5 Reasons Why Startups Raising A Smaller First Round Is Good For The Ecosystem

Based on reviewing the business plans of thousands of startups, it is clear to me that a number of startups that struggle for months to close $446.2K (INR 3 Cr) – $892.4K (INR 6 Cr) angel/seed round could actually do with $74.3K (INR 50 Lakhs) –$149K (INR 1 Cr) to take their venture to the next level. And they can close the rounds much faster and get on with their business, rather than struggling for months to close a larger round (as many often do).

One of the reasons why the percentage of startups that get investors to actually write a cheque is so low is because they are not quite ready for the funding that they are seeking.


For investors to be comfortable investing upwards of $446.2K as a first cheque in a startup would need the startup to have some amount of organisational maturity and some early-evidence that the concept, market opportunity, value proposition, pricing, business model, marketing programme, sales programme, product/service delivery, etc. are tested and that the results appear to be encouraging.

However, most startups tend to seek this larger investment even when they are not yet fully ready with the evidence. Such startups will find it much easier and much faster to close a $74.3K (INR 50 Lakhs) round, which in most cases will be adequate to build a foundation that will allow them to raise a much larger next round.

Why Do Most Startups Seek Larger Round For First Round Investing

Perhaps because that’s the perceived ‘sweet spot’ of investors for seed/angel rounds.

Continue reading →

Some Misconceptions Running About The Funding Crunch, The Slow Down

Over the past couple of quarters, the news around the startup ecosystem has been mixed. While there are a few positives, there was a lot of news around things not going right. While some of the underlying facts may be accurate, but the interpretation of what that signals is often misguided or misinformed. Or perhaps those are one perspective on what’s happening in the startup world.


In this article, I attempt to present an alternate perspective.

Misconception 1: Investors Invest Only In Consumer Internet Startups – Food Tech, Fin Tech, E-commerce And Delivery

We need to correct our definition of what ‘kind’ of startups different businesses are. Why do we call Flipkart and SnapDeal a technology business? They are formidable retail businesses with very, very strong competencies on supply-chain, warehousing, inventory management and logistics – key building blocks for any large retail business. Yes, they leverage technology significantly.

Continue reading →

Points to remember when raising funds for your startup…

One of the toughest challenges that startups face is to raise capital at the beginning of their entrepreneurial journey.


  • Raising your first round of funding is probably going to be the toughest part of starting up…itcertainly is for most startups
  • Break your fund requirements by risk stages as different classes of investors participate in different risk stages of a venture

Angel investors

  • Participate at starting up stage – they invest at a ‘concept risk’ stage i.e. when niether the concept is proven nor the capabilities of the team to execute that concept
  • Investment amount is small – enough to sustain operations till the venture becomes ready for institutional capital
  • Usually take a bet on the entrepreneur – hence the quality of the founding team is critical

Venture Capitalists – VCs

  • VCs typically invest when the concept and business model is proven
  • Funding is usually for growing the business and scaling-up

Hence, in round 1, keep your funding requirements to minimum, enough to prove the concept. In round 2, keep your capital requirements to sufficient, enough to expand to a scalable model. And in round 3, raise capital to fund the growth and for scaling up.

  • Angel investors can help reduce your funding requirements significantly if they assist you with things like customer introductions, partnerships, infrastructure support etc. Often an investor who takes up an active advisory role can fill in a competency gap in the team.
  • Budget at least 3-months for a funding round to close IF YOUR CONCEPT HAS A STRONG BUSINESS CASE AND YOU HAVE A STRONG TEAM
  • Raising too little capital or raising too much capital, both are avoidable – raising too little can keep you strapped for funds while raising much more than required will dilute you more. Also, attempting to raise more than required may make it difficult to get the funding!

Image Courtesy.

What do investors look for in business plans from startups?

Investors are interested in investing in ventures by strong teams that address a large market opportunity, and one in which they believe their investments can multiply in value.

 Investors will be interested because you have a plan to address an opportunity well, and not just because you have identified an opportunity that is interesting. That’s why while having a good idea is certainly a good starting point, but it is not enough for investors to invest.


Most entrepreneurs make the mistake of detailing out their product or service or concept. What most investors are looking for is your plan for building a strong, profitable, scalable, defensible business around that product or concept.

The success of an entrepreneurial venture depends entirely on the quality of execution. Many companies fail to implement their ideas well. Hence what investors seek in the plans they review is evidence that this team will be able to execute well on a concept that appears to address a potentially large market.



A business plan is a ‘Plan for your Business’. It is not a document that you make for the investors. It is a document that you should prepare for yourself. Writing down your business plan helps you think through the assumptions clearly, and often writing helps you identify impracticalities in the thought process.

Yes, for investor presentations too, a business plan is necessary.

Broadly speaking, a business plan should communicate the following to an investor: Continue reading →

What are the top questions young entrepreneurs should be asking themselves?

A lot of youngsters in India are hopeful of riding this wave of entrepreneurship that is sweeping across the ‘new’ India.


Here are a few questions that I believe every young entrepreneur must ask herself/ himself:

From a business point:

  • What are we doing (concept) and why is this important (what need or opportunity does it address)
  • Who will use this
  • Who will pay for this, to whom and how much and how often? (Customer segment and business model)
  • How am I going to do all this (the operating plan)

From a personal point:

  • Why am I doing this (motivation – to make money, to change the world, to do ….)
  • Are the people I am doing this with (my co-founders) the ones that I feel really, emotionally close to (if not, won’t last)
  • At what milestones will I say “I am successful”
  • What will be the parameters for me to give up and move on
  • How much time can I pursue this without a salary
  • What alternate opportunities am I giving up to do this… and why am I happy doing that


Making wedding planning hassle-free for families

Here’s how WeddingPlz – Wedding vendor discovery platform is disrupting the wedding market in India.  


Delhi based startup WeddingPlz is changing the way people find and hire wedding vendors. They have created a beautiful website with comprehensive and verified information of vendors, including 360o views of venues, to help families take quick decisions, and also connect with them online. Continue reading →

Facebook like UI for enterprise grade collaboration platform

Facebook like UI for enterprise grade collaboration platform-  www.uknowva.com

Here’s how uKnowva is giving SMEs the power of large enterprise grade collaboration tools

Small businesses need collaboration tools but find solutions like SharePoint too difficult to customize and implement, and solutions like Yammer too complex.

To address this opportunity, Convergence Technologies, a Mumbai-based startup has launched uKnowva, a SaaS-based, simple collaboration tool for growing businesses. Since uKnowva is super simple to deploy, and with a great UI, companies can start using it instantly and without a steep learning curve.

It has all the features that are relevant for growing companies, without the features that are not relevant – Social Intranet, Knowledge Management, Discussion Forums, Document Management, Sharable Calendars, Instant Messaging/Chat, Polls, etc.

uKnowva has a Facebook like UI and an Extension Store that allows teams to add over 50 features like ticket management, lead management, project management, etc.



uKnowva is free for up to 10 users, and thereafter companies can buy additional licenses for just USD 1 per user per month.

Enterprise clients can also choose the on-premise option for just USD 10 per license.

Here’s how you can support uKnowva

  1. If you are a early or early-growth stage company, do try uKnowva for your organization. Click here https://uknowva.com/start-free
  2. If you are in investor, visit uKnowva profile on applyifi.com, or write to prajakt.raut@applyifi.com to get their pitch deck

uknowva is an Applyifi portfolio company, with a score of 92 of 114..


To know more and get a scorecard on your venture’s investment-worthiness, register on www.applyifi.com