50 episodes

Exploring the start up world in India and learning from some of the most accomplished entrepreneurs, investors, and CXOs in India. Part of turnaround.substack.com

turnaround.substack.com

Use Case JPK

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 5 Ratings

Exploring the start up world in India and learning from some of the most accomplished entrepreneurs, investors, and CXOs in India. Part of turnaround.substack.com

turnaround.substack.com

    Azim Premji: The Man Beyond the Billions

    Azim Premji: The Man Beyond the Billions

    For over five decades, Azim Hashim Premji has been one of the trailblazers of India Inc. Taking over his family business of vegetable oils at the young age of twenty-one after the untimely demise of his father, he built one of India's most successful software companies along with a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate. As of 2019, he was the tenth richest person in India, with an estimated net worth of $7.2 billion. Yet, the one facet of the man which has overshadowed even his business achievements is his altruism. He’s given away most of his wealth!

    In this episode, we’re joined by Sundeep Khanna, veteran journalist, and author of the book “Azim Premji: The Man Beyond the Billions”. Sundeep peels the layers off Premji's life while chronicling his professional and charitable work in the context of his many strengths and shortcomings. The episode is sponsored by Gaja Capital as part of the Gaja Capital Business Book Prize 2021.

    Tune in!

    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit turnaround.substack.com

    • 45 min
    The story of Royal Enfield - a cult?

    The story of Royal Enfield - a cult?

    Few brands inspire the kind of devotion that an Enfield does. Its distinctive look and feel, the sound of its engine and the image that it creates of its rider have all contributed to putting the brand on the kind of pedestal that others could only dream of. But the story of how Royal Enfield became the brand it did today is filled with ups and downs, from its robust origins in the early 1950s to the rock bottom that was the 1980s to the lifestyle bike it is today trying to make a presence internationally. Enfield has truly come to epitomise successful business turnarounds and a case study in branding.

    In today’s episode we’re joined by Amrit Raj, the author of the best selling book “Indian Icon: A Cult Called Royal Enfield” for which he’s been nominated for the prestigious Gaja Capital Business Book prize 2021.

    Tune in!

    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit turnaround.substack.com

    • 39 min
    Investing in Deep Tech & AI with Manish Singhal, Pi Ventures

    Investing in Deep Tech & AI with Manish Singhal, Pi Ventures

    In 1956 at the Dartmouth workshop, the idea we’ve now come to know of as artificial intelligence was sown. John McCarthy of Dartmouth college named the field, Artificial Intelligence. After the initial excitement, the artificial intelligence winter set in. With the availability of large amounts of data and computing power, we’re seeing a revival in AI. Several fields are being transformed by artificial intelligence now. And that includes writing.

    A few months ago, I’d interviewed Paul Yacoubian, the founder of Copy.ai. He is easily one of the most interesting entrepreneurs to watch out for. In just four months, his startup, Copy.ai had gone from $0 to $50,000 in monthly recurring revenue. The company uses the language model GPT3 to write marketing copy. And the traction it is seeing is proof that thousands of people are using it.

    It’s not just writing that’s being transformed by AI. It has found applications in several fields, including healthcare, manufacturing, banking, and finance. We figured it is about time we had someone on the show to talk about AI.

    In this episode of the Use Case podcast, we talk to Manish Singhal, the founder of Pi Ventures on investing in AI and deep tech companies. Pi Ventures is a Bangalore-based fund that only backs companies that uses deep technologies like AI to solve real-world problems.

    Timestamps

    3:01: Why did Pi Ventures choose to invest in deep tech and its thesis.

    6:36: On cancer screening tech from Niramai and mental health company Wysa.

    10:50: On Pi Ventures fund II.

    13:02: What has changed in deep tech for it to become investible now?

    14:52: How Pi Ventures invests.

    17:08: Understanding Demand & Supply Resonance Maps

    24:24: India’s place in deep tech

    28:33: Incremental innovation and 10x innovation

    29:34: Domestica capital in deep tech

    32:03: Pi Ventures has 42% women-founded deep tech companies

    Link to Pi Ventures blog.

    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit turnaround.substack.com

    • 35 min
    Venture Debt - the what, why and when not! With Ishpreet Singh, Stride Ventures

    Venture Debt - the what, why and when not! With Ishpreet Singh, Stride Ventures

    There is a saying that debt is often cheaper than equity.

