Friday, February 23, 2007

MENTORji where are you ?

After we built the prototype, the dear Dr.Ravi Koppana and I began looking for a mentor. We were inspired reading an interview with Vinod Khosla and how he mentored Juniper.
We knew the value a mentor would bring to the startup. Singapore has the best in class hardware infrastructure, but its getting very difficult finding a mentor within Singapore. Maybe after we succeed thats a gap we can fill. I'd be more than help to kickstart the ecosystem. There are some world class brains sitting here that need some good old fashioned mentoring, of course the 0.5 equity doesnt hurt at all.
We did have the fortune of engaging Alok Mittal and Sanjay Anandram. They raised some very important points, which we have since addressed. Wish we had that kind of guidance on a continuing basis. Also long distance mentoring is difficult. Plus ideally we need a mentor who understands our space.
Just the other day I was asking a gentleman from another startup if he knew a mentor who could help us. His first question was "Are you in trouble " ? Now that is a big indication that the ecosystem hasnt matured enough to facilitate mentoring. NUS and NTU both local universities of world repute have good entrepreneur programs, but they are geared for their own students. I called the NUS incubation center to see if I could rent space. I was politely informed that its only for NUS people / alumni. Fair enough, but where do we go ? We are way past college.
It might have been easier if we were angel funded. Mentoring would have been part of the package. By not seeking angel funds, I guess this door isnt open to us. I guess we need someone with 'skin' in the game ( remember reading this at Onstartup blog by Dharmesh. Should read it, good blog) .
We are trying our luck at seedfund and band of angels. lets see what happens.
We are trying our luck with seedfund and also knocked on the door of band of angels in India. Lets see what happens.

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