I was engrossed in a deep conversation with a VC yesterday for some fund raising advice – who all of a sudden pointed to a newspaper cut out on a recent competitor who got funded. Apparently the highest in our industry so far.
Then he looked at me and said – ” I think the game is over. They are the Flipkart of Solar.”
I just looked at him and I didn’t know whether he was being serious with that question or just trying to stress test me. Lets hope he was only trying to stress test me harmlessly.
I believe in a unique concept. That I am aggregating zealots who will witness what monumental change looks like from the front lines , when they get on-board SolarTown and I need them to be respectful of that fact. Not towards me or the company, mind you. But towards renewables as a whole and Indian market in specific.
I needed them to have their hearts, souls and minds deep into the industry , to know the market pulse and to understand where we are, where we will be and where we are going. I need them to KNOW the basics of our terrain before engaging the frontlines.
From a prospective VC, I needed three things :
1. The ability to intuitively understand the Indian Distributed solar market , where it is, where value can be created and where not.
2. The ability to connect me or open gates. As an entrepreneur, I had like to believe that I am very very good at wedging open even the gates of heaven, once I have my foot in the door and thats what I need them to get me. Be it prospective hires, potential partners or future Series B investors.
3. Track-record. I would choose ,preferably, those Series A firms ( or at least the partners ) who can display credible track record in helping a company get to that next level like Series B participation following it up with a $10m+ round. I need money.Yes. But smart money.
But getting back to the VC gauging me , while I was gauging him, I came back to him with an answer : ” To take the performance graph vs time of the company you mentioned vs Us. We have done in 3 years what it took them double time to achieve. When you compound that rate of growth over the next decade, you can see the momentum that will make our lead in market share. Besides all this talk about market share is futile right about now, the mainstream solar market i.e. residential is not even viable till 2017 mostly. What companies should be doing now is sharpening their blades and getting to understand what will or will not work. The time to go to war will come but that is not now.”
Lets hope he does a little more leaning in on the market and he is able to check a few of those three boxes over the coming months.