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VCs Are From Venus, Entrepreneurs Are From Mars

VCs Are From Venus, Entrepreneurs Are From Mars

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a bootstrapped entrepreneur in possession of a good business model must be in want of an investor.”

If you have been following the world of startups, you might have found yourself tacitly agreeing to this (liberally modified)borrowing from Jane Austen’s timeless classic, Pride and Prejudice.

While entrepreneurs needing Venture Capital (VC) investors is a well accepted paradigm, the inverse is also just as true.

As hard as it might be for many to appreciate, the reality is that VCs need entrepreneurs just as much as entrepreneurs need VCs, because entrepreneurs (and the startups they found) are an asset class unlike any other.

To put it simply, entrepreneurs and VCs need each other to complete the purpose of their existence.

How romantic!

In theory, since entrepreneurs need VCs, and VCs need entrepreneurs, the matchmaking model should work perfectly.

In practice however, nothing could be further from the truth.

Despite their mutual attraction and co-dependency, the popular depiction of the relationship between VCs and entrepreneurs is that of one mired in conflict and strain.

Why are entrepreneurs and VCs seen as being so dissimilar to each other, as if they come from different planets?

This question triggered a wave of memories from my experiences on both sides of the Entrepreneur-Investor table.

I began to think…can the tension between entrepreneurs and VCs be attributed to an analogy that is best described as Entrepreneurs being from Mars, and VCs being from Venus’?

It was a thought that eventually led to the birth to my debut book,

 ‘VCs are from Venus, Entrepreneurs are from Mars’

VCs are from Venus, Entrepreneurs are from Mars

As you might have guessed, the title of my book was inspired from the best-seller ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ written by John Gray.

Entrepreneurs and VCs are bonded together by a truly remarkable dynamic.

As much as the two sides value each other in the relationship, they invariably wish they could have a better understanding of how their opposite number thinks and behaves.

If one compares a day in the life of a VC with a day in the life of an entrepreneur, the fact that they are polar opposites becomes immediately apparent.

Borrowing from Gray’s immensely successful theorem,

“Imagine that entrepreneurs are from Mars and VCs are from Venus.

One day, after weeks and months of struggling through bootstrapped resources on their home planet, the Martians, looking through their telescopes, discover Venusians. Just glimpsing the Venusians awakened the ambition of achieving extraordinary scale and success through abundant venture funding — feelings they had never known previously.

The Martians fell in love, drew up their business plans, invented space travel and flew to Venus. The Venusians welcomed the Martians with an open invitation to pitch. They had intuitively known that their existence was incomplete without Martians to fund. Their hearts opened wide to a love for entrepreneurs and business models they had never seen before.

They began discussing investment opportunities. In the beginning, everything was wonderful and beautiful. But the two forgot they were from different planets, and were supposed to be different.

And since that day, entrepreneurs and VCs have been in conflict.”

A hypothesis without evidence is little more than lazy speculation though. In my research, I found a strong and highly coherent pattern emerging.

A pattern that fit the success stories of Infosys, BookMyShow, Paytm and Craftsvilla.

A pattern that revealed how FreeCharge’s fund-raising never followed the popular script reported in the media.

A pattern that seemed to describe and predict the behavior of the many entrepreneurs I have had the pleasure of meeting.

A pattern that shows what VCs and Entrepreneurs like and hate about each other.

A pattern I wish I knew when I was pitching to VCs.

A pattern that reveals the nature of Entrepreneur-VC romance.

In fact, only when you understand that entrepreneurs are from Mars and VCs are from Venus can the nature of their romance and relationship be clearly understood and explained.

We live in interesting times.

The year 2015 saw the peak of VC funding activity in India. In the aftermath of that year, many seem to ask the question : Was it all a bubble ?

There are others who believe that we are on the verge of a renaissance, a golden phase that will see a new generation of successful India-first (or lets call them ‘World-first’ companies).

Now that we find ourselves at this inflection point, never before has there been a greater need for Entrepreneurs and VCs to understand each other better, to make their romance easy and effortless, to ease the initiation of the next generation of entrepreneurs.

This book is the result of several insights gained from my personal and professional journeys that have converged into a simple, profound reality that facilitates this change.

In choosing a publisher for my book, I decided to solve for the three aspects that could either improve or hinder access : Time, Price, and Distribution.

And that is when it struck me : My book had to be Mobile-first.

One thing led to another, and today, I am proud to be an Author on Juggernaut.

I see poetic beauty in my book being published by an early-stage company disrupting an age-old, traditional industry, and which counts the founders of Infosys and Paytm amongst its investors and advisors.

Perhaps, it could not have happened any other way.

I look forward to your company, from cover to cover.