Vani Kola, Managing Director, Kalaari Capital answers questions from Mishaal Sarawgi, a second year PGP student who is a senior coordinator with the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Cell of IIMB.
Is it always wise to look for a team of people who have expertise in different domains as marketing, finance, operations, etc. when you go about choosing the founding team? What aspects can get compromised when you form the team this way?
A founding team should have complementary skills. This makes the team stronger, but the priority should first be on working chemistry. A cohesive team is more important than a diverse team. Often, teams come together, but cannot stay together. And this is detrimental to building the company. In general, at least one member of the team should be good at front-facing activities, say fund raising, sales, etc.
Are B-plan competitions, pitching to a panel of expert judges, VCs, etc. the best way to judge the feasibility of your business idea?
No. These activities are good to hone your pitching skills. They help you develop clarity on your business, and to establish priorities. They are also helpful in expanding your network.
And, it does get your feedback. But there are many examples of companies that have become tremendously successful after being rejected by highly qualified investors as ‘not viable’ businesses. However, there is a balance in having conviction in your business, and (being) unwilling to accept reality.
A general trend for most start-ups is that, in most of the cases, 2-3 friends co-found the start-up. What does it take for a single person to start out on his own? Is it wise to take the plunge alone?
It is more difficult. It is not always the wise thoughts that make the impossible happen. Should one climb the Everest without support, and a group. The wise would say, no. But some try, and a few may succeed. So, it is a very personal choice, and one’s own confidence, despite the advise of the wise. Start-ups are to begin with low probability game of success.
Source: The Hindu Businessline