For some of you who dont know, we just raised a round of venture capital for Webchutney. our investors are capital18, a part of the network18 group (artists formerly known as TV18). anyway, the operating word is "raised money" "not sold" or whats often termed as "exit".
After a long time, my phone is suddenly buzzing so much so that i am charging it almost continously. Some calling / smsing to congratulate, some ofcourse quizzing me about - - "idiot, you should have exited. The time is hot. thats what independent agencies are doing, you can do better things than an agency"
So now, it suddenly stuck me, its time for some global gyan. the story from my side to do this. basically, 8 years is a long time (for me, i have almost spent 1/3rd of my life building this company), i have read about "sexy" serial entreprenuers getting exits in 2-3 years. We had an angel investor, who was a successful entreprenuer , who asked me before he put some money in webchutney very early on - "whats your exit strategy?". Sudesh and I were young 'boys' then (you shd check my facebook profile pic to believe me), and we thought to ourselves - "hang on, what exit? we just exited our 'jobs' and decided to do this thing. what exit is he talking about? what will do if we do exit this business? go back to a job? smoke pot for the rest of our lives?"
Its stupid to say this - I never started webchutney with Sudesh to exit in the first place. The plan still hasnt changed. the orignal plan was to do something we like, have fun while doing it, build a envious reputation, make pot loads of money, get others to make money in the process and carry on our lives like that. Cmon now, thats a good frigging plan!!! The best i ever made. why should that change? so why should we exit?
We can make changes to the plan for sure, webchutney will change course and do other great things along the way. And by the way, its not to say that all we did was build a great agency, we did help incubate JuxtConsult with some friends, and then yes, then there is goosefish (our media baby). So why exit webchutney? why all the talk about what smart business decisions are? i didnt decide to jump into this with Sudesh because the Internet was a big frigging opportunity (i am sure it is). We decided to this because we want to do our thing. Internet was incidental in our lives. life has been good and that like saket says, its that sort of thing.
and yes, i am not the only idiot who thinks like this - i dont have too many "top friends" (sigh, its pretty lonely you know ;-). Two of my "top friends", ayush from college and saloni (ex-webchutney..ahem!) are doing the same thing. they all started without a business plan really (so much for ayushs IITD,IIMA pedigree) and Saloni one fine day told me she wants to do her own thing and next i knew she took a train to chennai 3 years back. we are all 20 somethings, and doing fine.
so three things:
a) raising cash versus exiting is "good for me, my partners, our people, webchutney".
b) serial entreprenuership doesnt always mean: start something, make money and get out. repeat.
c) life is a pretty simple affair, as long as you are not a mad ass - do "your" thing first. not what your friends, family, well-wishers, lovers, advisors, countrymen want. sabki fight hai - its like what clint eastwood once said - opinions are like a*seholes, everyone has one.
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ps: saloni got covered in Business Week last week. In a story for asia's young entreprenuers, it has a poll going as well for your favorite entreprenuer from asia. check it out (she is pretty cute too :-)
pps: i really dont think the post is inspiring, but if thats what you thought it would be, then you should have anyway be reading Leadership by Jack Welch. no, silly?