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December 05, 2012

Know the level (of thy company) before you "let go"

And other vignettes from TiECon Chennai-2012

"I'm going to just stay still like you," said the rabbit to the owl on the tree branch above. And proceeded to stay still. Just then, a fox happened to pass by and got to enjoy a nice (effortless) dinner.- Satguru Jaggi Vasudev to emphasize that entrepreneurs can afford to delegate depending on the level at which their company is. (If the company is operating at a vulnerable level - like the rabbit - then they better be "running around" focusing on even the smallest details. But if the startup has taken off, they can afford to perch themselves and run their companies with an owl's eye view.)

Keep your eyes on the immediate next milestone (say, Series A funding) and focus on what you need to get there. Everything else is a distraction.
- K. Ganesh, Founder of TutorVista & CustomerAsset

You have one life to live. And it is too short to worry about building a legacy and be wedded to one company forever. Entrepreneurship is a series of sprints. Create some thing of value; wealth for yourself and other stakeholders and move on to the next thing you are excited about.  - Meena Ganesh, CEO of Edurite Technologies & Co-founder of CustomerAsset

While there can be a few exceptions, large institutions can only be created with a long-term focus. Entrepreneurship is a marathon.
- Murugavel J, Founder, Bharatmatrimony.com

Most entrepreneurs talk about their product; what really matters more is the market and distribution.
- Paul Singh, Partner, 500Startups who also gave out some useful numbers for entrepreneurs: As a rough rule, it's ok to dilute a 15% stake for raising capital that will sustain for about one year. With that money, you should aim to raise the next round of funding at 3 times the previous valuation.

We have learnt what it takes to get our (seed funded) companies to attract the attention of Indian VCs (for providing the first round or "Series A" funding): Rs.2-5 crore revenue run rate + cash breakeven (so you are not desperate for the funding) + very good traction on a key parameter. Focus 
- Karthik Reddy, Managing Partner, Blume Ventures

The money is very much there - whether from accelerators, angels, seed funds or VCs. Our challenge is that we do no find enough entrepreneurs who think big enough and want to change the world.
- Rajesh Sawhney, Founder, GSF Superangels who also pointed out that it's a bad idea for founders to dilute a total of more than 30% stake to early investors like friends & family, accelerators and angels.

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