    Our topic for today is venture debt, which has become mainstream in the Indian start-up ecosystem of late. In 2019-20, the total amounts raised by venture debt funds was about $62 million which jumped to about $85 million in 2020-21.

    As the pool of growth stage start-ups increase, it is fast becoming an attractive non-dilutive alternative to equity financing. Not just that. In many cases, it is a great additive to equity financing as a bridge round. Say you are at a Series B stage company and you know you have to raise the next round in the coming year, but if you were to go out to the market today and raise capital you will get a lesser valuation than what you would if you improve your numbers over the next 10-12 months and then raise. To get that extra 10-12 months runway, Venture Debt can be an alternative to bridge rounds.

    Our guest on the podcast today is Ishpreet Singh Gandhi, the Managing Partner and Co-founder of Stride Ventures, one of India's leading venture debt funds. You could listen to the episode on the browser above or on Spotify/ Apple Podcast/ Google Podcast by clicking the play button below:

    Here are parts of the transcript (edited slightly for better readability):

    Ravish: A good point to start off with might be to understand what venture debt is. Traditionally, we've looked upon debt as a bad thing. Now, venture debt comes in at the stage where a lot of companies do not have the traditional cash flows or even assets (which has been the traditional way for underwriting term loans by banks). You've worked with multinationals as well as start-ups. I know that Lendingkart and Rivigo were some of the first start-ups that you lent to while you were at IDFC. Two questions – what is venture debt and at what stage of a start-up’s life cycle should one explore raising venture debt?

    Ishpreet: So venture debt becomes available in eligibility once you've raised your first institutional capital. So moment you raise a venture capital round with an equity infusion of around $4-5 million, you become eligible for venture debt for a very early stage company. And it can go to later stages as well because you remain backed by some of the institutional investors by then.

    In terms of standard offering, a traditional venture debt product is typically coming on top of venture capital round. So the moment you have a venture capital infusion, you can club your financing with venture debt. Say hypothetically you're a company that is planning to raise ₹50 crores, and you believe that ₹40 crores are getting committed from the VC. The remaining ₹10 crores, you say, okay I do not want to dilute for this capital and that 10 crores can be replaced with the venture debt option, which ends up getting repaid over a period of next 2 to 3 years.

    And while doing that you pay a certain interest rate plus you give a certain portion of warrants in the company, which can be 10-15% of the debt amount. And that typically ensures that you do not dilute your stake in the company for those ₹10 crore rupees.

    It's been a very widely used tool in the US and the mature economies. It came in existence in the 70s-80s in the US when Venture Capital started coming in and today constitutes a very large portion of the US equity market. Its size ranges anywhere from 13-15% of the Venture Capital market in the US. And some of the other economies like Europe, it will be 8-10%. It's gaining steam in India – it will be around 3-4% of the Indian Venture Capital market today. We think it can be a billion-dollar market in the next one and half years because it is closely correlated with the Venture Capital market and we have seen that grow exponentially over the years.

    Our whole purpose remains - how it can be used by founders. Because a lot of founders realize while raising rounds that they end up diluting a lot, which could have been replaced by debt.

    The other point, which you

    • 52 min
    Term sheets are F*ing complicated; Kushal Bhagia explains them best!

    Term sheets are F*ing complicated; Kushal Bhagia explains them best!

    Why this topic for this season’s first episode - A few days ago, one of my best friends from college got an offer from a Thrassio like set up to buy X% stake in her D2C company. Now she had bootstrapped and built this business from absolute zero to a multi-crore turnover company with ~30% margins on each sale! Yet she felt absolutely lost and helpless during the negotiations because she had no clue how pre-money and post-money valuations worked. As a builder and an operator, her primary skill set was building stuff. On the other side of the table were multiple ex- PE guys whose only job was to do these calculations and negotiations inside out.

    At that stage, I realised how important it is to understand how valuations, dilution and investor rights in term sheets work. I figured, if ever I want to start up myself - THEN would NOT be the right time to know about these basics.

    Moreover, working at start ups mean you’re working for ESOPs and to know what the value of ESOPs could be at various stages, one must understand how dilution and liquidation preferences work.

    So, in this episode of the Use Case podcast, I’m thrilled that Kushal Bhagia, who is the founder and CEO of First Cheque, could join us to explain these important concepts. He’s a super founder friendly investor who has been trying to educate the market on these concepts with his Youtube series called “Know your termsheet”.

