Archive for October, 2007

25
Oct
07

VCs need new models of investments

Venturewoods has a great article on miniaturization of VC investment. It talks about how its time that VCs adopt a different model, now that the startup landscape is changing rapidly. The biggest change being the number of startups coming up. With low entry barriers, to do a web  startup all you need is an idea, 2-3 more guys ready to go without salaries for six months. Thats not a lot. Once choosing to do a startup was a life changing decision, today its quickly becoming a career alternative. Low entry barriers also mean, a lot of startups will come from students, just graduates, etc.

VCs in India have a lot of adaptation to do. It is an open secret that startups which get funded have been referred to a VC partner either from a previous founder they had invested in or friends from close circles. This rules out most students, first time entrepreneurs and people with little experience dealing with startups. A few years back this was the state in the US too, but with the VC community being very active in interacting with the programmers/hackers and students community, its still simpler to at least approach a VC firm. Another important change is in the amount of investment. VCs barely look at startups requiring less than $1mn, even in India. Thats a lot of money here and with startup barriers going down, the figure of $1mn needs to be lowered to a figure of around $300k at least.

A major reason why VCs do not do deals of lower investment value is because the returns are ‘low’ on such deals. The absolute value of an investment being a success needs to be lowered as well. Today an exit to be termed a success needs to bring home at least $20mn. Ycombinator invests amount which are smaller than microfunds. They typically invest $20k and take 5% in equity. Thats a lot of equity, but its a comfortable amount for startup founders still in college. They fund startups no VC would touch, primarily because they need such low investments.

Venturewoods has another article on why VCs wouldn’t want to adapt to investing small and spreading themselves across more startups. The author blames it on their lifestyles, which depend less on their investing success and more on the number of partners in a VC firm. That’s the most interesting theory I’ve read about VCs!

A few weeks back I had read Paul Graham on Web startups becoming commodities and how there will be lots more of them to fund. I now understand it from a VCs perspective. It means lots more work for them in making of deals, while the total amount of investment they might do still remains the same.

20
Oct
07

Speaking at the FORTUNE Global Forum, representing 18-21yr olds of India

I’ve been invited as a panelist for a discussion on youth at the FORTUNE Global Forum. Here’s a intro to the conference.

FORTUNE Global Forum brings top CEOs together with heads of state and leading thinkers to exchange views on the most pressing issues global businesses face. The FORTUNE Global Forum at New Delhi will go beyond the meeting room to provide a better understanding of the economic, political, social, and cultural dimensions of a country that is both intriguing and contradictory.

To ensure the highest level of discussion, participation is by invitation only and limited to the chairmen, CEOs, and presidents of major multinational corporations.Top-caliber guests, global representation, a strategically focused program led by FORTUNE editors, a variety of interactive formats, and the intimate scale are what make the FORTUNE Global Forum the premier summit for the world’s leading chief executives.

A few speakers confirmed for the forum are:
1. L N Mittal of Mittal Steel
2. Azim Premji of Wipro
3. Nandan Nilekani of Infosys
4. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw of Biocon
5. Shashi Tharoor Former Under Secretary General for Communications and Public Information, United Nations
6. Michael Dell of Dell Computers
7. John Chambers of Cisco
8. Montek Singh Ahluwalia Deputy-Chairman, Indian Planning Commission
9. Kishore Biyani, MD of Pantaloon retail
10. Malvinder Mohan Singh, CEO of Ranbaxy Laboratories

11. Vivek Paul, MD of Texas Pacific

I’ll be attending the Roundtable titled INDIA IN FOCUS: SNAPSHOTS OF AN EVOLVING CULTURE. I’m a part of the panel discussion which aims to understand the current young generation’s aspirations, dreams and attitudes. It will be moderated by Barkha Dutt. The description of the panel discussion is ” The conclusion presents a rare opportunity for national and global business executives to hear first-hand from the latest generation—18-21 year olds—representing the demographic majority in India. How ready are you to deal with this new generation as consumers? Joining your workforce? What are their aspirations and dreams and how are they different from children raised in the pre-liberalization era?”

