What Next After Funding?

Dr. Apoorva Sharma

Dr. Apoorva Sharma

A start-up in its early days almost always has to deal with a paucity of funds. So, what is it like when a start-up founder succeeds at raising his first round of funding? Money as we know can do strange things to people. Does the money in the bank make him adventurous? Go on a spending spree? Or play it by book? What is it like when a founder succeeds at raising funds? What are the areas he has to be careful about? Dr. Apoorva Sharma, founder of Venture Catalysts, and Vaibhav Domkundwar, CEO & founder of Better Capital, share their views from the investor point of view.

Points to remember:

  • Switch from pitching to execution – have a plan on how you will achieve the numbers you have stated you will
  • Money often brings in conflict among co-founders. Make sure you avoid it
  • Ensure that you make progress on all fronts. And not get pulled in just one direction
Vaibhav Domkundwar

Vaibhav Domkundwar

According to  Dr. Apoorva Sharma, “Money is very important but the real action begins after a startup gets funded. Because that is when they have to deliver the results. It is important for them to have a plan for what they will achieve in the next 6 or 9 months. They should, in fact, take constant feedback from their investors and mentors. I would recommend starting a WhatsApp group where they regularly post their work.”

A view that even Vaibhav holds. Says he, “It is important to keep perspective. After spending a significant amount of time on raising funds, founders have to suddenly switch from pitching to execution, and that usually is the hard part. Everything takes more time than expected, and hiring and sales generally are the biggest culprits. One should not lose focus of the plan.”

Keeping the relationship between co-founders stable is equally important according to Dr. Apoorva. Says he, “Often I have seen that once the money comes in there is conflict amongst the co-founders. This should be avoided as it can harm the company. Set out roles and deliverables at the outset so there will be no conflict.”

“Another thing I have noticed is that founders start obsessing about competition. It is important to know what’s going on in the market but there is no need to put all your energies there. What’s more important is how you will achieve the numbers you have stated you will.”

Soon the money you have raised will be over; in about 18 months’ time, you will have to get into the pitch mode again. Says Vaibhav, “I would recommend that all founders think of what their next round of 10 slides deck will look like. Convert this into 30 slides and you will have an execution plan. This way you can ensure that you make progress on all fronts. And not get pulled in just one direction.”

 Contact us if you have a story to tell: rashmi.ghosh@tiepune.org

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