    These are some of the things we cover in this episode. They’ll help you make sure you’re getting a fair deal.

    04:00 - Context setting

    07:50 - Your company has a value only because an investor is putting money in it - fir that new shares are created -> dilution happens; pre-money and post-money explained with an example

    13:20 - Key items agreed in a term sheet; terms and conditions that come with this collateral free money that you get; tag along rights, pre-emptive rights.

    26:00 - If an exit happens, in what order and how much will people get money; preferential shares, participating and non-participating shares

    35:00 - Special case of accelerators, pre-seed rounds, convertible debt (YC specific - SAFEs)

    44:00 - What bets do VCs like to make? Honestly, expect a no.

    Listen to this episode in your favourite podcasting app:

    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit turnaround.substack.com

    • 53 min
    Pricing strategies for Indian startups

    Pricing strategies for Indian startups

    One of the most common things you hear in the world of startups is “We weren’t able to monetise.”

    The theme that often plays out is this - the team gets excited about an idea - they start working on it - they talk to customers and if everything works out, they build a great product with an obvious demand in the market. However, in this entire journey as engineers and product enthusiasts we first build the full product and then, almost as an afterthought, decide what to price it at and how to sell it!

    Pricing strategy is an important concept that must be incorporated into the plan from Day 1 - even before execution because if you know what your potential customers are willing to pay for, you will automatically prioritise features to fit the price (a.k.a cost based pricing).

    In this episode with Dr Sreelata Jonnalagedda, Associate Professor at IIM Bangalore - we discuss how startups can adopt a pricing strategy that is right for them. In the short 30 minutes, I think Dr Sreelata managed to squeeze at least 6 case studies and examples discussing everything from decoy pricing to predatory pricing.

    Here are 3 of my favourite examples from the episode:

    Framing - Make it difficult to compare competitors’ features! Especially for SaaS.

    Prof Sreelata gives a very interesting example comparing Dropbox and Google Drive. Now, there is not a lot of difference in cloud storage, right? Whether you store your files in A or in B, ultimately as a consumer you are deriving similar value from both. So what would you do? You would go with whatever is the cheapest!

    But here is something successful startups do - they make it difficult for users to compare features against their competitors’ products. This works where there is not a lot of scope for differentiation in product offering. Dropbox has a loooong list of features across its plans and even if I open the website from India, it still prices the storage in US $. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Most users hate doing complicated maths and making detailed price to value comparisons for every purchase. Framing your pricing with the offering in a way that makes it harder to compare your product is a smart option.

    We share key lessons on Product Management and Venture Capital by experts from the Indian start up ecosystem, straight to your inbox. Do subscribe - no spam, ever!

    Predatory Pricing: Uber, Ola, Swiggy, Jio, Delhivery, Bounce

    Many times market disruption involves new habit creation. Think about the early days of e-commerce when products were priced at massive discounts to incentivise first time online shoppers to buy goods online. Or when as Indians we first learnt to ditch the then omnipresent autos for cabs because they cost the same as taking an auto anyway.

    Predatory pricing is a technique where you price your product (say, P1) lower than the equilibrium price in the market (P0 in graph 1) for same or similar products. This allows you to capture a significant market share. Once you’ve built enough customer loyalty to your platform/ product, you change the demand curve altogether.

    Now if you increase the price from P1 to P2 (i.e., P2>P1), some customers will stop buying your product but some will stay back because there is an exit cost/ switching cost to leaving your product.

    It’s a very aggressive pricing strategy that only those startups that are heavily funded by big growth stage investors are able to follow. It is not something that you can do for a short duration as an experiment and hope to build enough customer loyalty to achieve customer loyalty.

    Building loyalty at scale takes both time and big coffers! So do it only if you can afford both.

    Bundling - Get Amazon/ Times Prime for ₹999!

    Perhaps one of the best example for bundling implemented in the Indian context is Times Prime. For just ₹999 you get subscriptions from Gaana, Sony Liv, ET Prime, TOI, Google One apart from several other benefits from other partners.

    I’m not a Times Prime user,

    • 31 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

Jenn JL ,

Insightful!

Interesting talks hosted by dynamic show hosts!

Zhengyuan,,,, ,

Great podcast, great information

Learned a lot!

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