How Indian Entrepreneurs are Changing the World

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How Indian Entrepreneurs are Changing the World

  February 4, 2020

Entrepreneurs are the people who move industries forward. Without entrepreneurs, innovation would come to a halt and large, bureaucratic corporations would only make small, incremental improvements. From our point-of-view, entrepreneurs are some of the most important people in today’s society. Today we’ll present a list of just a few Indian entrepreneurs who are changing the way we live.

Azim Premji

Azim Premji, known informally as “Czar of the Indian IT Industry”, started from humble beginnings after taking over his father’s cooking oil business and turning it into one of the largest IT companies in the world. Western India Vegetable Products, which was the company his father founded, made the transition to the Information Technology field after Azim came back from Stanford University and changed the name to Wipro. There was substantial opportunity for growth when IBM was forced to leave India, leaving a large vacuum that needed to be filled.

Azim is now the second richest man in India with reported net worth of $18.3 billion dollars. Information technology is still a field ready for disruption because of the ever-improving nature of technology. Essentially, every one to two years, new and more powerful technology is introduced to consumers.

Girish Mathrubootham

Girish Mathrubootham is the founder of Freshdesk, (now Freshworks Inc.) one of the leading customer support software systems on the market today. With over 100,000 customers (including Toshiba, Honda, Sony Pictures, Cisco, and many more) Freshworks is poised to be one of the leading business software companies in the world.

Business software is one industry where startups are creating positive change because old players, like Microsoft, Oracle, and others, are slow to implement change. They provide legacy software that is years behind where it could be. These large companies take too long to adapt and therefore open up space for new companies to come in and capture market share.

Kailash Katkar

Kailash Katkar is the founder and CEO of Quick Heal Technologies LTD. Quick Heal is one of the pioneers of research and development for the IT security industry. Quick Heal offers antivirus protection for PCs, laptops, Macs, and smartphones. They also offer enterprise IT Security Solutions for larger companies that can protect an entire work force.

IT security will be one of the most important sectors needing innovation in the foreseeable future. Large scale IT hacks, like the recent Equifax breach, show just how important security can be. Over 143 million Americans had their confidential information stolen by hackers who were able to break into Equifax databases. A large scale breach like this could happen in India as well, which is why investing heavily in IT security will be a top priority in coming years.

Kunal Shah

Kunal Shah is the co-founder of Freecharge, along with Sandeep Tandon. Freecharge is an e-commerce website headquartered in Mumbai and provides online facilities to recharge any prepaid mobile phone. In April of 2015, Freecharge was acquired by Snapdeal for approximately $400 million (US) and has been referred to as the second biggest acquisition in Indian history.

Mobile technology is one industry most poised for rapid change as a large base of the indian population are now using mobile devices. Faster wireless internet will provide enormous opportunities for new companies to provide innovative products and services that a +1 billion person market will have access to.

Sridhar Vembu

Sridhar Vembu is the founder of the Zoho Corporation. He has been the CEO since 2000 and is famously known for turning down venture capital money and building his company internally. Sridhar proves that it’s possible to grow a large tech company (that can compete with companies like Oracle, Salesforce, QuickBooks, and Microsoft) without taking on large amounts of venture capital.

In business software applications, customer support is often a neglected aspect customers are forced to deal with. Zoho prides itself on being one of the only companies that puts customer service above everything else. Instead of relocating and building his company in Silicon Valley, Sridhar decided to stay in India. He built his company locally by teaching high school students how to program and then hiring them as developers himself.

Will you be an influential Entrepreneur?

If you’re working on being an influential entrepreneur yourself, the Tandon Group wants to help you along the way. At the Tandon Group, we’ve invested in the dozens of high-growth startups in the consumer, defense, and information technology sectors, across the globe. We’ve had successful exits and helped grow companies to millions of users. If you know your company has the potential to be the “next big thing”, reach out to us. We’d love to be your partner for the road ahead.

