How I raised funding at a valuation of 1 crore Rs. at 0 revenues in 2011.

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I have been into the internet space ever since the time I’ve been an entrepreneur, since my early college days. It all started up with doing various internships in the Digital Media niche, right from startups to working with Super Teams like that of Vineet Nayar, CEO of HCL. I wanted to get some quick first-hand experience of how the things work up professionally. Well the aim at that point of time was never to be an entrepreneur but to get a better job when I graduate out of college and be ahead of my batchmates and the rat race in general, where millions of engineering students in India look for jobs without knowing what they would do and why they would do that. I had a passion for Internet and how Digital Media is affecting businesses and I wanted to convert it into a full time profession.

Year 2008-10, I had done with all my internships at 4 places. Had a huge influence of the startup culture around me, wanted to do something on my own, but I had no idea or a vision to do something extra ordinary to change the world. So, I started up with a Web Development company, where I would develop websites and Apps or do SEO , Social media marketing for startups and mid size clients. Revenues started popping in and I was making 20 to 60k INR a month.

 

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(Me-In the Center Orange Tshirt, With Mr.Aseem Chauhan, Head of the Amity Group while closing the funding ceremony)

Fast forward to 2015, Year 2010 to 2015 has been a roller coaster ride for me, I have been impatient at times and my investors have been the real guiding light to guide me on the right direction, they have always been committed to my success as an entrepreneur in whatever I do. As soon as I graduated in 2012, I started up thinking about a scalable business and Aduncle affiliate network was born, we have 3 divisions at our Noida office, where there is a network team, an internal delivery team that does media buying and a team that researches round the clock about new businesses and potential options, while all the Tech part of business happens at our Ludhiana partner office.

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(Addressing the Dream Team, that includes employees as well as the Investor’s Team at the Company’s Annual Success Party ) 

Investment didn’t come for me in a single power point/excel sheet business plan presentation,it took a couple of months, every time I used to pitch I used to get a healthy and meaningful feedback to make the business more worthy, and I still remember my FUNDING DAY, there was a board sitting to hear me, and the idea clicked into their mind, before they announced me their final decision, I could sense that it would happen today. And yes, it did.

 

I have been able to see scale right from having 1 employee to having 3 offices with 30+ employees working from different locations and doing a few hundred thousand dollars ( over 1 crore India rupees ) of revenue in India with huge profits. But that’s not it, it doesn’t even seems the start to what we think and assumes to do, the company doesn’t work for money, it works for a vision. The core team has been there since the beginning and the environment is more of as a family rather than a professional workplace.

I have a lot more to write but I would straight come to the Top 10 things to take care of while dealing with an investor:

 

  • An investor always looks more for the passion in you rather than the product on which he is investing(This does not mean that the product or services don’t matter), My investors were more focused and impressed on me and happy to see me working as an individual with a fire burning in my belly and able to conclude that I had a right mindset and I would very soon be a good entrepreneur.
  • Investors love to see the Mathematics that you put in your presentations and spreadsheets and how to connect your vision with it.
  • Probably the spreadsheets and revenue projections that you put up, may not be even 50% correct 2 years down the line when you are actually running a business, but the investors are always keen to find out what is your strategy to prove them and what kind of execution mindset that you have.
  • Investors love feedbacks and testimonials from first few “real” customers
  • They may even connect personally with the first few customers to whom you have sold your beta product and take some initial feedbacks before writing you the first cheque of investments.
  • Investors love to see how hungry you are for success
  • Success doesn’t comes easy, unless you are super lucky and your potential investors know that, they are checking up on your hard work, dedication, and perseverance.
  • Investors check your leadership skills and the ability to respond

It’s a lot more about execution rather than just the idea.

Though you may be able to convince your investors after a series of meetings but mind you ..the best investments that ever happened in the startup arena, most investors judge it in their very first meeting with the entrepreneur. After all its their risk money and that depends on their gut feeling about you and your team, that comes naturally after the first few minutes of the first meeting they have with you.

  • Keep your first Investors up to their expectations and they would help to get you more investors and more money if needed.

It is never about closing just one round of investment, that’s just the starting. If the coordination between you and your investor goes on well, he may put more money into your business or even get another investor on board for you.

  • The market is more of growth oriented rather than immediate profits nowadays, and your investors bet on the growth and scale possible rather than profits

Of course, the investors worry about how fast can they multiply their money, but these days it is not calculated in terms of immediate profits but on Month on Month growth figures and numbers. Look at companies like Flipkart,etc. they are still hugely in losses but the game is going on just the increasing market size.

  • Not all the people who look, investors, are actually the one{I myself had dealt with a couple of them in my career}.

The market is full of all types of people, you better need to know what kind of people you need to stay away from. Mind it, if you can bootstrap, nothing better than that.I was luck to get invested by Amity Innovation Incubator , the Incubator Guys handholded me in every sphere, and took me to success, so if it’s an incubator, Nothing better than that 🙂

 

 

 

Siddhant

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