Source | INC42 : By Raghav Bhandari
I’ll get straight to it- running a startup in not hard. It’s bloody hard. As co-founders, we may more often disagree than agree! Running a company together can be a bit like getting married (I’m told!), so it’s best we understand each other’s beliefs.
My own “belief system” has largely been shaped by my recent experience at BabyChakra, one of India’s parenting platforms. I knew I was joining the company at a very exciting time. Almost every expecting or new mother relies on information and advice online vis-a-vis traditional offline methods.
Baby and maternity related searches ranked second to only beauty related searches amongst the 25-40 female users in India. With no single “one-stop shop solution” available, BabyChakra had quickly emerged as the leading innovator in the parenting space. So I took the plunge, leaving behind a cushy corporate job in Singapore, to explore what working at a startup really felt like.
I was lucky that the year I spent at the company coincided with rapid user growth, team expansion and capital infusion. Observing this growth has shaped my own beliefs on ‘what it takes’ to start and scale a startup, at least in its early days.
Research First… Plunge Later
There is a reason why most startups fail and most VC’s make money on only 1 out of 20 investments. It is because building a tech business is very, very hard. We should spend enough time doing “stakeholder research” to establish a clear pain point, product solution and long-term mission.
Otherwise, as famed VC investor, Paul Graham plainly says, “don’t do it”. The founders of BabyChakra interviewed nearly 500 mothers and services in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru before starting the company. Our internal mission was cemented early on – to build a “trusted care companion for young mothers and their families”.