Tandon GroupHow Indian Entrepreneurs are Changing the World

Top 6 Quotes from Indian Entrepreneurs

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Top 6 Quotes from Indian Entrepreneurs

  September 1, 2018

Advice and wisdom from entrepreneurs who’ve accomplished what you want to accomplish can be invaluable. Their experience can help you avoid major pitfalls and mistakes most young entrepreneurs make. One of the entrepreneurs on this list is actually a founder that we’ve invested in at the Tandon group. We can vouch for the fact that his advice is sound, and necessary, to build a successful startup.

Here are our top 6 quotes from Indian entrepreneurs on how to be successful in starting a company:

 “If you fully accept the worst that can ever happen in your journey, fear won’t ever be an obstacle in starting-up.” – Kunal Shah, FreeCharge

Freecharge is actually a company we invested in (a co-founder of the company is also an owner of Tandan Group). You can see their profile on our business page. Kunal Shah gives us an insightful piece of wisdom with his words about accepting fear. Every entrepreneur that we have ever worked with experiences fear on some level. The highest-performing entrepreneurs accept that fear and don’t let it hinder their performance. In business, as in life, fear means you are pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone. As the popular saying goes, “if you want to accomplish something you’ve never done before, you have to start doing things you’ve never done before.” Doing new and unfamiliar things is almost certain to bring fear.

“Ideas are no one’s monopoly. Think big, think fast, think ahead.” – Dhirubhai Ambani, Reliance Industries

It’s important to remember that ideas are unlimited. No matter who you are, where you come from, or what you’ve done before in business, anyone can come up with the next breakthrough idea. Where you separate yourself and become a true entrepreneur, is when you execute on those big ideas. If you’re stuck in the “idea phase,” you need to first realize that all great ideas are thought up by people no smarter than yourself. Everyone (even you) has their own area of expertise and that is where you want to focus your efforts on finding your next startup idea.

“The trench is as much a part of growth and expansion as the peak is. Hitting the bottom before you succeed is almost a rite of passage.” – Dr. Ashwin Naik, Vaatsalya Healthcare

In our experience, there are virtually no entrepreneurs who achieved success who, at one point, did not narrowly avoid failure. Tesla, Freecharge, Virgin Group, Airbnb, Uber, and almost every great startup you’ve heard of, didn’t know for sure if they were going to make it or not. Pushing through periods of uncertainty and potential failure are always going to be necessary if you want to reach success. Most people quit at the first sign of potential failure. You should view this as a good thing because this is where you can separate yourself from the 99% of other “wantrepreneurs” who give up when it gets hard. If you can make it through this, you will almost certainly meet with success.

“Don’t be a jerk. Even if you are brilliant, don’t be a brilliant jerk.” – Girish Mathrubootham, Freshdesk

Many startup founders get infatuated when hearing stories about founders like Steve Jobs. It’s no secret that many people viewed him as an inconsiderate leader. We agree that in order to start and build a company you have to be steadfast in your beliefs but there’s a fine line between being certain about your decisions and being a jerk to the people around you. Sometimes you’ll need to be forceful and convince people to follow your vision but other times you need to know how to be compassionate and see problems from other people’s point-of-view. Being a leader is always a delicate balance between keeping your team cohesive and leading them toward your vision.

“You cannot get into business for the fashion of it.” – Azim Premji, Wipro

It’s no secret that in this day-and-age being an entrepreneur is popular. What most people fail to realize is that, behind the popularity and fan fair entrepreneurs receive, there are hours, weeks, months and years of hard work that no one sees or appreciates. Most entrepreneurs forgo security and comfort to build their dream. Everyone likes to celebrate a successful entrepreneur (after they’ve “made it”) but rarely do they think about the hardships that preceded the success.

“Stay focused on effectively solving customer’s problems. The money will come.” – Nikesh Arora, SoftBank

If you read our blog post on the most common issues we see in startups today you’ll notice that the most common issue we see is companies that don’t solve a problem or address a real need. Nikesh Arora was the highest-paid executive in the world at SoftBank Corp so if there’s anybody we want to listen to about making money, it might be him. Our experience mirrors his quote because all of our successful investments were centered around companies that solved a real problem.

