1. Startpreneur

We lived in Bhopal the State Capital of a Newly carved state in 1958.  My father was a Government servant and mother a housewife.  She has passed Intermediate and was trained Montessori Teacher but had never practised.

She and her friend Tai Nafde found a need in the new township of T.T. Nagar for a kindergarten / pre-school / play school cum creche’ in this developing cosmopolitan suburb full of Government employees transferred from Maharashtra, UP, Bihar, Southern India.

The Old town had its own system of education and there were developed systems.  The two ladies spoke to the neighborhood and decided to start a ‘BALAK MANDIR’ – initially a playschool cum creche’ and slowly began admitting students for nursery and kindergarten.  They had just about 30 kids to begin with.  The timings were from 10 AM till 5pm and if parents wished to take kids home early they were flexible.

The fees were nominal INR 2 per month which was affordable and they did not provide any food or milk/ vegetables – it was to be provided by the parents.

This was our first experience of Entrepreneurship. I was 5 years of age and was preparing to go to the school when this venture started. It worked very well and began getting famous and growing so much so that my mother and her friend both began running independent Balak Mandirs at their own homes and the demand was still growing.

One day, my aunt who was a Director of Tribal Welfare landed into our home with her beautiful smart looking lady friend who arrived in a long Impala ( Chevrolet) or something like that of a car I remember it was open hood and very long with a chauffeur).  They discussed with my mum and her friend for an hour and by evening my mother decided to give up the Balak Mandir to her friend as she was Offered a Job in the Government’s Education Department as a Teacher for KinderGarten project which the State was starting.  The lady was Director of Public Instructions DPI as she was called – was an ex-Royal from Bhopal family and a powerful persona.

This was my earliest memory and inception into Entrepreneurship.  My mother continued in Government service and post-retirement worked for Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and Shabri Kanya Ashram in Raipur and interior Chhattisgarh teaching small children till the end.  That was her mission and purpose of life and she dedicated it for the cause.  I met several girls from age 2 -22 in her hostel who were mainly from NorthEast and my mum was their Didi/ Teacher/ Friend/ philosopher and guide.

The mother’s friend continued with her Balak Mandir and did it without many expansions – she was content having a batch of 30-35 children which she could manage with the help of two young teachers/ help.  She also did it for many years.

No financial help from anyone,  much to the chagrin of my father and uncle ( my mothers; friends husband the two ladies decided a course – and became successful entrepreneurs.  They also helped many ladies to start similar outfits in other localities as mentors free of charge.

I learnt my second lesson – Mentoring is Free.

A startup is a new company. A startup may be a tech company. A startup is generally a new tech company. A startup is a new, small, tech company.

These are the kind of things we hear every day about startups. Everybody talks about startups but nobody really knows what they are, what their goals are, ect… This is why today, I’m going to define with you

What is a Startup?

In my opinion, a startup is a business, that focuses on growth. This is what the ‘Up’ of Startup means: going up, growth.

Steve Blank defined a startup as an organization made to search for a scalable and repeatable business model and I agree with it.

The size of your business doesn’t define whether you are a startup. You could have a business of 2 or 3 people, that would not make you a startup. You could be a tech company and not being a startup. Why? Because growth isn’t your goal. Growth is what defines startups.

A lot of people say that Uber, AirBnB or Facebook are not startups because they are way too big.  I believe they are still startups because they still focus so much on growth. When Facebook reached 1 billion users, experts said that Facebook couldn’t grow much more. Since, they reached 2 billion users, they have Messenger with 1 billion users, Whatsapp with 1 billion users as well and Instagram with 700 million users. If this is not growth and having a startup mindset, what is it?

Soe What is a startup? This might seem like a stupid question but the answer is not that obvious. I work with startups regularly and find that many actors in the startup ecosystem don’t even know what a startup is. Indeed, we meet startup founders, people working in incubators or accelerators and even investors who don’t really understand what is a startup. This is why, today, I will try to answer some of the questions you may have about startups.

You can find startups emerging everywhere and anywhere you look around you. Now more than ever, startups are flooding the whole marketplace in different parts of the world. In fact, even students are being advised in schools and educational institutions not to wait for their graduation and look for a job. Instead, they are told to work as hard as possible while still studying so that they can make a name for themselves through investing their time in business innovations and startup.

These days, stories and tales of startup business owners and entrepreneurs are often found and seen on the front pages of newspapers and magazines which serve as an incentive or encouragement for more and more people to create and brainstorm ideas which are worthy to invest on.

People consider technological breakthroughs as things which can revolutionize the whole world and open more doors of abundant opportunities to people. This is the reason why more resources and funds are made readily available for the start of feasible businesses and startups.

If you are part of the technology industry or you are residing in a tech hub like Silicon Valley, New York or Hong Kong, chances are you are someone you know is already in the way of creating concepts or launching his/her very own startup. But, let’s be honest, even many people in big startup hubs don’t really understand the startup concept.

Startup: What Is It?

For the longest time, investors have looked at startups as just smaller versions of big corporations. However, this was actually a problem since there is an expansive ideological and even organizational difference between startups, small businesses and large corporations, which calls for varied KPIs and funding strategies.

According to a legend of Silicon Valley and serial entrepreneur, Steve Blank, startups can be best defined as temporary organizations made to search for a scalable and repeatable business model. Argued in the tech industry content, a startup must be short for scalable startup which aims not just to prove the business model but to do it quickly in such a way which will have a dramatic effect on the existing market.

Business startups, or otherwise called startup companies or simply startups, are companies at the initial stages of development of service or product which are believed by the business founders as in demand in the market. These companies are often financed by the founders themselves but since this type of funding cannot be sustained well into the future, it will need extra financing from venture capitalists and investors.

Even though this kind of companies exists in every type of business all over the globe, the term is primarily associated with information technology as well as the launch of numerous internet startups back in the 1990s during the dot-com bubble. Most of the internet startups went down to failure mainly because of the lack of sustainable revenue or significant flaws in the underlying business plans they used.

Some of the internet startups managed to survive even after the bubble burst. Good examples of these include the online bookseller Amazon and eBay, which remains as one of the leading online auction places. A big chunk of this startup activity came from a place in California called Silicon Valley which remains to have plenty of startup company activities up to this day.

A company will cease to be called a startup up once it has already gone through several developments, like being traded in public or being acquired or merged into a bigger corporation which puts a stop to it being an independent entity. However, during an unfortunate turn of event, a startup may fail and stop its operations altogether.

However, your company can still be called a startup even if you raised billions of dollars or if you are publicly traded. For instance, Uber, AirBnB or Facebook are worth billions but are still considered as startups because their pursuit of growth is still what defines them. What is a startup then? A company whose true north is pursuit of growth – no matter how big or how old they are. This is what the ‘up’ of ‘startup’ means: growth.

Kindly leave your Feedforward for us to improve further. Regards. Jay

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