A trip to the valley

As kids, most of us dreamt of a trip to the amusement park. With the advent of technology, they’ve moved far from fantasizing using their own thought up world, to using tools such as Youtube to get a glimpse of what the experience might be like. Butterflies in the stomach, and a nervous excitement take over us, as the day draws closer.

Right now I feel like a 6 year old being promised a VIP ticket to Disneyland. A dream I had had since the day I learnt how to code on a third hand 386 is coming true. Thanks to INSEAD, I am finally going to be able to visit Silicon Valley – where apparently technology is a religion and innovation a way of life.

Two of the companies that I am looking forward to are AndreesenHorowitz and IndieGogo.

While the former became the Super Angels to have invested in all the (back in 2011) private super social media strartups – Facebook, Twitter, Zynga and Groupon – the highest valued social media startups, the later (IndieGogo) have allowed various artists, creators, innovators and entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams and change the world in their own little (or not so little) ways.

I still remember the day that Hour of Code had Bill Gates backing it, and the day that Ubuntu Edge hit the 12 Million USD mark. Crowdfunding is the future of a lot of industries, and IndieGogo has been at the forefront of that.

While my questions for AndreesenHorowitz are aplenty (as a past entrepreneur, and a newfound understanding and love for VCs – thanks to my amazing professors at INSEAD), my prime question is the veracity and the robustness of the Multiples valuations that are used today in the market, the idea of cost of customer acquisition being used in Mergers and acquisitions as the payout being related to customer base and not profits sometimes. Also, what I’d like to ask them would be if given a choice as an entrepreneur between a great VC firm but lower monetary value, or a higher valuation with a sleeping investor or a not so well known VC – which one would they recommend and why.

On the other hand, my questions to IndieGogo would be regarding the possibility scalability problems that the crowdfunding paradigm could face in the developing economies, that are touted to be the future markets, like India, where people are still not paying online, prefer CoD, and the altruistic streak is a little repressed. They like to give when they get something in return, and the regulations can play spoilsport – so what are the strategies, if any to mitigate such circumstances.

 

I really look forward to meeting the amazing people in the Valley, the companies that INSEAD and our Professor (Prof. Virginia Cha) has taken the time and effort to line up for us, and visiting Stanford – the birthplace of SUN Microsystems, and in a way – of Apple.

This is going to be one great trip because of the amazing people I will get the opportunity to share my time and my thoughts with, from the Valley, and from my INSEAD family. Looking forward to the five most exciting days of this year, and perhaps one of the best weeks of my life.

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