If you’re a startup founder looking for funding, the Tandon Group might be a great partner. As we’ve said in this post, we’ve helped startups go from initial founding to hundreds of millions of dollars in valuation.  We’d love to help your startup be the next big success. If you want to set up an investment meeting, please contact us on our website. We look forward to being your partner for the road ahead.

Tandon GroupTop 6 Quotes from Indian Entrepreneurs

Checklist for Raising Startup Capital

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Checklist for Raising Startup Capital

  September 1, 2015

Raising capital for the first time can seem daunting. If no one on your founding team has done it before, you’re bound to make mistakes. The only thing you can do to calm your nerves and feel more confident is get as prepared as possible. Luckily, most VC’s and angels have similar needs when it comes to the information they want to see before making an investment.

Here is a list of items we like to see at the Tandon Group before we consider investing in a company. While some startups will have more concrete information for each item on this checklist, you simply need to do your best to flush out your company’s position on each of these items:

  • Company Overview: Your overview should be an overarching description of your entire business. It’s usually best to complete this part of your preparation after you’ve gone over the rest of this checklist. The company overview will be a shortened version of the main points contained here.
  • Physical Location: Where is your company located? How many locations do you have? Where do you plan to open new locations? Is your team all “under one roof” or remotely based? Basically, spell out where and how your company is operating.
  • Founding Team: Most investors are looking to invest in a team of founders. While this isn’t a definitive rule, it’s usually a best practice to find someone who has complementary skills to your own. If you’re a coder or an engineer, you should find a business savvy co-founder (or vice versa).
  • Product Demo: At the very minimum, if you’re not a seasoned entrepreneur with past successes, you need to have something to show an investor. It doesn’t have to be as complicated as your final product but it needs to capture the essence of what you’re trying to do. Ideally, it proves your concept viable.
  • Addressable Market: You don’t want to go into an investment meeting saying that your addressable market is the entire world. You need to have a specific target audience, at least for your initial marketing efforts. Who is most likely to use your service? What’s their age, gender, interest, demographics, etc?
  • Problem/Solution: This goes hand-in-hand with your addressable market. Now that you know who you’re serving, what specific problem, need, or desire are you going to solve? The number one mistake we see entrepreneurs make is they create a product or service that no one actually needs or wants.
  • Business Model: How are you going to make money? You can start a business and not immediately monetize your user base but, eventually, you’re going to need a way to make it sustainable. Your product demo should align with your business model to show how you’re going to generate revenues and profits.
  • Competition: There’s a common saying, “business is cut-throat.” Your competitors are trying to steal your customers, take away your market share, and put you out of business. It’s in your company’s best interest to know exactly who all of your competitors are, where they operate, and how they operate.
  • Financials/Projections: You should always be able to show where you’ve spent every dollar and where you generated every cent of revenue from the beginning of your company’s existence. It’s simply bad accounting if you don’t have records of all the money you’ve spent and made so far.
  • Legal Information: How is your company legally formed? Is it an LLC, corporation, partnership or some other legal business entity? In most cases, you need to have this already setup before you go to any sort of investor because you’re not even going to be able to open a business bank account without having a company formed.
  • Past Funding: If you’ve raised money in the past this is going to be one of the first things investors are going to want to know. What was the last funding round valued at? How much equity was exchanged for what amount of money? What kind of shares and what sort of control do the previous investors have? These are all questions you going to need to make sure you have answers to.
  • Future Vision: Where do you envision taking this company? While most companies will need to pivot and change course multiple times during their lifetime, you should always have some sort of vision that you’re aiming to attain. A compelling vision aligns your employees, your investors, and your goals- so that everyone is on the same page.

If you follow the checklist above, your chances of raising capital for your startup will greatly increase. If you’re a startup founder looking to raise capital, Tandon Group wants to meet you. We have over 40+ years of startup experience and have invested in startups from many different sectors.

We’ve had numerous successful exits/acquisitions and would love for your company to be the next one. Reach out to us and we’ll get back to you with more information about setting up a meeting.

Tandon GroupChecklist for Raising Startup Capital