2011-11-15 12:25 by Anand Gurnani
Vishal Gondal Founder Indiagames shared the journey of how Indiagames happened. “I was not really good at studies in the early days and my parents were surprised with what I was doing. I used to program computer games, and whatever I did, the clothes I wore or the studies I did (which was nothing) and I kept hearing that what ever u r doing is stupid.”
He started his first company when he was 15. He programmed a computerised ROSE DAY game which shot the rose day sales by 7 times. “Don’t get discouraged when people tell you that your ideas are stupid. It’s a good starting point and out of these stupid ideas come these big ones,” He adds.
In 1999 when Vishal was first approached for funding he had no clue what it meant. “The guys who approached me told me that it is like a loan you don’t have a return. We got invested with 3 and half crores without knowing what to do. Back then I did not know much about contracts and the fine print and though I regret some of them, it was a good thing. Right now I see a lot of entrepreneurs who get into fine print and block the good funding.”
Vishal says it is key to form a core CLAN. He says, “'Team' is an often abused word. I want to mention it as 'Clans', what you want is people who want to die with you for a cause and they will be misfits. Maybe besides a couple of MBAs most of the people in our management are misfits, but they are mercenaries who will die for what you want to do.”
“The reason people become part of the team is because they fit into the clan, the worst thing is to have people who don’t fit into your culture. By the way we are still sharing our rooms and that is what we call startup culture,” he added.
It is important to have focus says Vishal. “If you just look at the gaming world there are a 100 different opportunities and if you zoom out there is e-learning and if you zoom out further there is animation and further web development. One thing about our company was our focus we never steered away from mobile game development.“
He says becoming rich is not a cause. What people will be willing to back you in is BIG VISION. We believe that GAMING will be bigger business than MOVIES in India. You need to clearly identify the big picture. When you meet anyone, do not show you are small. “And finally THERE IS NO SECRET INGRIDENT. Each of you has this capability of getting funded, of setting your company and making the big product. You just don’t know it,” he concluded.
Vishal Golia , CEO, Gamiana says, “Fund raising is like dating. You meet each other you get to know her (investor) and you give her proposal (biz presentation), she takes it home discusses it with family (management team), invites you home, gives you pre nuptial (term sheet), and then there is due diligence. In this case she is not looking at eternity with you (But early exit).”
Rajes Rao of Dhruva Interactive shared, “We had only one round of funding in 2001. It was angel investment by one of the co-founder of Infogramme, (today known as Atari). We did not go through that process that Vishal Golia mentioned. It was a classic case of us meeting the angel who believed in our company.”
“One of the key things is do not raise money until you think your company is ready for it,” he added.
Talking about his fund venture called Sweat And Blood Venture Group (Khoon Pasina) Vishal says, “When I look at 24 -25 yr olds who have a spark in their eye, I want to help them and more important then funding is giving them your time. We have funded 2-3 entrepreneurs and I think we need to help talent and I do it in my own small way.”
Chetan Shah of Indian Angel Network which does 12-15 deals a year from 250,000 to a million dollars says, “Our back office team first evaluates the proposal, the authenticity of the team, the background, the experience etc. Then we, the investors see the entrepreneurs first hand. We want to see the focus and passion. There is no right, wrong or specific criteria. The preparedness of the presentation, its not power point, the commitment and passion that we can see in the team. For example Gamiana which has a combined experience of 30-40 years overall in the team, their focus on markets like Poland and Turkey which again not so common, we also saw their game that came out. Gamiana is our first investment in gaming and if you are interested you can go to our site and figure on how to pitch to us.”