Please share more about your writing experience and what stood apart during the process of writing the book.
It was a wonderful experience. I received a lot of feedback from readers and fortunately, most of it was positive. One underlying comment was that when they read the book, they didn’t feel like they were reading a book but were in a conversation with me. As an author, that’s just great to hear.
You’ve alluded to some of the failures in startups and the investing ecosystem. What was the readers’ feedback on some of these stories?
If you want to learn about acting, you’ll probably learn from Shah Rukh Khan or maybe another film industry giant. But there is also the person who came from the fields of Punjab with a similar dream and didn’t succeed despite investing the years. Eventually, he leaves in frustration. It is very important to talk about that person’s story as well because one will learn from it.
It's extremely important to learn from failures and not repeat them but the thing about this is that people rarely open up about misfires. What makes the book unique is that it also discusses failures. Readers have come back to me saying that they’ve liked the ‘success’ stories but they’ve appreciated the ‘failures’ even more. This is because it offers a new perspective.
When investors evaluate a startup, what are some of the major things they are looking for?
I would say that the most important thing is the founder or the founders’ team. If you have the right founder and you have a bad or an average business model, the founder will figure out a way to make it work. On the other hand, if you have a wonderful business model but a very average founder, even a great business model will collapse and I've seen several examples of that.
The other thing one looks for is passion. This is very important because you know, you will always have ups and downs. Covid-19 brought us down for two years. Passion is the only thing that kept us going. If someone is only looking at making money, he or she will eventually give up in hard times. What we also look for in the business is how big is the market and how scalable it is. You have to have a strong growth model focused on profitability. Therefore, team, passion and the growth model towards profitability are the key areas.