I quit my well paying corporate job and joined Anthill, an investment fund that primarily invests in growth stage startups. Actually Anthill is more than a fund – it is a Speed Scaling platform that helps growth stage startups #ScaleWithSpeed. OK, enough of the marketing spiel about Anthill (those salivating to know more can go to anthillventures.com).
It’s been 3 months since I joined Anthill (coincidentally Anthill is celebrating its 2nd birthday) and I thought I’d share my experiences in the startup world. Like I am sure you would have thought of becoming an entrepreneur, as does almost everyone these days, I too have from time to time thought of “doing something of my own”. I have had that entrepreneurial experience many years ago, but that is a topic of another article.
So here are my initial impressions and observations. I try not to pass judgments these days (as advised by my better half) and so will refrain from doing so. The readers are free to draw their own conclusions. These are merely my observations, and of course I do draw my own conclusions, which shape my journey in this new world.
1. Collaboration is big. Leverage the ecosystem; collaborate with multiple players; create partnerships. Not that the corporate world doesn’t collaborate or talk about it, just that the startup world is on a collaboration overdrive. And rightfully so, given you don’t have the time or the resources to do everything on your own.
2. Advisors and Mentors by the truckload. The minimum qualification to be a mentor or an advisor seems to be if someone has had some entrepreneurial experience or is loaded with money (or appear to be loaded). From a 23 year old 1 startup entrepreneur to a 55 year old corporate executive, you get the full menu of advisors and mentors to choose from.
3. Recycled Research churned out by a plethora of research outfits, analysts, investment companies, and anyone with a LinkedIn account. The danger of missing out an important insight makes you want to read all of it, only to realize what a waste of time it sometimes is. I have acquired, to a fair extent, a power reading technique to navigate this deluge.
4. New Vocabulary. Angel, Seed, VC, Pivot, MVP, Series A/B/C, Burn/Churn rate, CAC, B2B2C, Incubator, Accelerator, Bootstrapped, Exit, Unicorns, Hack, Pitch, and the list goes on and on.
5. “50 of the same” me too startups in a number of areas, some of which are payment wallets, p2p lending, food delivery, home cleaning and concierge, all kinds of social commerce startups selling just about anything on a website and an app of course. Do we need so many clones? Where is the innovation? They all claim their offering is different though – just like the Bollywood movie makers who claim their movie is “different”.
6. And finally, it’s Social Media Overload. Like, Comment, Tag, Share are sometimes the only exercise one gets during the day. Of course I do it too!
There you have it folks. Don’t get me wrong – I love this world and am enjoying every minute of it. I finally get to work day hours, I don’t have to deal with corporate BS, I am learning a lot of new stuff everyday, I am working with some very smart people, and most importantly I am having a lot of fun!!
Until the next time, keep innovating…