3 most important qualities an entrepreneur should have?
• The ability to let go – Most of the entrepreneurs are tech entrepreneurs who start building the product first themselves. As company scales and grows, they don’t let go of the product since it’s the product which got them excited. The responsibilities increase including fundraising, hiring, managing the board, building culture, etc and hardly have anytime to focus on the product and invariably become the bottleneck in the company if they don’t let go. Figuring when to let go and actually letting go is tough. You have to do things what you have to do, even if you don’t like.
• The ability to say no – At times, entrepreneurs start feeling that investors are always right, don’t disagree with what they they have to say and start working on their guidance. This eventually leads you to a situation where you didn’t want to be and where no one takes responsibility – the board as well as the entrepreneur. How and when to say no, being thick skinned and taking tough calls without getting emotional is an important trait.
• Passion – As an entrepreneur, you go through so much day in an day out. Without passion, it’s really difficult to wake up and look forward to the day that lies ahead of you.
What makes a great leader?
Leader is someone who engages with the people in a way that encourages them to dream more, making them wanting to learn more & do more. That is leadership! Leader is someone who pushes other people and motivates the individual beyond his/her boundaries and inspires them.
Why did you choose to be a part of Kstart eco-system?
Kstart is very much different from what other VCs are doing. This is similar to the execution of what Y Combinator is doing in the valley. It has a much more hands on approach in helping founders at a very early/seed stage build the next generation disruptive companies. It’s an experiment and I can relate to it. It is worth the experiment since this model is not yet tried in the Indian startup ecosystem. It’s not possible to do this alone and there are other bunch of Catalysts and since it’s a Kalaari anchored, you know you have the right set of partners to make it a success. This experiment is an opportunity to contribute to the Indian startup ecosystem in whatever way possible.
The one thing you wish you had known when you were 25?
Being an entrepreneur has been a journey of self discovery. I was a typical engineer and then went on to MBA. I did all the right things at the right time. I thought I could do phenomal programming and never though I could be a consultant or start a company or motivate people or be a great leader or sell – sold TaxiForSure to investors & sold TaxiForSure to potential hires. I was not aware about the other qualities. Had I known about the real discovery that entrepreneurship provides, I would have started up earlier in my life. Entrepreneurship is not about success or failure but a journey to know more about yourself.
Books you would recommend
– The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
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