Geography becoming history for start-ups
Ask early stage investor Sasha Mirchandani how promising entrepreneurs in small towns of India are, and the answer lies in the excitement in his voice. Part of the jury that judged a recent contest for student start-ups, which saw almost half of the entries come from small towns, Mirchandani has visited umpteen campuses across the country. And, he is pleasantly surprised with what he has seen. “The quality of start-ups has improved dramatically since I have been observing them over the years. The teams are far more savvy, their plans far more precise and concise, and business models much better.”
But is it still a disadvantage to be in little India? “To some extent it is important where you are, but more important is the entrepreneur’s ability to sell his plan to a venture capitalist, which can be done from anywhere,” says Mirchandani.
He also dismisses concerns if VC funds, angel investors and seed funds are reaching out to small town entrepreneurs. “The savvier and smarter VC firms are looking at deals beyond metros because those deals will be less competitive, but still high on quality,” says Mirchandani, adding that funds such as Kae Capital do small-ticket investing ranging from $50,000 to $2.5 million.
While funds are gung-ho about start-ups, industry experts believe a lot more needs to be done to create a good ecosystem in the country. Commodore Anand Khandekar (retd), former
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