Five must haves of a successful online marketplace

By Sergio Monsalve, Norwest Venture Partners

I have spent more than 15 years of my career building, investing in, advising, and studying online marketplaces.  I am convinced marketplaces possess very unique and fascinating characteristics, which are often counter-intuitive and easily misunderstood.  By “marketplaces,” I am referring to a central exchange of goods or services whereby a large fragmented supply/seller base meets in one concentrated place to sell to a large and fragmented demand/buyer base. Continue reading →

The impact investing gold rush. Just yet?

By Pranay Gupta, 91 Springboard

It is amazing to note how often we hear about ‘social enterprises’ and ‘impact investments’ nowadays. There is, or at least there seems to be, a lot of buzz around money chasing impact startups. In fact, an article in a VCCircle article talks about how the money has gone from $4bn to $12bn in just recent times.

Is this like the technology gold rush of 2000 where regular companies just created their websites and became ‘tech companies’? Continue reading →

How to survive the twists and turns of raising startup capital

By Vinod Murali, SVB India Finance

Optimism levels are currently extremely high in India surrounding the general elections. There’s a clear undercurrent of expectation of a stable and decisive government which makes me wonder about the scenario of a hung parliament with no clear direction.

While that is one of the possible outcomes, in most recent conversations, the positive expectations are discussed with passionate detail. The downside is shrugged off with a sense of inevitability and disdain. It makes me wonder whether as a culture, we prefer to focus on hope and expect that other problems will sort themselves out in due course. Continue reading →

Venture capital’s summit push

By Alok Mittal, Canaan Partners

It is now my eighth year in succession of claiming a great year for venture capital. I have been in the business for all of eight years. But then, I am also an amateur marathoner and a climber. And in all of these three trades, it takes years of perseverance to scale the summit. As I look back on 2013, I am more convinced than ever of the decisiveness of this moment. Continue reading →

Does India need a TripAdvisor for healthcare?

By Gauri Kamath, Apothecurry

Early last year, when I finally threw in the towel at my workplace, quite a few well-meaning (and possibly alarmed) persons in my circle of family, friends and professional contacts began thinking of ways to keep me gainfully employed. One such person was my other half. My husband is one of those creative geniuses who always has more ideas than either resources or people to execute them.  Still, that does not dissuade him from ‘ideating’ for all and sundry. One day, he looked at me vegetating on the sofa — quite happily, I might add — and snapped his fingers. “I know what you should do,” he said quite decisively. “Start a TripAdvisor for healthcare!” Continue reading →

Missing links in business plans

By Alok Mittal and Mukul Singhal, Canaan Partners

Wiki defines a business plan as a “formal statement of a set of business goals, the reasons why they are believed attainable, and the plan for reaching those goals.” Two phrases in this crisp definition become important to us – why goals are attainable and the plan for reaching them. We have discussed two basic factors below which help in answering the above questions and and guide discussions in an investment decision. We have often seen gaps in these two areas while interacting with startup teams. Continue reading →

Why Asian wireless operators score lower on innovation

By SR Raja, Mobile Monday Bangalore

The prevailing differences between wireless service operators and mobile value-added services companies on issues of scale and revenue share have become a key impediment to innovation among operators. As a result, south Asian operators rank lower on the innovation scale compared to peers in Western and East Asian markets. Continue reading →