VC Investment is always Plan B

I have been mentoring startups for several years now and in the first meeting itself, I am often asked?

Can you help getting my startup funded?

I cringe every time I hear this.

There is a general belief that success of startups are always hinged on Funding. To get the record straight that funding is always byproduct of starting up and the future of the startup should never be wholly dependent of funding. You build your business with Plan A without any funding. Your startup should have a plan where the business is able to grow and scale. When the startups begins to grow and scale, you may look at a plan B, where funding helps you grow faster and more efficiently.

When you make an investor pitch, you should follow these steps sequentially

1. Always show them your Plan A where you grow the business without any funding.

2. Follow up with the plan B that shows VC investment, accelerated growth and potential returns.

3. Highlight how the investors will miss out if they do not fund the venture.

4. Next, ask the investors how they will be able to add value to the venture and to your plan B.

Now we are talking business. Startup is adding value to the fund and you negotiate hard.

VC Investment for startups is always PLAN B and never PLAN A


What’s the difference between a Business and Startups????

There is a huge difference between starting up a business and setting up a startup. If you are becoming a travel agent or setting up a grocery store, you are only setting up a business. The business model is well defined and you may be using some of your skills to execute on any available business model in the market. The same business becomes a startup if you are employing any innovative methods in your product, platform or marketing or any other facets of the business. Instead of becoming a travel agent, if you create a travel portal like Priceline or Makemytrip thereby enabling consumers to book tickets online, it becomes a startup. Hence startup is not about starting a new business but about innovation solving an existing problem or creating a new ecosystem to solve an identified need.

A startup that does not innovate is simply not a startup. You may just call it a new business or a new entity.

This is an extract from my book – Sack the Startup

Thank you, Tech Mahindra

Thank you, Tech Mahindra
Over many years, I had failed to convince several incumbents about the importance of reading the offer letter and understanding its clauses. It is just a formality, they say.

I used to keep harping that the corporate jobs do not provide job security. Further they seldom provide job satisfaction. People never understood or believed it. During hiring it would be hard to convince the prospective employees that startups are a wonderful place to be in. Job security is a challenge but there is no job security anywhere.

If you believe in yourself, you do not need a corporate job to give you the identity. You build your own identity in startups and there are times your identity will be useful for the startups. Your pride and dignity will be in a far better place. Do not compromise on yourself because your neighbour has a corporate job. You will rather compete with yourself rather than with your neighbour. It is your life and do not let others drive it for you. It was hard and nearly impossible to communicate all this.

Thank you, Tech Mahindra. A two minute conversation of yours has communicated what I could not communicate in several years.

Cricket World Cup, England Vs South Africa, Semi Final 1992

Cricket World cup, semi final , 1992,  England vs South Africa,One of the greatest world  matches of the times that went right down to the wire.

SA needed 22 runs from 13 balls. Tough by 1992 standards but not impossible with Brian McMillan on strike. Then it rained and when it stopped, the giant scoreboard was flashing : –

South Africa needed 22 runs from 1 ball.

The entire cricketing fraternity across the world were stunned. It was an intriguing day of cricket where the climax was converted into a shocker that stunned the entire cricket world.

Looks like the “terms and conditions” were not properly read or understood either by the players or even by those making them.

What do you learn from this?

  • Do you read the terms and conditions of your employment contract?
  • Do you read the Terms and conditions of your housing loan agreement?
  • Do you read the terms on conditions of the insurance products your buy?

If you read do you understand them well yourself or do you rely on the “expertise of the seller” to explain the financial product to you. DO you realise that those who are explaining these to you, mostly have no clue about what they are selling but just interested in making the commissions?

Do you realize that one fine day you may just become a victim of the such obscure terms and conditions like what happened to South Africa?

Beware of Financial Advisors – Subscribe to Youtube channel – MoneyGurukul 

Do you now understand that the devil is in the detail?

Next time please read and understand very document you sign. If you do not understand seek professional advise. If needed, pay for professional advise. Everything that is free means there is a much bigger cost to you or someone else. Those who are selling have no clue as well and they are only interested in their commissions.

Practice saying I am sorry.

I am sorry, your one month notice period in the employment contract is not good enough, I need atleast a three-month severance.

I am sorry, I will not give you blank cheques to get a housing loan, it is immoral.

I am sorry, your life insurance policy excludes terrorist attacks, war, drug overdose etc. In case of death I am not even there to fight my case.


Say I am sorry and walk away………or you will be sorry one day.