Thursday, May 17, 2007

orkuts influence on india

A girl who worked in India's booming IT sector was found shot dead in a hotel close to her workplace. The cops used orkut to track down her romantic interest, apprehended him. Her orkut page is filled with sympathy messages, her other half's page is filled with hate scraps and interestingly the page of another schoolmate of hers who had flirted briefly with the other half is also filled with hate messages and allusion to her being an accomplice. This should say something about how big orkut is in India esp. for Gen Next.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Investing money and time

An interesting website that I visit has a lot of posts about Angel investing. The usual debates on angel investing Vs. investing in the stock market, providing value in addition to capital etc.

I've been on the periphery of the angel investment / venture capital world and am very closed involved with some of the larger angel investors and VC funds. These posts have made me take some time out to see what my own thoughts would be. Some questions that come to my mind:-
1. Can someone who is an operational executive i.e. with no understanding of the capital markets ever be a good angel investor?
2. Can you improve your odds by investing time in addition to capital? Or is this a very expensive high risk strategy as instead of spending this time here, you could probably spend it more productively figuring out better ways to deploy capital.
3. Should more time be spent on finding ways to deploy capital or post investment in nurturing the investment?
4. How long do you support an entrepreneur who fails to meet targets ? If he is putting in the effort but is unable to show results? How long do you continue to fund what could be his chasing a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow?
5. Considering how the investor coming in post you always ends up being able to bargain better is it worth it being an angel investor as you're bound to lose bottom side protection. This is because fresh capital is always able to dictate conditions.
6. Should you fund companies purely through capital or else through other means - unsecured debt, convertible bonds, real estate contributions - what would be the safest way to participate in early stage equity for a small scale investor (2-3mn USD at disposal) with a view to protect capital.
7. Is it even worth it doing all this angel investment stuff if you are a retired entrepreneur who now is not a Commercially Important Person as opposed to a senior executive in a privileged location who would probably have lesser to contribute in terms of capital but more in terms of relationships.
8. Who are good people to partner with while making these kind of investments?
9. What would be returns at which angel investing would be justified i.e. bank deposits - 10% bonds - 12%, mutual funds - 20% , equities - 25%, private equity - X% , venture capital - Y% , angel investing - Z%??
10. Can companies in India be encouraged to grow fast, acquire merge and scale as they seem to be doing in the western world? How would control be maintained?

Interesting questions. Any answers?

Friday, May 04, 2007

KANK: Why do I like this movie?

I just watched Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna again. And I liked it. again. For my non-Indian readers KANK as it is called was a much panned Bollywood film made by one of India's most successful Directors but which was heavily criticized for its depiction (justification??) of extra-marital affairs. I liked the movie the first time I saw it and I liked it again the second time. I feel its the coming of age of Karan Johar. He's taken a very mature topic and done justice to it without pandering to the box-office. The usual hindi movie is a story in black and white. You have the hero and the heroine (good guys) who meet each other, dont get along, then fall in love and have to battle a disapproving set of parents, fiances, assorted wierdos (bad guys). However, they do so by taking the moral high ground, never compromising on the traditional indian values and finally conquer all. Then ends the movie and all indian families go home contented and overdosed on butter and sugar - from the cokes.

I like KANK because it shows the world as it is - in grey. It tells it as it is. That we all have our moments of triumph and failure. Moments where we know we are doing the wrong things but we go ahead and do them because -- well we're selfish. Every character in KANK is shown with shades of grey. It's unclear who the hero (or heroine is) and its a story I personally understand. I don't think I would ever be in the situation the couples in the story fall into and I don't want to judge but I understand how they could have made the choices they made, how they would have justified it to themselves and how those demons within rear their head when you least expect them to. I like KANK because Karan does not trivialize such a serious topic by doing the obvious- making AB Jr. and Preity fall in love (Admit it all my indian readers, you were expecting him to do that.) That shows how conditioned we are to expect things as part of a bollywood movie. I like KANK because at its core it shows love for what it can be - irrational and irresponsible.

Whew!! there I have done it. Blogged after 2 months. Cheers,

If not debt, then equity?

Given that my last post discourages entrepreneurs from raising debt apart from a few specific cases namely:- 1. Very high ROCE low risk bus...