Here are some of the best parts that I recall from Bootstrapping Startups with Shridhar Shukla, Tarun Malaviya, and Anand Soman at the Pune OpenCoffee Club. Between them, the panelists have over 8 startup avataars which were bootstrapped and VC-funded.
I have had to paraphrase some of the quotes – at the same time, trying to preserve the essence of what was discussed.
Abstracting Product risk as you bootstrap.
We have always built our products with our first customers.
– Anand Soman.
Product Timeline – on reaching milestones in IP development, Sales and Growth.
Bootstrapping is to…
Survive as long as it takes to get past that first milestone. Avoid putting financial pressure on your personal savings.
– Shridhar Shukla.
Products and Services – using Services aligned to your Product to Bootstrap your company
One way to look at a Product is an encapsulation of Services… what if you were to invert that?
– Tarun Malaviya.
On VC’s versus Bootstrapping. It is unfortunate that the discussion descended in to a VC-funded versus bootstrapping.
By itself, bootstrapping is a complex topic. First-time entrepreneurs need to understand bootstrapping better in order to create financial security and therefore be in control of their companies. This is where input from the panelists should have been directed.
As the audience and panelists pointed out, there are always businesses that are ideal for VC funding and then there are those businesses that have no other way out but to be bootstrapped. Later, Vikas Kumar, Brainvisa, wrote an excellent post on the emotional quotient required to understand when VC-funding makes sense.
Several VC’s from leading Valley-based funds have gone on record to state that their primary motivation to set up base in India is financial engineering and not seeding innovation. Tarun also asserted during the panel discussion that less than 1 out of 10 companies will receive seed or venture funding. With that in mind, I feel that bootstrapping is a crucial skill for all entrepreneurs targeting India as a market.