a saint! The VC community cannot even imagine the damage they have done to genuine entrepreneurship. Some of it will not be undone for generations.

2. On the role of the VC and the ‘passenger’  investor

I love Sig’s allusion to the investor being the passenger. How irritating to have a passenger sit in the back seat while you’re driving, giving you instructions about when to step on the gas when he has never even learnt to drive.

I’m not against delivering the best possible value to the venture investors, quite on the contrary, but there should not be any doubt that the best shareholder values delivered over time have consistently been delivered by those who can create a great value for their customers while keeping a good margin.
And the customer is the start-up, the VC is the vehicle and the investor is the passenger. The passengers are always much better off if the driver keeps his eyes peeled on the road.

I join Sig in wishing VCs farewell and hope they will never return. RIP