There are very few conferences which talk about business and also give youngsters a chance to speak. Its awesome that Fortune is doing this. It is such a welcome change! It excites me to think I will be representing my generation on a platform as huge as this. I’m making a (long)list of things I want to talk about.

I would really like to know what you think I should talk about. Please add comments or mail me at nayak.abhishek@gmail.com or call me at 09983526558. Articles to read are welcome too.

To torture a cliche, Your voice matters!

ps: If you are in Pilani, try this link for the FORTUNE Conferences.

20
Oct
07

Exciting things that happened last week.

This week has been the best one of the week. Oasis ensured a week of fun and frolic. The live bands in Rocktaves and Lucky Ali made the nights fun. The days were spent on quizzes and dances. Also my oldest friend from childhood(we’ve known each other and studied together for 17years!) was here and we had good fun together.

Also I broke out of my jinx for coming second in everything. A little history of the jinx. In the past semester I came second in some seven-eight competitions(ranging from a quiz to a paper presentation to a bplan competition). It pretty much drove me nuts and I remember trying to screw up in a quiz and come third for a change, didn’t happen. But this Oasis, I came third in a quiz! And the next day came first in the biggest quiz of the fest- OQ(oasis quiz). The quiz was great fun and was totally my style. So the three of us owned the stage and beat everybody I had always wanted to.

But the most important event of the week happened right after OQ. I returned to my room to dump the freebies and checked my mail. I had got a mail from Rashmi Bansal of JAM, who informed I had been selected as a panel member for a discussion in one of the FORTUNE CEO conferences!

A few days back I had sent a mail to Rashmi after reading this post. The post said, it was an international conference, but omg a FORTUNE conference! Nothing this exciting has happened to me ever and doubt it will, for a few more years.

A description  follows in the next post.

15
Oct
07

five guys and a few birds.

About two weeks before, me and a few friends made a weekend trip to a nearby sanctuary called Tal Chappar. The place was just awesome, but the road journey was horribly long because we took a few wrong buses to wrong places 😛 . None of us had ever gone to that place before, so we basically depended on localites to guide us in reaching the place. And how dearly we paid for it. We added 4 hours of extra travel.

The sanctuary is famous for birds of prey, black bucks, chinkaras, migratory storks, russel’s viper and spiny tail lizards. We saw a lot of birds, luckily one of friends was a bird enthusiast and I learned to differentiate between eagles, falcons and vultures and sparrows and larks etc.

Here are a few pictures we took there. I really can’t identify half of the birds. If you can, please comment.

A migratory Stork

A migratory stork

A (very rare) falcon.

A (very rare)falcon

Nilgai

Nilgai

Some Lark

A lark

Chinkaras and black bucks

Black bucks and chinkaras

Another Lark(?)

Lark(?)

Demoiselle cranes(migratory)

Demoiselle cranes. Migratory birds.

A wasp

Mugshot of a wasp

Black buck ahead

Magnificent Black Buck

Male Black bucks fight for sexual favors from females. We saw nearly a dozen fights.

Black bucks fighting it out for sexual favors from females.

A falcon, I think

Is either a falcon or a vulture.

The plain of Taal Chappar

The plain.

Just inside the sanctuary.

About 5 hours later. We were dehydrated and could barely walk.

Tired after the day's travel under a hot sun.

On the way to the place, we took the bus ride on top of a bus. And then it rained…

View from the top

Thats all folks. This is the website of Tal Chappar sanctuary.

These photos were hosted on Zooomr.com, which BTW rocks.See more of my pictures here. I blogged about Zooomr a few months ago.

13
Oct
07

PC the new idiot box?

As I type, the guy in the room directly behind mine with whom I share a ventilator, is skirmishing with terrorists in Counter Strike. His headphones stopped functioning a week ago and now the ventilator ensures that I don’t miss a single second of action.

