Starting Up – Is There A Right Time? – Panel Discussion At TiEcon 2009, Delhi

As the title conveys this panel discussion at the first  day of TiEcon Delhi tried to answer the question whether it’s downturn or not, is there a right time to start a business.

The panelists included:

Ms. Abha Bakaya, ET Now – Chair
Mr. Bejul Somaia, Managing Director, Lightspeed Venture Partners
Ms. Bala Deshpande, Senior Managing Director, NEA
Mr. Moorthy Uppaluri, General Manager-DPE, Microsoft
Mr. Kartik Varma, Co-Founder, iTrust Financial Advisors
Mr. Yashish Dahiya, Co Founder, PolicyBazaar.com
Mr. Dhruv Shringi, CEO & Co Founder, Yatra.com- TiE Host

For startups now software is for free

Abha started off the discussion asking the same question to the panelists, Moorthy Uppaluri tried to answer that this is the best time to start a business and that in this recession we are seeing a whole new breed of entrepreneurs.

Moorthy pointed out that if you are a startup less than 3 years old and with less than a million dollar in revenues, you get all the software for free.

When you start loosing your sleep

Bjul Somaia then tried to answer the question, he said the right timing to startup is when you have strong passion for what you are building and when you start loosing sleep with excitement. He pointed out to the paradox (which is quite true) that when you work hard you get tired and you get more sleep,  but when you are working on your startup you work hard and you get excited and you sleep less.

Amount of investments have gone down is that a dampener?

Bala Deshpande, tried answering this question, she said, Yes and No. Bringing a VC’s perspective to the question Bala said that downturn has made people more cautious about their investments but that will not stop right people to startup. She pointed out that if they are not going to invest in equity in startups they will not be able to earn much from their investments.

She said that Indian VC food chain has been broken and everybody knows that and unless there are people who want to take risk in startups there  is going to be a challenge.

Bejul continued the discussion pointing out that sign of winds blowing harder are blowing even now, but winds are changing now not only for early stage companies but to big companies too.

Why a Google didn’t happen in India?

Yashish Dahiya of Policybazaar took this question, he said that Entrepreneural ecosystem has not been good enough to breed startups, but said the situation is changing and that it is very difficult in Silicon valley to get funded in but there’s an ecosystem to always support the startups.

When should a startup take funding ? if it should

Answering the question Bala Deshpande said that it is not necessary to go for funding unless you need it and that one will know if he has to go for funding. She said that startups trying to raise funding showcase their estimated revenues and that VC’s spend a lot of time on the assumptions behind the number.

There was a question from audience that there are no fundings Nano technology in India and nobody is willing to why is that?, Moorthy tried to answer the question that unless technologies are ready enough there is not going to be any funding, and that one should not bite more than one could chew or else he would choke.

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