“Keep trying, guys,” that is the advice Prabhakar Reddy, a seed/early stage investor with Accel Partners in Bangalore, has for young, aspiring entrepreneurs.
Speaking to Onmanorama on the sidelines of Techspectations, the digital summit by Manorama Online in Kochi, Reddy outlined what he looks for in aspiring entrepreneurs: a deep domain expertise; an ability to hire the best people; and a basic ability to hustle, negotiate and convince users to use your product. Reddy is a serial entrepreneur, with over 9 years of experience running successful digital-media and online video platforms.
Here is perhaps the most important advice he has for Kerala's youngsters. He wants aspiring entrepreneurs from Kerala to get out of their shell, see what is happening in Bangalore or Mumbai -- go out there, seek out angel investors, pitch your ideas to them, get feedback, get trashed, learn from that feedback and come back and develop and present it much better the next time.
Accel partners started in 2007 and is focused on technology-based companies with a focus on India. Among their success stories are Flipkart, cab-hailing app Ola, Myntra, Bookmyshow, and Blackbuck.
Reddy says the startup ecosystem in India is still very fresh and has a long way to go. He thinks the ecosystem will take time to mature, perhaps another 4-5 years, before we start seeing extremely high-quality startups.
“It requires a lot of young entrepreneurs to keep trying, fail and get up, and keep trying again. That is exactly what has happened from 1999 till now in the Valley; we only started in 2012,” he said.
The three major challenges that the startup ecosystem in India faces, according to the ace investor, are:
(a) Infrastructural challenges - regarding transportation, internet, mobile.
(b) A lack of data, as opposed to in the US. And this is especially a big challenge in the fintech sector.
(c) Regulation - “A lot of things getting unregulated but again, that keeps unraveling in the next few years. A lot of the deregulation will help the startups.”
The VC admitted he has not yet seen too many entrepreneurs from Kerala so far but that Techspectation was a "very enlightening" experience. Especially to see a lot of young entrepreneurs with a lot of passion.
“Hopefully we will see a lot of youngsters (from Kerala) come and pitch to us in the next few months.” It is not very easy to get funding from VCs - you need to have a strong team, a very good product and a very good market.
So, if you are dreaming of building out your own product, listen to this: