Are there similarities between angel funding networks and cricket coaching institutions?
Vikas Kuthiala, member of the Indian Angel Network, feels so.
"The Indian Angel Network is like a cricket coaching academy. We want to make players (entrepreneurs) play IPL and Test matches after they have played Ranji Trophy or domestic cricket," said Kuthiala, who is also the founding MD of Falck India Pvt Ltd, a emergency response services provider.
Kuthiala and fellow IAN member Ashvin Chadha were speaking to 30 inquisitive entrepreneurs on the role mentors play in helping startups scale up their operations.
Kuthiala advised entrepreneurs to raise large dollops of capital if their target market is expanding. However, he cautioned that capital infusion should be the last resort for a new company to run and sustain its operations. "Raising money is a marathon but spending is sprint," Kuthiala, who joined IAN in 2009, said.
Both Kuthiala and Chadha were thrilled about IAN's latest investee firm Wow! Momo, a Kolkata-based chain of quick service restaurants offering traditional Tibetan food items such as Momos, Thukpa and so on. Before that, IAN put money in High City Retail Private Ltd, which runs ethnic wear focused shopping portal Shopatplaces.
So what do angel investors look for in a young venture? "Besides the foundation skills of the promoters, we also look at the scalability of the business and size of the market," said Kuthiala.
Both IAN members actively participated in a lengthy Q&A session, during which they faced a volley of questions. Queries ranged on diverse topics such as identification processes, reference checks on startups, equity dilution, terms of equity dilution and so on.