Note: If any VC would like to respond to this, whether publically or anonymously, do get in touch with me at nikhil@medianama.com or +919810310053 (SMS)

Where Venture Capitalists Are Failing In India – Sujai Karampuri, CEO of Sloka Telecom

Much spleen vented at Venture Capitalists by Sujai Karampuri, CEO of Sloka Telecom at Headstart.in, being held in Bangalore: 

“Venture Capital refers to taking risks, fund ideas coming from people who don’t have their own money, but are first or second generation entrepreneurs…and funding ideas that can disrupt, make things better through innovation and technology. If you look at the most VC investments in the last 2 years, they are staying away from technology companies, and funding Me-Too companies, replicas of Ebay, Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, Travelocity, Monster. 

It appears to have something to do with a safety factor. What happens to a technology company company? The usual reaction is “You Must Be Bluffing”? We have the worlds smallest and cheapest telecom base station. We’ve done this through technology, and yet for the last four years, we remain unfunded by Indian VCs.

Excel sheets do not capture technology. They’re the safety net. In five minutes or 10 minutes, I cannot explain the whole spectrum of the wireless industry to a VC, and then tell where I have the advantage. Tech entrepreneurs and VCs are different – Entrepreneurs have a higher risk appetite; they cannot remove all the risk.  A company is limited by the vision of their leaders. What happens when you meet VCs who want you to do small things, be careful. 

Lack of consistency – one partner of the same VC says don’t do OEM, do your own brand, while other says don’t do your own brand, do your brand. Someone told me that VCs have this God syndrome. Sometimes entrepreneurs have walked into meetings, where we’ve had to share information based in US who are trying to fish ideas, just because the VC doesn’t know who my competitor is. When technology entrepreneurs are thinking of making it big, we look at Google, Nokia, SAP, Cisco…they would rather have 60% of a kirana store, rather than 1% of Google. What do Indian Investors want? Control and no dilution. 

An ex-entrepreneur doesn’t make the best investor:  ex-entrepreneurs can sympathise with entrepreneurs, but investment requires the vision, the understanding of the product. Ex-entrepreneurs joining the industry is a value add.

We’d like the Indian VCs to respond. I’ve have instances of no responses, and got to know from third parties that they have passed the investment.

P.s.: Many many thanks to the Headstart.in team for making WiFi and power available…allows us to liveblog the event.