I’m guessing he plays Counter Strike for about 2-3 hours daily. And then in the same day, 2-3 hours of watching 24 or HIMYM or Heroes. Then at least one movie. Then you can’t forget the time spent on music. Thats a lot of time to spend on the PC doing what the PC was originally not made for. And he’s not alone, lots of people have a similar time-table, though my backie is well-known for his busy schedule.

Gaming is a decent way to spend time once in a while, stress relieving effects of gunning people down are undeniable. But its a scourge when you spend nearly every waking hour doing so. Its quite sad actually, you interact with your buddies more frequently in the virtual world than you do offline. Sports rivalries are being replaced by clan rivalries.

TV is back with a vengeance, this time on your PC. TV series get distributed on the lan in seasons. So half a dozen episodes get watched in a row. No advertisements and no waiting for a week to know what happens next. Internet TV and video sharing sites only add to the problem. People with no life offline get pretty much hooked checking out videos.

Then there are instant messengers which further make it easier to be alienated out of real life. Not to forget ‘news sites’ like Digg or Reddit. Majority of their top links are always a funny picture or a funny video. People obviously like funnier stuff more than actual news relevant to the world. You could spend hours surfing and reading all the crap that gets top rated.

The difference between couch potatoes and PC users is that , PC guys get their fingers exercised more ;). But other than that, they pretty much kill you brain cells the same way.

Wife of Second Life

12
Oct
07

So, last week…

There was a time when I blogged daily. Rather I had to blog daily (because my site title said I would do so). Thank god those days are over. With this blog, its been a slow lazy pace and I haven’t said anything for the past 8days. Here’s what I was up to.

The past two weeks have been horrifying. Tests+Test results.

I’ve also spent more time than ever before on movies and TV series in the past two weeks. Exams truly bring out the worst in me. I’ve done few things that a normal me wouldn’t have done.

  • Watched Sivaji- The boss. Nobody can beat Rajnikanth and his awesome wigs. he is the ultimate Indian hero! I now flick centerfresh into my mouth, Rajni style. Amazing movie. Felt great to watch a movie in Telugu after nearly six months.
  • Watched a dozen Eminem videos, a dozen times. I hate hip-hop. But really nobody swears better than Eminem. helped a lot while writing the tests.
  • Watched the whole Star Wars series, in the order of release. The most amazing experience of the past week. This was the first time I watched the episodes 4,5 & 6. I never wanted to see them, because 1,2&3 sucked. I was so wrong. The episodes 1,2&3 are the worst. Shitty acting and too many random characters doing random things. And Anakin sleep walks. But 4,5&6 are too good. ‘The empire strikes back’ is my favorite.
  • Watched 10 episodes of The OC season 1. This is unbelievable. I hate teen-dramas, chick flicks. But I managed to watch 10 whole episodes and liked it! I stopped my path to self-destruction by watching the season 4 finale. It confirmed, what I suspected, the story line doesn’t progress beyond puppy love, extra-marital affairs, boats and parties.
  • Ate breakfast nearly everyday. Mostly because my parents called at 8am daily 😦 .
  • Played Quake 3. Gaming kills brain cells. But heck one evening I was so bugged and frustrated, that I could kill. And killing is what I did.

I feel so relived, the week is over and Oasis starts in 3 days. With few of my closest friends coming over for Oasis, its just time to chillax.

My wallpaper for the past few days has been this pic I had found few months ago. I can’t remember from whom though.

Colors and shapes

04
Oct
07

Introducing a new word into English Language. Phuck.

Its time f@&k lost the taboo associated with it in respectable society. Introducing Phuck. Its f@&k that rocks and can be used where ever f@&k is banned.

Phuck: defined as f@&k minus the profanity/obscenity/vulgarity. Can be replaced wherever fuck is commonly used, except in cases where sexual intercourse is implied.

 

 




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