How many times have you hated the monotony of your working life, the hard work you put into making money for others, and secretly wished you had your own business venture? If the answer is often, you have been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. Starting out on one's own was never easy, but today there are a number of funds and support networks that promise to make the ride smoother. If you have a good business idea, getting funds from investors or venture capitalists was never easier than it is at present. "We look for passion, energy and commitment in the entrepreneur. Academic qualifications, past experience and the ability to convince are also key criteria for funding," says Prashant Choksey, co-founder of Mumbai Angels, an angel investor fi rm which funds start-ups. Vineet Rai, co-founder of Aavishkaar, a venture fund which invests mainly in businesses that focus on education, health, clean energy, agriculture and fi nancial inclusion projects in rural areas, agrees. "Having a good idea is not enough," he says. "How much preparation you have put in, your confi dence, the scalability of your business: all these are equally important."
Investors look at feasibility and prospects of growth. They should be convinced about your unique selling proposition (USP). "Before funding an idea, we see if it can make money, is scalable and can give us an exit in a maximum of six years," says Choksey. All this leads up to the vital point investors who fund start-ups look at, which is returns. They help the business grow in its initial stages but also like to have an exit option.
26 | New Delhi
Venture: Rolocule Games, which produces interactive game software for iPhones and iPads
Founder: Rohit Gupta has a degree in software engineering from Pune Institute of Computer Technology. While working for Infosys, he got fascinated with graphics and gaming, but could not find any institute in India which offered courses in the latest gaming technology. Took a course in gaming at Columbia University, New York. Returned to India after a brief stint with Electronic Arts, the world's leading developer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment and games software START: In April 2009 with a capital of Rs 1 lakh provided by his father. He developed the squash video game, Touch Squash, for iPhone
Past experience: At Electronic Arts, he was in the team that worked on the game 'The Sims 3'
Funding: Won Rs 20 lakh in the contest, Power of Ideas at IIM, Ahmedabad. Has negotiated with various investors and obtained more funds
Break-even: Broke even within a few weeks of its launch
Investor link: Sends statements to investors on how the last quarter went and on plans for the next quarter
Advice to entrepreneurs: "Go and start on your own. See if the idea is feasible. If it works, many investors will come to invest in your firm"
40 | Mumbai
Venture: Culture Aangan Holidays, which offers home stays in Sindhudurg, Maharashtra. Plans to extend services to Rajasthan by May 2012
Founder: Rashmi Sawant, an Arts graduate with a diploma in travel and tourism
Start: In 2005, to aid rural development in Sindhudurg. Later developed into a full-fledged business
Past experience: Nil
Funding: Raised Rs 80 lakh through a fi ve-year optionally convertible debt to be paid off or converted into equity in 2010/11. Started with a capital of Rs 26 lakh
Break-even: Expected in 2013/14
Investor link: Has to keep investors updated on major events and send them quarterly reports
Advice to entrepreneurs: "Always go for mentoring. It is important to have a good mentor. It took me 10 steps ahead. We also focus more on marketing and public relations"
Courtesy: Money Today